Japanese is spoken by almost everyone in Japan. The Japanese
writing system is one of the most complex in the world, with three scripts--Kanji,
or Chinese characters, and hiragana and katakana,
both of which are syllabaries--that is, each symbol represents a syllable
rather than a word or an individual phoneme or sound. These three
scripts are typically used simultaneously, sometimes with the addition
of romanji, or roman script.
No one is entirely sure of the ancestry of Japanese, but it appears
to be related to Korean and Ainu, a minority language of northern Japan,
all of which are probably part of the Eurasiatic
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January 8, 1998