The Japan Foundation conducts a survey every three years to know which nationals study the Japanese language the most. China ranks first in the recent results, a position it held during the previous survey results. But the country that comes next to China this time is no longer Korea. The Indonesians, with more than 800,000 studying Nihongo, have now placed Koreans at third.
According to Japan Foundation’s “Survey on Japanese Language Education Abroad,” there were 872,406 Indonesians studying the Japanese language in 2012. It was recorded as a 21.8 percent increase compared to the result in 2009 with 716,353 learners. In a statement of the Japan Foundation the previous week, Indonesians learning the Japanese language are described to have “a distinct rise, especially in the number of high school students.” China, on the other hand, had 26.5 percent increase with 1,046,490 learners in 2012 compared to the 827,171 in 2009.
Besides Indonesia, there are also other Southeast Asian nations learning Nihongo according to Japan Foundation. “Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia have designated Japanese as an elective foreign language in secondary education.” Fukuda Kentaro, a Japanese language teacher in Jakarta, acknowledged that teaching Indonesian adults, like company employees or university students, back in the 1980s “used to be a big challenge.” The teacher from Ikuzo Language Centre also said that there are now a lot of young Indonesians who study the language. “It’s easy to teach, as these people are really motivated to learn Japanese.” The Japan Foundation credits the interest in Japanese pop-culture, including anime and manga, in the increase of students learning the Japanese language. Japanese artists are also known to also have significant fandom in Indonesia.
[via Asia News Network]
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