Where is the Japanese language spoken?

Japanese is spoken in Japan and by approximately 130 million people worldwide.

Where is the Japanese language spoken?
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Published on
Oct 12, 2023
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Japanese, as a language, has gained an extensive presence across the globe. Though it is naturally spoken in Japan, significant populations of Japanese speakers have been established in numerous locations worldwide. The Japanese language has also had an impact on neighboring countries, influencing their dialects and becoming a prominent linguistic force in the Asian continent.

This article will delve into the far-reaching presence of the Japanese language, exploring the regions, communities, and territories where it is spoken. From bustling cities to unexpected locales, we'll discover the global influence of this fascinating language.

Key Takeaways

  • Japanese has spread beyond Japan and established linguistic territories worldwide.
  • The language has a significant presence in North America and Asia.
  • Japanese has influenced the dialects of neighboring countries.
  • The language can be found in unexpected locales worldwide.
  • Japanese is a prominent force in the global linguistic landscape.

Japanese Spoken Locations Around the Globe

The Japanese language has spread far and wide, establishing itself in numerous regions around the world. From large linguistic territories to dedicated communities, there are many locations where Japanese is spoken.

In North America, cities such as Los Angeles and Vancouver are home to significant populations of Japanese speakers. In South America, Brazil boasts a large Japanese-speaking community, particularly in the cities of São Paulo and Curitiba. Across the Pacific in Australia, Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth also have notable Japanese-speaking populations.

In Europe, the United Kingdom is one of the major Japanese linguistic territories, with London being the hub of Japanese language learning and study. Additionally, France, Germany, and other countries across the continent also have established communities with Japanese speakers.

In Asia, not surprisingly, Japanese has a strong presence in neighboring countries, particularly South Korea, where it is taught in schools and spoken by a significant portion of the population. China, Taiwan, and other East Asian countries also have communities of Japanese speakers.

Interestingly, there are also unexpected locations where Japanese has found a foothold. In the Middle East, Iran has a small but dedicated community of Japanese speakers, and in Africa, there are Japanese language classes available in some universities across the continent.

These are just some of the regions and communities where the Japanese language can be heard and studied. As the world becomes increasingly connected through travel and globalization, the presence and influence of Japanese is sure to continue expanding.

Japanese Language Hotspots

When it comes to Japanese language hotspots, some of the world's busiest cities come to mind. Tokyo, for example, is a hub for Japanese speakers and learners alike. Its streets are filled with signs and symbols that serve as a constant reminder of the language's importance in the region.

Another bustling city where Japanese is widely spoken is Osaka. Known for its street food and vibrant nightlife, Osaka is also home to numerous language schools and educational institutions, making it a popular destination for those looking to study the language.

Outside of Japan, other major cities serve as hotspots for Japanese language speakers. Honolulu, Hawaii, boasts a significant population of Japanese Americans who keep the language and culture alive. Vancouver, Canada, is another notable location with a sizeable Japanese community and a strong presence of the language.

It's not just major cities that serve as hotspots for Japanese speakers, however. In fact, smaller communities and language schools around the world are dedicated to teaching and preserving the language. These communities may be more difficult to find, but they play a crucial role in maintaining the global presence of the Japanese language.

Japanese Speaking Communities in North America

North America is home to thriving Japanese speaking communities, with notable regions boasting a significant population of Japanese language speakers. These communities have a rich history and culture, and their influence can be seen in various aspects of society, including food, fashion, and entertainment.


California is home to the largest Japanese American population in the United States, with over 430,000 residents. The cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles have vibrant Japanese communities, with numerous restaurants, cultural events, and businesses catering to Japanese speakers.


Hawaii has a deep connection to Japanese culture, dating back to the arrival of Japanese immigrants in the late 19th century. Today, Japanese speakers make up a significant portion of the state's population, and the language is widely spoken and taught in schools. Visitors can experience Japanese culture firsthand by attending traditional festivals and visiting historic sites.

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver's Japanese community is one of the largest in Canada, with over 30,000 residents. The city is home to numerous Japanese language schools and cultural centers, and its vibrant food scene includes many Japanese restaurants and specialty shops. Visitors can also explore the city's historic Japanese-Canadian heritage by visiting sites like the Powell Street Festival.

New York City

New York City has a diverse and growing Japanese population, with over 20,000 residents. The city's Japanese community has a strong presence in areas like Greenwich Village and Brooklyn, with restaurants, markets, and cultural events showcasing the language and culture. Japanese language classes are also offered at various schools and community centers.

These regions are just a glimpse of the thriving Japanese speaking communities across North America, showcasing the global reach and influence of the Japanese language.

Japanese Influence in Asia

The Japanese language has not only spread outside of its home country but has also significantly influenced neighboring Asian countries. China and Korea, for instance, have borrowed numerous words and phrases from the Japanese language. Since the 1990s, the use of Japanese loanwords in the Korean language (known as Sino-Korean) has become a popular trend among young Korean speakers, with many words relating to technology and entertainment.

In addition to China and Korea, another country where Japanese has found a presence is Taiwan. The Japanese language was widely used during Japan's colonial rule of Taiwan, and many Taiwanese still speak the language today. Japanese is also used in Taiwan's pop culture, such as comics and TV dramas, and has become a language of choice for students studying abroad in Japan.

Southeast Asia is also home to numerous Japanese language speakers, with countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam featuring Japanese language schools and communities of Japanese expatriates and tourists. As a result, the Japanese language has become a popular choice for foreign language learning in these countries.


The Japanese language has a far-reaching influence beyond its borders, with diverse communities and regions across Asia and beyond, where the language is spoken and fused with local cultures. The Japanese language's continued growth and global reach demonstrate its significance and relevance in today's world.

Japanese Language Presence in Other Parts of the World

Beyond its presence in Asia and North America, the Japanese language has found a foothold in unexpected corners of the world. In Brazil, for example, the largest Japanese community outside of Japan resides in São Paulo, with estimates of up to 1.5 million Japanese-Brazilians. The language is also spoken in pockets of Australia, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, where Japanese students and expats have established a community.

The influence of the Japanese language has also reached Eastern Europe, with a notable community of Japanese speakers in Russia. The city of Vladivostok, located near the border of China and North Korea, is home to a significant number of Japanese speakers, largely due to its history as a center for Japanese trade and immigration.

In Africa, the Japanese language has a small but growing presence in South Africa, with dedicated language schools and study abroad programs. The language has also gained popularity in Kenya, where it is studied as part of the Japanese government's cultural exchange programs with African nations.

  • Brazil - São Paulo
  • Australia - Sydney and Melbourne
  • Russia - Vladivostok
  • South Africa - Johannesburg and Cape Town
  • Kenya - Nairobi and Mombasa

Despite its relatively small presence in these regions, the Japanese language continues to garner interest and attract learners from all corners of the globe, showcasing its global reach and significance in the world of language and culture.


In conclusion, the Japanese language has a strong global presence with dedicated communities and linguistic territories. It is spoken in numerous locations worldwide, with major hubs in bustling cities and regions. North America alone boasts significant populations of Japanese language speakers, while neighboring Asian countries showcase the far-reaching influence of the language. Furthermore, the Japanese language has found unexpected presence in lesser-known regions, highlighting its global reach and influence.

The spread of the Japanese language is a testament to its significance as a language and the strong attachment and cultural identity of those who speak it. As more communities embrace the language, it continues to thrive and influence cultures worldwide. Japanese language learners can find opportunities to connect with speakers and immerse themselves in the language, further enriching their understanding of the language and its diverse communities.