The Languages spoken in Japan


About 99% of the population speaks Japanese as their first language. An agglutinative language distinguished by a complex system of honorifics reflecting the hierarchical nature of Japanese society, Japanese uses verb forms and particular vocabulary to indicate the relative status of speaker, listener and the person mentioned in conversation.

There are two forms of the language: standard Japanese and common Japanese, which is the colloquial language. With modernization, many of the distinctions between the two have blurred.

There are dozens of different dialects spoken all over Japan. The main types are the Tokyo-type dialect and the Western-type dialect.