Japanese language learning fever rising in Taiwan: test center

Taipei--Enthusiasm for learning the Japanese language has been growing among Taiwanese, many of whom are likely interested in Japanese tourism and TV dramas, according to information from a language testing center.

Of the 870,000 people around the world who took the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) in 2016, some 80,000 were in Taiwan, said the Taipei-based Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC), which is authorized to administer the test in Taiwan.

The number was second only to the 217,000 in China and beat the 79,000 recorded in South Korea that year, the center said, citing statistics from the Japan Foundation, a co-organizer of the JLPT.

In the period 2011 to 2016, the number of people in Taiwan taking the JLPT grew 51 percent, the center said.

It said the jump in interest in Japanese language learning was remarkable given the relatively small size of Taiwan's population, and would probably be even higher if self-taught people were taken into account.

Taiwan has the sixth-largest number of Japanese-language educational institutions and the fifth-largest number of Japanese teachers and students in the world, the statistics show.

According to TLTC R&D chief Wu Jo-hui (???), more than 60 percent of JLPT candidates in Taiwan are between the ages of 16 and 25.

In recent years, however, the number of older candidates has been increasing, Wu said, speculating that this was due to the popularity of Japanese tourism, TV dramas and subcultures.

She said the JLPT is divided into five levels, from N1 to N5, and the results are widely accepted as a qualification for admission to Japanese universities and for employment and promotion in Japan.

Graduates who majored in Japanese are required to pass the test at the highest levels of N1 or N2, while exchange students in Japan are required to pass at the N3 level, she said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel