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    If you look at the admission statistics on the Which university website, only 23% of applicants to BA Japanese are made an offer, whereas most other languages SOAS teaches have an offer rate of 50-80%.

    This tallies as correct, because there are way more people asking about the BA Japanese course in the SOAS section than any other course that SOAS does.

    Why is a language spoken in only one country of declining economic importance so popular compared to every other language that SOAS offers?

    Does anime and J-pop really hold so much appeal that people are desperate to do a degree in the language to the point that SOAS is so inundated with applications that only 2 in 10 applicants are offered a place?

    Numerically we're the third biggest language offered at SOAS I think - Y1 intensive and non intensive Arabic is something crazy like 140 people, Y1 Chinese intensive + non intensive is about 120 and our combined figure is about 90 or so so we're not the biggest language per se but we are one of the 'big four' of SOAS (Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Korean).

    We are known for probably being the strictest department out of those four - Arabic has more classes than us but they seem to be a little more lax (not by much though according to my flatmate who does Arabic), although Chinese seems to be quite strict too. The Korean department is really friendly though apparently. I suppose we've kinda developed a bit of a reputation for being a famous/infamous Japanese department so that's why people ask about it (ie 'is it really THAT strict?')...I'm not sure why people don't ask so much on here about Arabic and Chinese for example but numbers wise there are more of them than us for sure (although Arabic/Chinese/Japanese intensive all are about 60-70 people, the rest being non-intensive people). I guess one thing is that having looked at the website, the Arabic/Chinese structure is much clearer than the Japanese one (like for example Arabic have 2 choices where they go for their year abroad, Chinese only one...we have 18 I think), but that's my opinion.

    You'd have to contact the convenors directly though to ask why the statistics are as they are though I'm afraid.

    We actually did a survey about this at the start of the year and nobody listed 'economic reasons' as a motive for studying Japanese so the size of Japan's economy hasn't been massively influential for at least our year group. Even so, if you are motivated economically, you can't ignore the fact that it's still the third largest economy in the world. It's generally considered a pretty poor idea to learn a language solely for economic reasons as most people end up failing as they're just not motivated enough, but not everyone wants to learn Chinese to jump on the bandwagon.

    The thing about SOAS Japanese is that, from my experience of getting to know people here, anime and J-pop comprises only a minor part of peoples' interest in Japan. Personally, I do Japanese because I've had lifelong friends out there, I've visited Japan and that's where I see my future. I'm also interested in classical Japanese history, mythology etc. and I've never read a manga, found a J-pop song that I particularly liked or seen an anime besides dubbed Pokemon when I was younger. Some people do the degree because they've lived in Japan but never picked up the language, some because they can see themselves getting a job out there, some purely for cultural/linguistic/historical interest. Although we've got a few people who really do like J-pop and anime, nobody is doing this degree purely so that the can understand J-pop/anime fluently.
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