When you want to know how to speak Japanese, you’ll hear a lot about how difficult it is. For English speakers, or for any of the Romance languages for that matter, it is difficult. When you switch from English to French, for instance, a lot of the basics and even some of the words are things you already know or are at least familiar with. This won’t be the case with Japanese. Here are some of the tricky parts of learning Japanese.

How to Speak Japanese

Learning how to speak Japanese will require learning three things that are likely completely new to you:

  • Kanji
  • Keigo
  • Word Order


Kanji is comprised of many thousands of letters. You need to know how to read and write those letters. School children get their start by learning the most important 2,000 kanji! Before you give up on this task, there is a system to creating these letters. You don’t have to memorize thousands of them. You can start with many and start building on them.


The politeness system of Japanese society is Keigo. This is how the Japanese communicate with one another. First you humble yourself and second you elevate the person you are speaking with, if they have an elevated status in comparison to you. This might be difficult at first for an American to learn, but it can be done with a change of perspective on life.

Word Order

The structure of a sentence is completely foreign to an English speaker. Why? Because the verb is placed at the end. Yeah, crazy, huh? But with enough practice, even you can put the verb at the end of a sentence.

How to Learn

The best way to learn how to speak Japanese is to have a private tutor. Learning online or with a book is likely going to be far too confusing for a beginner. Contact Lumen Learning Center to discuss learning Japanese with one of our tutors.