Discover the Best Japanese Classes in Los Angeles
While over 99% of Japanese speakers live in Japan, interest in learning the language is skyrocketing worldwide. People may choose to learn the Japanese language for numerous reasons, though doing business with corporations headquartered in Japan—the third largest economy in the world—is a common factor driving many learners. Meanwhile, many others choose to study the language thanks to their interest in Japan’s cultural exports of anime and manga. Your journey as an English speaker seeking fluency in Japanese will be more complex than those learning a Romance or Germanic language, as digesting conversational skills and an entirely new vocabulary is only part of learning Japanese. Learning the language also includes mastering the three writing systems of katakana, hiragana, and kanji; a grammar system in many ways opposite that of English (but more consistent and logical); and keigo, a complex hierarchical system of politeness.
Why You Should Learn Japanese in Los Angeles
Boasting the highest number of Japanese residents outside Japan, Los Angeles is a hot spot in the U.S. for Japanese language education and cultural experiences. Knowing the Japanese language gives Angelenos a leg up when communicating and doing business with the 65,000 Japanese citizens or dual citizens who call LA home. And the opportunities to do business with Japanese residents are abundant in LA: 32% of the 2,491 Japanese companies operating in California are in Los Angeles County. More than half of Japanese-owned businesses operating in Southern California expect to increase their local hiring numbers in the upcoming years, so now is the time for job hunters in LA to add Japanese to their resumes.
But career growth isn’t the only reason to learn Japanese in Los Angeles. Those who wish to speak Japanese to enjoy Japan’s cultural exports will find plenty of peers and communities to join along the way. The city hosts the largest anime convention in North America, with over 350,000 attendees every year, while dozens of Japanese organizations form access points to other aspects of Japanese culture, both traditional and modern alike.
In-Person Japanese Classes in Los Angeles
With such a large Japanese presence, LA boasts a wide variety of in-person Japanese language, art, and culture classes. With the presence of a live instructor and classmates, courses held in a local classroom offer high-quality support and accountability in your Japanese education journey.
Los Angeles City College’s Community Services provides the LA region with not-for-credit life-skill and enrichment courses designed to support community development through the mental, moral, physical, economic, and civic enrichment of the lives of individual students.
Lara Zhao teaches LACC’s beginner-friendly Japanese Conversation and Pronunciation class, which introduces the basics of the hiragana, katakana, and kanji writing systems along with foundational conversation skills. The class welcomes adults ages 18 and up who are just beginning their Japanese journey. While Zhao helps you build your reading and writing skills, she also provides students with helpful background information about Japan’s culture and traditions.
LACC also offers an advanced Ikebana: Japanese Art of Flower Arrangement: Level 2, which teaches an advanced form of Japanese flower arrangement. Gloria Gwynne invites adult students with some foundational knowledge of Japanese floral design to join her in a deep dive into the Ohara form of ikebana, focusing on both the observation and manipulation of nature. You will need to bring your own materials for the class, including florist scissors, a low-bowl vase, and a pin holder.
If you’re interested in ikebana but have never arranged a flower in your life, Mt. San Antonio College offers a Japanese flower arrangement class for beginners, Ohara School of Ikebana. Like Gwynne, Wendy Lai also teaches the Ohara School’s approach to ikebana, with a focus on creating focus and calm within the mind along with new eyes for the beauty of nature. You will create a new floral arrangement weekly, so plan to bring $10 for materials to every class. Mt. San Antonio College is located east of LA in Walnut, California, and requires all students to hold a California driver’s license at the time of registration.
If the Pacific Coast is an easier commute for you, Santa Monica College’s Community Education department offers a plethora of classes and workshops in the arts and humanities. Santa Monica College’s Japanese Calligraphy class requires a beginning calligraphy class as a prerequisite, as the course goes well beyond the basics. Expert calligrapher and renowned dancer Kazuko leads the class that connects Japanese calligraphy to other art forms of Japan including dance, poetry, and music.
Virtual Japanese Classes
If your already busy schedule has little room to accommodate the commute of in-person classes, why not sign up for online Japanese classes instead? Virtual Japanese courses allow you to attend classes led by a live instructor on a set schedule from the comfort of your home and open up your class options well beyond your immediate vicinity. Be aware that local teachers are more likely to provide your textbooks and other materials, while online Japanese classes often require you to purchase your own books or other props needed when taking a Japanese art or culture class.
If you are looking for Japanese classes for an extra young beginner, the International School of Languages offers a Japanese Beginner 3 for Kids Ages 11-14 course. Led by experienced instructors with native-level fluency, this class boasts a curriculum designed to engage every young mind with audio, visual, and other interactive elements. You will need to purchase your textbook, Japanese for Busy People 1, which will assist you in your journey through this course to gain confidence in conversational skills.
For adults and teens ages 16 and older, ABC Languages offers virtual Japanese - Total Beginner classes featuring a formal education in the language’s grammar rules and plenty of interactive class time designated for learning vocabulary, listening, and speaking skills. Over the course of eight weekly classes, students learn the basics of all three writing systems while also learning how to introduce and talk about themselves.
When you want to continue your Japanese language education beyond semi-confident conversational-level fluency, the International School of Languages’ online Japanese - High Intermediate 2 class may be the course for you. The high intermediate class is the first of a three-course program for adult students hoping to reach advanced-level fluency in the Japanese language. This class requires you to purchase the student book and the workbook for An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese.
Private Group Japanese Classes in Los Angeles
Is your team looking for private group Japanese classes as a fun professional development activity or to prepare for a trip to Japan? Whatever the reason you might need to learn the language, CourseHorse is your one-stop connection to Japanese classes for private groups in Los Angeles.
If you’d like to supplement your Japanese language education with an exploration of Japanese cuisine, CourseHorse has the hook up to private online sushi-making classes for groups of ten to 500. As your team prepares their own sushi with the guidance of a professional chef, they will learn the ins and outs of handling ingredients like sushi rice and salmon and how to turn them into hand rolls, cut rolls, nigiri, and even crunch rolls.
You can arrange many other Japanese cultural experiences through CourseHorse, including Virtual workshops on the Japanese art of shibori dying. Shibori is a traditional manual tie-dying technique practiced in Japan for centuries to create decorative patterns across fabric. As with the sushi-making class’s extensive list of sushi ingredients and materials needed for any private group workshop booked through CourseHorse, the indigo dye and other shibori tools can be shipped directly to each participant.
CourseHorse can arrange both in-person private group courses in LA and online workshops for your team. For your private virtual Japanese classes, CourseHorse recommends Zoom, but they can also accommodate Google Meets, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams to meet your organization’s needs.
Don’t know the exact number of class participants yet? You don’t need to let that stop you when booking with CourseHorse, as you can change the number of attendees up to a week before your class begins.
To book your private group Japanese language or culture classes, you can simply message CourseHorse through their contact form or schedule a phone call to begin a conversation with an expert who can match you with the perfect experience for your team or design a program that will meet all your specific needs. Once CourseHorse books your private Japanese class, they will send you a confirmation within 24 hours of the reservation without charging you a booking fee. Or for one payment of $150, CourseHorse can customize your curriculum by incorporating games, vocabulary, questions, or other activities specific to your organization.