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Japan is the world’s third-largest economy, and there are many benefits that come from learning the culture and language. Normandale has more world language offerings and has more sections of Japanese courses than any two-year college in the state.

Our courses will help you gain awareness of cultural, social, religious and linguistic aspects of the Japanese culture. Through these class, you will also develop an understanding of the responsibility world citizens share for their common global future by comparing and contrasting your own culture with Japanese culture.

Why Study Japanese Language and Culture?

Here are some Good Questions and Factual Answers for you!
(mainly based on research by the Japan-America Society of Washington D.C. in 2012)

Question #1: Is it practical to learn Japanese for a future career in this global economy?

Answer: Yes, because Japan is the world’s 3rd largest economy, and its GDP (Gross Domestic Product to indicate a nation’s economic power) is larger than Germany, France, England, Italy or Spain.

Japan is a world leader in -

  • Energy
  • Medical research
  • Material science
  • Environmental technology
  • Robotics
  • Transportation
  • Telecommunications
  • Digital imaging
  • ANIME and MANGA culture that has been appealing to millions of young people in the world these days.

To support the claim above, here’s just one indication of scientific advancement - the number of NOBEL PRIZES in the last 25 years. Japan won 25 of them. In the past 5 years alone, Japan has won 7 Nobel prizes in science; compared with that, U.K. 4, France 2, Germany 1, and the only other Asian country which won a Nobel prize has been India with 1.

Americans can visit Japan easily, needing just a valid passport but not a Visa (not the credit card ;-).

By comparison, most American visitors need an official permit to visit a foreign country such as Russia or China.

Japan has also been the 2nd largest investor (in Foreign Direct Investment) in the U.S., just after U.K., with $149 billion., compare with that of China’s FDI, $3 billion, over the past 10 years.

Japanese companies own many famous American brands -

  • 7-Eleven convenience stores
  • Firestone Tires
  • Jergens soap and personal products
  • Shaklee vitamin and home products
  • Jim Beam whiskey
  • Columbia Pictures

Question #2: Are there many world famous people who have been influenced by Japanese culture?

Answer: Absolutely yes. To name a few -

  • A famous painter, Vincent Van Gogh was influenced by Japanese wood cut print called ‘UKIYO-E’
  • Frank Lloyd Wright in architecture
  • Star Wars creator George Lucas embedded various Japanese themes in his films (e.g. master-student relationships, sword-fighting, a few against many).
  • Steve Jobs’ famous simplicity in design has been known to come from the path of Japanese Zen Buddhism, etc.

The best way to learn Japanese culture is through learning the language since there will be no need of a translator to appreciate it.

Question #3: Are there many Americans learning Japanese?

Answer: In 2012, there were over 160,000 students at all levels, including 80,000 pre-college level which increased in enrollments 20% between 2009 and 2012.

World Languages Faculty

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