Japanese is spoken by 130 million people. This makes it the ninth most spoken language by native speakers. Linguist’s debate over the classification of the Japanese language, and one general theory asserts that Japanese is an isolated language and thus a language family of its own, known as Japonica languages. Another major theory includes Japanese as part of a hypothetical Altaic language family which spans most of Central Asia and would also include Turkic, Mongolic, Tungstic, and Korean languages. Neither of these theories has yet been generally accepted.
Japanese is written mostly using three writing scripts, kanji, hiragana and katakana. Kanji are Chinese characters that were first introduced to Japan in the 4th century. Unlike Chinese, Japanese is a highly inflected language with words changing their ending depending on case, number, etc. For this reason, the hiragana and katakana syllabaries were created. The hiragana serves largely to show the inflection of words, as conjunctions and such. The katakana is mainly used for loan-words from other languages.