Research topic: Japanese
More than 130 million people speak Japanese. It is not known whether Japanese is related to any of the languages spoken on the Asian mainland, and it can be described as the world's most important isolated language.
Japanese has a long written history that extends back to the 7th century. The script, which consists of two syllabic "alphabets" combined with Chinese characters, is extremely complex. Phonetically, however, the language is very straightforward, having few phonemes. Unlike Chinese, Japanese is not a tonal language.
Japanese organisations publish little detailed information in any language other than Japanese. Very few Japanese are comfortable with either speaking or writing English. Accordingly a knowledge of Japanese will open many doors that will remain closed to those who do not understand the language.