Learning Japanese, the language of tomorrow

K. Ramachandran

After Tokyo opened its gates to IT professionals in 2000, interest among Indians to learn Japanese is growing

CHENNAI: Learning a foreign language, unlike a few decades ago, is no more a fashion. Today, knowing a foreign language can ensure smoother movement around the "global village."

The selection of the most useful language for study can be made on the basis of facilities available for learning and opportunities flowing out of the efforts put in to learn the foreign tongue.

Chinese and Japanese occupy top places in view of the growing economic opportunities in the two countries. After Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori opened up Japan for Indian information technology professionals in 2000, the interest to learn Japanese is growing here.

Today, India's Government appears anxious to capture the world's second biggest IT market, butIT professionals with proficiency in Japanese cannot be manufactured overnight.

Japanese is taught in India by a few universities and a number of voluntary organisations. The Indo-Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Chennai is an all-India organisation devoted to the promotion of trade and investment between India and Japan. It believes that there can be no interaction with the Japanese, be it business or otherwise, unless one knows their language and culture.

Japanese Language School

The Japanese Language School of the Chamber has been conducting Japanese language classes from 1989. It offers classroom teaching for levels IV, III, II and I of the Japanese Language Proficiency Tests (JLPT) of the Japan Foundation held every year in December. The school also runs a special programme for underprivileged students in Chennai colleges since 1999, offering them computer literacy and basic Japanese language proficiency, free of charge for a year. And, to create an interest in Japan and things Japanese, the school has been conducting Summer Programme for students in the age group of 11-14, where they are introduced to Japanese music, art, games, basic conversation and written Japanese.

It also conducts fast track programmes to prepare students in a year for level III of JLPT - the minimum proficiency required for job seekers in Japan and Japanese companies elsewhere. The school's teachers are working on a module for benefiting IT professionals in achieving proficiency in business conversation and correspondence.

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