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Japanese (日本語, nihongo) is a language spoken in Japan, which has a population of 127 million. There are several Japanese dialects spoken in Japan, but the standard is the Tokyo dialect. For readers interested in the other Japanese dialects, there is a dialects page available.


Japanese is written using a combination of three different scripts: Kanji (漢字), Hiragana (ひらがな), and Katakana (カタカナ). Kanji are Chinese characters transmitted to Japan during the spread of Buddhism during the 5th century and mainly represent an idea or picture. Hiragana and Katakana are native Japanese alphabets developed from a few Kanji characters used solely to represent sound.


Japanese grammar follows the syntax Subject-Object-Verb (SOV) unlike English grammar which follows the syntax Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). The difference is that in Japanese, verbs always come last in a sentence. Another feature of Japanese is the omission of personal pronouns. This occurs when the subject of the sentence is known by both the speaker and listener.