The Most Popular Japanese Language: Ranking the Favorites

Choose the language you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 20, 2024 07:15
Welcome to StrawPoll, the ultimate platform for discovering and ranking the most popular Japanese languages! As a language enthusiast, you must be intrigued by the captivating world of Japanese dialects and variations. We've put together an extensive list of these fascinating languages for you to explore, vote for your favorites, and even suggest any missing options. Join thousands of fellow language lovers and dive into a world of linguistic diversity as you uncover the hidden gems of the Japanese language. Don't miss this opportunity - your vote could make all the difference in determining the ultimate ranking! So, what are you waiting for? Click further and let your voice be heard in the quest for the most popular Japanese language!

What Is the Most Popular Japanese Language?

  1. 1
    This is the most widely spoken and recognized form of Japanese, used in education, media, and official settings. It is based on the Tokyo dialect and has become the de facto standard for the language.
    Standard Japanese, also known as hyƍjungo, is the official dialect of Japan commonly used in media, education, and formal situations. It is considered the most prestigious and widely understood form of Japanese.
    • Script: Uses a combination of kanji (Chinese characters), hiragana, and katakana.
    • Vocabulary: Incorporates both native Japanese words and loanwords from other languages.
    • Grammar: Follows standardized grammar rules established by linguistic authorities.
    • Accent: Generally follows the Tokyo accent, although regional variations exist.
    • Pronunciation: Based on the standardized pronunciation used in broadcasting.
    Standard Japanese in other rankings
  2. 2
    This dialect is spoken in the Kansai region of Japan, which includes cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe. It is known for its melodic intonation and distinctive vocabulary.
    The Kansai dialect, also known as Kansai-ben, is a regional variant of the Japanese language spoken in the Kansai region of Japan. It is characterized by distinctive phonetic features, vocabulary, and grammar.
    • Phonetic Features: Different pronunciations of certain sounds, such as the 'i' sound pronounced as 'e', and lengthening of vowels.
    • Vocabulary: Unique words and expressions not commonly used in standard Japanese, such as 'okini' (thank you) and 'meccha' (very).
    • Grammar: Differences in sentence structure and particles usage compared to standard Japanese.
    • Intonation: Distinctive intonation patterns, often regarded as lively and energetic.
    • Rhythm: A slightly slower and more melodic rhythm compared to other dialects of Japanese.
  3. 3
    The dialect spoken in the northern island of Hokkaido has a unique pronunciation and vocabulary, influenced by the Ainu indigenous people and the harsh climate.
    The Hokkaido dialect is a regional dialect of the Japanese language spoken in the Hokkaido region of Japan. It is characterized by unique phonetic and vocabulary features that distinguish it from standard Japanese.
    • Pronunciation: The Hokkaido dialect exhibits distinctive pronunciation variations, such as the merging of some vowels and consonants.
    • Vocabulary: The dialect has a number of vocabulary peculiarities, including unique words and expressions not commonly used in standard Japanese.
    • Grammar: While the basic grammatical structure remains the same as standard Japanese, the Hokkaido dialect has certain grammar rules and syntax patterns that differ from the standard.
    • Pitch accent: The Hokkaido dialect has its own pitch accent patterns, determining stress and intonation in words.
    • Loanwords: Due to its geographical location and historical influences, the Hokkaido dialect has incorporated loanwords from the Ainu language and other languages spoken in the region.
  4. 4
    The dialect spoken in the southern island of Kyushu has a distinctive intonation and vocabulary, influenced by historical trade and cultural exchange with neighboring countries.
    The Kyushu dialect is a regional variation of the Japanese language predominantly spoken in the Kyushu region of Japan. It has distinct phonetic, grammatical, and vocabulary differences compared to Standard Japanese.
    • Geographical Distribution: Primarily spoken in the Kyushu region of Japan
    • Accent: Different accent patterns compared to Standard Japanese
    • Vocabulary: Unique vocabulary words and expressions
    • Grammar: Different grammatical patterns and sentence structures
    • Phonetics: Distinct pronunciation of certain sounds
  5. 5
    This is a distinct language spoken in the Okinawa islands, which have a unique culture and history separate from mainland Japan. It is related to the Ryukyuan language family and has its own writing system.
    Okinawan language is a dialect of the Japonic language family spoken primarily in the Okinawa Islands of Japan. It is considered a distinct language due to its unique phonological, grammatical, and vocabulary features that differ from standard Japanese.
    • Language Family: Japonic
    • Region: Okinawa Islands, Japan
    • Distinct Features: Unique phonological, grammatical, and vocabulary traits
    • Intelligibility with Standard Japanese: Mutually intelligible to some extent, but significant differences exist
    • Writing System: Uses both the traditional Okinawan script called 'Katakana-fuzokugo' and sometimes the standard Japanese script
  6. 6
    This is the basis for Standard Japanese and is spoken in the capital city of Tokyo. It is known for its clear pronunciation and lack of regional accents.
  7. 7
    This dialect is spoken in the northeastern region of Japan, including cities such as Sendai and Aomori. It has a distinctive pronunciation and vocabulary, influenced by the harsh climate and isolation from other regions.
    The Tohoku dialect, also known as Tohoku-ben, is a regional dialect of the Japanese language primarily spoken in the Tohoku region of Japan. It is one of the many dialects spoken throughout the country, each with its own distinct features.
    • Pronunciation: Tohoku-ben has distinct pronunciation features, such as the elongation of vowels and the omission of certain sounds.
    • Vocabulary: Tohoku-ben includes unique words and expressions that differ from standard Japanese.
    • Pitch accent: The dialect has a different pitch accent system compared to other dialects, which affects the melody and intonation of the language.
    • Grammar: Tohoku-ben has some grammatical differences, including the use of different sentence structures and the omission of certain particles.
    • Honorifics: Tohoku-ben has its own honorific system with distinct honorific prefixes and suffixes.
  8. 8
    This dialect is spoken in the central region of Japan, including cities such as Nagoya and Shizuoka. It has a mix of features from other dialects and a distinctive intonation.
    The Chubu dialect, also known as the Nagoya dialect, is a regional variant of the Japanese language spoken in the Chubu region of Japan, primarily in and around the city of Nagoya. It has distinct linguistic features that set it apart from the standard Tokyo dialect.
    • Pitch accent: The Chubu dialect uses a unique pitch accent pattern different from the standard Tokyo dialect.
    • Vocabulary: It has some distinct vocabulary and expressions not commonly found in standard Japanese.
    • Particle usage: Certain particles in the Chubu dialect may have different usage or pronunciation compared to standard Japanese.
    • Verbs: There are variations in verb forms and conjugations in the Chubu dialect.
    • Negation: The Chubu dialect has its own unique negation patterns.
  9. 9
    This is an old dialect spoken in the Edo period (1603-1868) in the Tokyo area. It has influenced modern Standard Japanese and is still used in some traditional arts and literature.
    The Edo dialect, also known as the Edo-ben or Edo language, is a popular Japanese dialect that originated in the former Edo region, which is now modern-day Tokyo. It was widely spoken during the Edo period (1603-1868) and continues to have a significant influence on the Tokyo dialect today.
    • Distinct Vocabulary: The Edo dialect has a unique vocabulary compared to standard Japanese, incorporating words and expressions specific to the Edo region.
    • Pitch Accent: Unlike standard Japanese, the Edo dialect follows a different pitch accent pattern, which gives it a distinct intonation.
    • Informal Speech Style: The Edo dialect is characterized by a casual and informal speech style, reflecting the lively and expressive nature of the Edo culture.
    • Popular Cultural Representations: The Edo dialect is often portrayed in historical dramas, movies, and literature, contributing to its popularity and recognition.
    • Humorous Wordplay: The Edo dialect is known for its playful wordplay and puns, which adds a sense of humor and wit to conversations.
  10. 10
    This is a slang dialect used by young people in the Tokyo area, with a mix of English and Japanese words and phrases. It is often used in pop culture and social media.
    The Yamanote dialect is a variant of the Japanese language that originated in the Yamanote area of Tokyo, Japan. It is known for its unique vocabulary, pronunciation, and sentence structure, which distinguishes it from other regional dialects.
    • Geographical Origin: Yamanote area of Tokyo, Japan
    • Vocabulary: Distinctive words and phrases
    • Pronunciation: Different intonation patterns and accentuations
    • Sentence Structure: Varies from standard Japanese
    • Cultural Influence: Reflects the urban lifestyle and slang of Tokyo

