July 17, 2019
Japanese is turning popular in Coimbatore. Among the many foreign languages taught in the city, students and professionals have taken to learning the foreign language.
The ABK AOTS Japanese Language School at Sai Baba Colony was started in 2009 as there was good demand and students had depended on Chennai for exams and classes.
Director Shamugha Priya told The Covai Post, “I learnt Japanese because it is similar to South Indian languages and very interesting. Earlier, people were learning Japanese for fashion. Now it is for good jobs and visiting that country. Japanese and Tamil have almost similar grammar, like you can think in Tamil and speak in Japanese. It doesn’t work like that in English.”
Lia Sujay, a partner of the eight-year-old Sam’s Lingua Centre at Tatabad says, “It is hard to learn. But once you have learnt Japanese, nothing seems difficult. We get about 10-12 students and the basic level is about six months. Japanese has three scripts Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji. The first two have 46 letters each and are called broken script, but Kanji is a Chinese script which has pictorial representation. All three have to be learnt and a proficient speaker must know about 1,500 Kanji characters.”
Knowing Japanese helps engineers get jobs in companies there, though there are also translator and interpreter jobs available here
Japanese is intertwined with Japanese culture and many of its words depict the country’s traditional greetings and behaviour.
The ABK AOTS School has a manga (Japanese comics) lending library. “We give training on Japanese customs and hobbies like ikebana, origami, draping kimono, tea drinking ceremony and others. We have conducted cultural festivals in collaboration with the Japanese foreign ministry and once with the Japanese consulate. We have 7-8 branches but mostly in Tamil Nadu with a head office in Chennai for the past 45 years,” said Priya.
“We also teach traditional Japanese games. Until 2017, people were studying Japanese to get jobs here, but from 2018, basic level students are moving to Japan for studies. They get jobs faster there. We also have short-term student exchange programmes for college students. Our teachers are trained in Japan,” she adds.
Their school also has college workshops where about 400 students qualify every year, besides weekend classes for working professionals.
Indo-Japanese relations began from the 6th Century with the introduction of Buddhism in Japan and has been continuing since. In 2013, late Noboru Karashima, the Japanese Tamil language scholar, was presented a Padma Shri. Tamil film icons like Rajnikanth have many Japanese fans.