If you have just completed learning Chinese and you now want to learn Japanese, you may be wondering whether the learning process will be much smoother.

Japan is the third-largest economy in the world trailing the United States and China. So, learning Japanese will bring plenty of opportunities, including work and business opportunities.

Japanese speakers are also the third largest language group on the internet and the language is regarded as the gateway to other Asian cultures and languages.

China and Japan share many things, including culture, architecture, religion, writing system, philosophy, and law. So, is it easy to learn Japanese after Chinese? The answer is Yes, continue reading for a detailed answer.

So, Is it easy to learn Japanese after Chinese?

YES, knowing Chinese will make learning Japanese much easier, especially in vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension.

Chinese share over 60% of the vocabulary with Japanese. This means that you can get yourself a Chinese-Japanese dictionary and learn Japanese vocabulary.

More so, the Japanese writing system originally used Chinese scripts which are known as kanji. That explains why the two languages are very similar in terms of writing.

However, grammar and pronunciation of characters, especially in native Japanese reading, are quite difficult even for native Chinese speakers.

So, learning Japanese after Chinese will make the process much easier but you will also have some challenges, especially with grammar and pronunciation of characters.

Is Japanese harder than Chinese?

Both Japanese and Chinese have a fierce reputation for being very hard languages to learn. The US Foreign Service Institute ranks both Japanese and Chinese as category V in terms of difficulty.

Both Chinese and Japanese are extremely complicated languages but in different ways. For instance, learning Japanese grammar and word order is quite difficult while Chinese is easy in that regard.

On the other hand, learning Chinese tones is also difficult and will take a long period to learn while Japanese pronunciation is quite easy to learn.

On the other hand, when it comes to writing Japanese it is quite difficult to learn because it uses three separate scripts with very complicated rules and pronunciations while Japanese only uses one script.

Bottom line is that there is no such thing as hard or easy language. All that matters is your commitment. If you are committed and put more effort into learning either language, the process will be much smoother and easier.

Do Chinese people understand Japanese?

Surprisingly, Chinese people don’t understand Japanese. Chinese and Japanese are totally different from each other in many ways.

They have totally different grammar, lexicon (words), and phonology (sound). Even though there are a lot of vocabularies borrowed from Chinese to Japanese and vice versa, only in writing are the two languages related because they use Chinese characters.

So, it is very difficult for a Chinese person to understand Japanese unless they have learned the language. However, the Japanese script partially uses Chinese characters, the kanji, meaning that the Japanese people can sometimes understand Chinese phrases.

Learning the Japanese language for people who understand Chinese is quite easy since they share many vocabularies.

Should you learn Japanese or Chinese first?

Most experts recommend that you learn Chinese first before learning Japanese. This is because the Japanese have borrowed many vocabularies from the Chinese.

So, when you learn Chinese first, mastering Japanese will be much easier. In fact, some experts suggest that once you master Chinese, you will be halfway into concurring Japanese.

As mentioned earlier, the Japanese have three alphabets namely kanji, katakana, and hiragana. The hardest of these three to learn is the Kanji which is almost the same as the Chinese Hanzi.

So, if you learn Chinese first, then you will also have learned the most difficult part of Japanese. Learning Chinese first is like killing two birds with one stone.

You will quickly learn Japanese once you have mastered Chinese because most Japanese phrases, vocabulary, and alphabets are borrowed from the Chinese language.

Is Japanese more useful than Chinese?

Most experts agree that Japanese is by far more useful than the Chinese language. Learning Japanese can get you well-paying jobs because very few native Japanese speak fluent English.

If you learn Chinese, you will compete with a large number of native Chinese speakers who are also fluent English speakers.

Since there are too many English-speaking Chinese natives it is very difficult to find a job that will hire you for speaking Chinese alone, you need to have other additional skills.

On the other hand, there is a short supply of Japanese natives who speak fluent English, making it a potentially more valuable language to learn.

Should I learn Chinese and Japanese at the same time?

NO, it is not advised to learn these two languages at the same time. You will confuse yourself even further, thus derailing the learning process.

Chinese and Japanese languages have few similarities and many differences. The fact that they don’t have many things in common means that they should not be learned at the same time.

If you are planning to study both languages, then you should study one language at a time. Start with Chinese before learning Japanese.

How long does it take to learn Japanese?

The amount of time it takes to learn Japanese depends on many things, including your overall attitude and commitment, the amount of time you allocate to studying the language, the quality of guidance you get from tutors, and much more.

The US Department of State has listed Japanese as one of the hardest languages to learn for native English speakers. That explains why learning the Japanese language is valuable.

The reason why learning Japanese is difficult for native English speakers is that the two languages have no similarities in terms of structure.

But on average, it takes about 88 weeks of consistent learning or about 2200 for a native English speaker to reach fluency in the Japanese language.

Final thoughts

If you have just completed learning Chinese and wondering whether it will be easier to learn Japanese, we hope that you now know the answer.

Learning Chinese will make it much easier to learn Japanese because these two languages share many vocabularies and alphabet.

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