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Ranking factors for popular language

  1. Number of native speakers
    The number of people who speak Japanese as their first language is an important factor to consider in determining its popularity.
  2. Number of learners
    The number of people who are learning Japanese as a second or foreign language, either in formal education settings or through language learning apps, websites, and courses.
  3. Global influence
    The extent to which the Japanese language is spoken, understood, and used in various countries around the world, as well as its presence in global media, literature, and diplomacy.
  4. Economic impact
    The economic importance of Japan and Japanese-speaking regions as trading partners, investment destinations, and sources of innovation can influence the demand for Japanese language skills.
  5. Media presence
    The popularity and influence of Japanese language media, such as movies, TV shows, anime, manga, music, and video games, can raise awareness of the language and attract more learners.
  6. Cultural appeal
    The popularity and allure of Japanese culture, food, fashion, technology, and other aspects can affect the overall interest in learning the language.
  7. Educational resources
    The availability and quality of resources and materials for learning Japanese, such as textbooks, online courses, apps, language schools, and exchange programs.
  8. Language policies
    Government policies and initiatives related to promoting, protecting, or teaching the Japanese language both domestically and internationally can impact its popularity.
  9. Historical and geopolitical factors
    Historical ties and relationships between countries, as well as geopolitical interests, can influence language popularity and the desire to learn a language like Japanese.
  10. Ease of learning
    The perceived difficulty of learning Japanese compared to other languages might impact its popularity as well. Some may be drawn to the challenge, while others might be discouraged by character systems like hiragana, katakana, and kanji.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular Japanese language. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or language is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 166 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each language once every 24 hours. The rank of each language is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most popular japanese language

Japan is known for its rich culture and traditions, and one of the most prominent aspects of this is the Japanese language. With over 125 million speakers worldwide, Japanese is considered one of the major languages of the world. It is the official language of Japan, and is also spoken in other countries such as Brazil, the United States, and Canada. The Japanese language has three main writing systems: kanji, hiragana, and katakana. Kanji is a set of Chinese characters that were adopted by the Japanese, while hiragana and katakana are two syllabic scripts used for writing native Japanese words and loanwords from other languages. There are also different dialects of Japanese spoken throughout Japan, with the Tokyo dialect being the most widely recognized and standard form of the language. However, there are several regional dialects that are still spoken and celebrated in different parts of the country. Overall, the Japanese language is a fascinating and complex system of communication that has evolved over centuries. Its popularity continues to grow as more people become interested in Japanese culture and language learning.

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