Japanese is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family.
The Japanese language is written with a combination of three scripts: modified Chinese characters called kanji (漢字), and two syllabic scripts made up of modified Chinese characters, hiragana (ひらがな or 平仮名) and katakana (カタカナ or 片仮名).
Where did the Japanese language come from?
Japanese is the de facto official language of Japan. There is a form of the language considered standard: hyōjungo (標準語?), meaning “standard Japanese”, or kyōtsūgo (共通語?), “common language”. The meanings of the two terms are almost the same. Hyōjungo or kyōtsūgo is a conception that forms the counterpart of dialect.
This normative language was born after the Meiji Restoration (明治維新 meiji ishin?, 1868) from the language spoken in the higher-class areas of Tokyo for communicating necessity. Hyōjungo is taught in schools and used on television and in official communications, and is the version of Japanese discussed in this article.
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