This is why Japanese is not good at English

This is why Japanese is not good at English

Have you ever talked with native Japanese people? Or You may have watched Japanese TV shows about Japan culture or learning English. This is fact that a lots of Japanese is not good at English language.

In this post, I’m going to talk about “Why Japanese is not good at English”. Let’s go.


Japanese is very good at reading ability and mathematical thinking skills

Did you know about that? As you know Japanese is good at development of technology, such as cars, mechanics.
This is fun fuct that Japanese is very bad at English whereas very good at thier thinking ability.


Accounting to PIAAC 2013, Japanese is ranked top 1 in the reading ability and mathematical thinking skills.
However in TOEFL, Japanese is ranked at almost bottom on the list of asian counties.

There’s lots of advertising display with English, but the ones is making no sense for foreigner


In you have visited Japan so far, you’d be surprised about that there’s lots of English guides. However some of them are not good as you expect.

「Please rock the door.」(ホテルのフロント) → 「扉を激しくぶち破って下さい」

Even extreme countryside in Japan, there’s lots of advertising display or signage with English. But the ones often might be weird English or make no sense for foreigner.
For example, there’s English signage at check-in counter in hotels “Please rock the door.”. In English this means “Please break down the door.”.

There’s more than 10000 of English conversation schools in Japan, even so Japanese is not good at English

If you know view of front of train stations in Japan, you probably know about that. English conversation schools located at nearby train stations means, that’s high demand for a large portion of Japanese.

日本には数多くの英会話教室(全国で約10,000校ほど)があり、これほど熱心に英語を勉強している国はありません! それなのに日本の現状は・・・。

There’s lots of English conversation schools – In total the number of them is 10000 or more – , I don’t know any other countries which has more English conversation schools than Japan. Nonetheless still…

Pronunciation, grammar, delayed start of English education


There’s three major conceivable reasons why Japanese is not good at English. Let’s see.

発音: 日本人は英語の発音、特に「LとR」が出来ないと言われている。

Pronunciation: It is said that Japanese cannot recognize difference between L and R in pronunciation.

文法の違い: 英語の語順は「主語・動詞・目的語」の順であるのに対し、日本語は「主語・目的語・動詞」の順。

Different in grammar:

英語教育のスタートが遅い: 日本では英語教育のスタートは2014年度においては、小学5年生であるが、韓国や中国も含め諸外国ではもっと早い時期から英語を教えている。

Delayed schooling of English classes: The English classes would be get started since they’re at fifth grade of elementary school in Japan whereas there’s sooner English classes in other asian countries such as China or Korea.

Anybody in Japan could go to college and they can audit world-class classes without English

And there’s one more secret reason why.


In book stores in Japan there’s a bunch of academic books written in Japanese language, also university students has no question about auditing thier classes in Japanese language.


「I’m sorry, I can’t speak English.」 これには世界のメディアが驚いた。

For example, professor Masukawa who is recipient of nobel physics prize 2008 said “I’m sorry, I can’t speak English.” on him commemorative lecture meeting. This affair astonished from the media in the world.


In Japan all of citizens could go to college fairly and they can audit best classes in the world without using English.


There’s lots of latest science, technology books written in Japanese language available. I think such affordable environment dilute Japanese people’s sense of crisis.

Reference sources:

日本人が英語が苦手な理由に迫る! | オンライン英会話の比較-1,000件以上の口コミで徹底比較!

Anyway, thanks very much for your reading. Surprisingly ( What is? ), this post is very first article in this website by Fumiya. If you’re content with my poor English article It’s my pleasure. If you’re interested in my other posts, there’s lots of available articles I wrote. Again, Thank you!