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Japanese Language Introduction

As we want to reach the Japanese people with the gospel and speak heart-to-heart, we need to communicate in Japanese.

Your first decision when it comes to learning the language will be what approach or method to use. There are many approaches out there, but they will roughly fall into the following categories:

CategoryLevel of self-motivationCostExamples
Self studyHighLowMass Immersion, LAMP
Guided self studyMediumMediumGPA
Directed studyLowHighSchool

If you feel that you struggle with self-motivation and time management, you may want to explore going to a language school. You will need to raise extra financial support for this route as it tends to be rather expensive. Please discuss with your YWAM location/ministry leaders about the possibility to attend a language school.

If you feel like you are very self-motivated and can manage your own time, we have put together some tips as you will likely need a lot of help! A great way to learn a new language is through immersion. So we will outline different stages that will help you learn from being immersed in the language.

You may find it helpful to pay for someone to guide you through at least some of this process so you can have some help with pronunciation and grammar. When to start this, and the frequency, will be totally up to you. You will need to budget for this as it can be expensive depending on the ability of the person.

The general stages you will go through as you learn the language:

  1. Stage 1 | Building a Foundation (Beginner) - gain familiarity through studying
  2. Stage 2 | Immersion (Intermediate) - explore native content
  3. Stage 3 | Subconscious Learning (Advanced) - learning becomes a by-product from enjoying native content
  4. Stage 4 (or 2+) | Refining - realising and working on weak areas

If you are an incoming staff to Japan, please dedicate time to studying the language while you fundraise. A good goal would be for you to be close to stage 2 when you come to Japan. Completing stage 1 will help you to feel much more comfortable in Japanese-only settings and you can enjoy immersing yourself. Even if you feel language school is the path for you, we would still encourage you to also work through stage 1 as much as you can.

A couple of resources that helped put this together are the Refold Immersion Approach and Tofugu's Learn Japanese guide.