Is Japanese easy or difficult to learn? How easy is Japanese?

Japanese culture

My name is Satomi : Tokyo “Shitamachi” Local town Concierge of Susy’s Zoo Japanese & Nail.

Do you think that Japanese is a difficult language?

For example, 

Pronunciation seems difficult.

The grammar is completely different from English.


Japanese may not be as difficult as you think.

Today, I’d like to talk about some of the characteristics that make Japanese seem easy.

Simple grammar.

There are no masculine, feminine, neuter nouns, and no definite or indefinite articles.

For example, in French, you have to say “I eat” in different ways depending on the subject, but in Japanese, you only have to say “食べます”

Eat is the Japanese word for 食べる. Tabemasu is the masu-form.

The masu-form is used as a polite expression and used when you talk with an older person, people you meet for the first time and in business.

If you want to look up a word in a dictionary, use dictionary form and it is also used when you talk with your friends and family.

Pronunciation is easy.

Japanese sounds (each sound is called a “phoneme” and the system is called “phonology”) are easier than English. 

It is one of the languages with the fewest number of phonemes. 

There are 5 vowels, 14 for consonants, muddy and semi-muddy sounds (12 consonants and 2 vowels if Y and W are considered semi-vowels), 19.

Even with the addition of special phonemes, the number of phonemes is at most 22.

English is 45.

There are only three basic sentences

Japanese has three sentences, English has five. 

S+Vit rains.
S+V+CTaro  is a student.
S+V+OHanako likes cats.
S+V+O+OJohn gave Mary flowers.
S+V+O+CHanako made her son a doctor.
JapanesePast formNegative
verb sentenceYoku walau. Yoku walatta. Yoku walawanai.
Adjective sentenceKawaii.Kawaikatta.Kawaikunai.
Noun sentencesAkachan da.Akachan datta.Akachan dewanai.

It can be changed to past tense or negative tense in only three sentences.

Japanese does not need a subject

Just because Japanese does not distinguish between the singular and plural of “apples” or the male and female of “friends” does not mean it is “omitting” them. There is no need to “tell them apart” from the beginning.

In the same way, you don’t have to bother to say who “ate” in Japanese.

The six sentences in English, eat, you ate, we ate, she ate, we ate, they ate, can be covered by “TABEMASHITA” in Japanese.

Verb sentences include all the personalities, and Japanese doesn’t bother to say who ate.

Verb sentences end with a verb

Japanese verb sentences are only predicates that already contain various elements, but when the speaker feels the need to say certain elements in the sentence, they will be complement and are placed before the predicate.

If the speaker feels the need to mention certain elements, they are placed before the predicate as complements.

If we take a verb sentence, one of the basic sentences, as an example, the most important word is the verb, which comes last and ends the sentence.

Example: In August, I went to Kyoto with a friend on the Shinkansen.

Complement: in August, with friends, to Kyoto, by Shinkansen.

The order of the complements doesn’t matter, but the verb has to come at the end.

“When someone says, “Suki” (like) in Japanese, the listener is likely to be aware of the other person’s feelings and not ask, “What? Who?”

It’s also the same thing as “Zen” itself, which means to be aware of the other person’s feelings or to read the atmosphere.

Adjectives are sentences on their own

Adjectives in English and Japanese have different characteristics.

An adjective in English is just a word.

Japanese adjectives are not only words, they are sentences.

English is pretty cute.

They cannot be rephrased as “not cute,” “cute,” “not cute,” etc. They need the help of be verbs.

English does not have adjective sentences, but a kind of verb sentence.



Have you found that Japanese is not difficult to learn?

You can also learn about Japanese culture from Japanese, so even if you can’t travel, why not try learning Japanese at home?

We also have online Japanese courses available. Please take this opportunity to take one!

If you go to Shitamachi instead of tourist spots, you might have an experience like homestay.

It would be better place even if you are bored to tourist spots in Japan.

If you want to have experience of Omotenashi, we provide you experience of Omotenashi at sushi bar : SUSHIDO.

If you are interested in Shitamachi, we have a preparation tour in Tokyo.