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Japanese facts

125 million native speakers

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 125 million people, mainly in Japan itself. It is a member of the Japonic language family.

A class of its own

The early history of Japanese is something of a mystery. The language’s relation to other language groups such as Korean is debated.

Writing system

Modern Japanese is written in a mixture of three main systems: kanji (characters of Chinese origin), hiragana, and katakana.