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Languages of Japan

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Nippon. 127,333,002. National or official language: Japanese. Also includes English (70,000), , Chinese (150,000), from the Philippines (36,000), from Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia over (300,000). Information mainly from S. Wurm and S. Hattori 1981; M. Shibatani 1990. Blind population: 256,700. Deaf population: 317,000 to 7,585,237 (1998). Deaf institutions: 131. The number of languages listed for Japan is 15. Of those, all are living languages.

Living languages

Ainu

[ain] 15 in Japan (1996 Alexander Vovin). Ethnic population: 15,000 in Japan. Kuril Islands (Tsishima), Hokkaido. Formerly also on south Sakhalin Island, Russia. Also spoken in Russia (Asia). Alternate names: Ainu Itak.  Dialects: Sakhalin (Saghilin), Taraika, Hokkaido (Ezo, Yezo), Kuril (Shikotan, Tsishima). The last speaker of Sakhalin dialect died in 1994. There were at least 19 dialects.  Classification: Language Isolate  Nearly extinct.
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Amami-Oshima, Northern

[ryn] 10,000 (2004). Northwestern Okinawa; northern Amami-oshima Island. Alternate names: Northern Amami-Osima, Oshima, Osima, Oosima.  Dialects: Naze, Sani. Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible, or very difficult, with other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Amami-Okinawan, Northern Amami-Okinawan 
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Amami-Oshima, Southern

[ams] 1,800 (2004). Northern Okinawa; southern Amami-oshima, Kakeroma, Yoro, and Uke islands. Alternate names: Southern Amami-Osima.  Dialects: Inherent intelligibility is low with other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Amami-Okinawan, Northern Amami-Okinawan 
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Japanese

[jpn] 121,050,000 in Japan (1985). Population total all countries: 122,433,899. Throughout the country. Also spoken in American Samoa, Argentina, Australia, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Germany, Guam, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, USA. Dialects: Western Japanese, Eastern Japanese. Possibly related to Korean. The Kagoshima dialect is 84% cognate with Tokyo dialect.  Classification: Japanese 
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Japanese Sign Language

[jsl] 317,000 (1986 Gallaudet Univ.).  Alternate names: Shuwa, Temane.  Dialects: Related to Taiwanese and Korean sign languages.  Classification: Deaf sign language 
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Kikai

[kzg] Ethnic population: 13,066 (2000 WCD). Northeastern Okinawa; Kikai Island. Dialects: Onotsu. Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible or very difficult of other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Amami-Okinawan, Northern Amami-Okinawan 
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Korean

[kor] 670,000 in Japan (1988).  Classification: Language Isolate 
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Kunigami

[xug] 5,000 (2004). Central Okinawa; central and northern Okinawa Island, Iheya, Izena, Ie-jima, Sesoko islands. Dialects: Nago. Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible, or very difficult, of other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese. Ryukyu languages are 62% to 70% cognate with Tokyo dialect of Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Amami-Okinawan, Southern Amami-Okinawan 
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Miyako

[mvi] Ethnic population: 67,653 (2000 WCD). Southern Okinawa; Miyako, Ogami, Ikema, Kurima, Irabu, Tarama, Minna islands. Dialects: Miyako-Jima (Hirara, Ogami), Irabu-Jima, Tarama-Minna. Not intelligible with other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese. The dialects listed have noticeable differences, but not impossible communication.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Sakishima 
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Okinawan, Central

[ryu] 984,285 (2000 WCD). Ethnic population: The total ethnic population of Okinawan is 120,000,000 (2000 Yukio Uemura). Central Okinawa; southern Okinawa Island, Kerama Islands, Kume-jima, Tonaki, Aguna islands, and islands east of Okinawa Island. Alternate names: Okinawan, Luchu.  Dialects: Shuri, Naha, Torishima, Kudaka. Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible, or very difficult, with other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese. Ryukyu languages are 62% to 70% cognate with Tokyo dialect of Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Amami-Okinawan, Southern Amami-Okinawan 
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Oki-No-Erabu

[okn] 3,200 (2004). North central Okinawa; Oki-no-erabu Island. Dialects: East Oki-No-Erabu, West Oki-No-Erabu. Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible, or very difficult, with other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese. Dialect differences are noticeable, but communication is not impossible. Ryukyu languages are 62% to 70% cognate with Tokyo dialect of Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Amami-Okinawan, Southern Amami-Okinawan 
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Toku-No-Shima

[tkn] 5,100 (2004). Northern Okinawa; Toku-no-shima Island. Dialects: Kametsu. Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible, or very difficult, of other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Amami-Okinawan, Northern Amami-Okinawan 
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Yaeyama

[rys] Ethnic population: 47,636 (2000 WCD). Southern Okinawa; Ishigaki, Iriomote, Hatoma, Kohama, Taketomi, Kuroshima, Hateruma, Aregusuku islands. Alternate names: Yayeyama.  Dialects: Ishigaki, Kabira, Shiraho, Taketomi, Kohama, Hatoma, Sonai, Kuroshima, Hateruma. Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible, or very difficult, with other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Sakishima 
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Yonaguni

[yoi] 800 (2004). Southern Okinawa; Yonaguni Island. Dialects: Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible, or very difficult, with other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Sakishima 
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Yoron

[yox] 950 (2004). North central Okinawa; Yoron Island. Dialects: Inherent intelligibility is generally impossible, or very difficult, with other Ryukyuan languages and Japanese. Ryukyu languages are 62% to 70% cognate with Tokyo dialect of Japanese.  Classification: Japanese, Ryukyuan, Amami-Okinawan, Southern Amami-Okinawan 
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