Japanese Language Policy

Opinion Survey on the Japanese Language

Endangered Languages and Dialects

  • Endangered Languages and Dialects

    The Agency for Cultural Affairs conducted a survey on the current status of endangered languages and dialects in Japan based on the "Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger" published by UNESCO in February 2009.
    According to UNESCO, over 2,500 languages are in danger of extinction, among them eight languages and dialects in Japan. The following languages and dialects are recognized to be in danger of extinction by UNESCO:
    [Critically endangered]: Ainu
    [Severely endangered]: Yaeyama (dialect), Yonaguni (dialect)
    [Definitely endangered]: Hachijo (dialect), Amami (dialect), Kunigami (dialect), Okinawan (dialect), Miyako (dialect)