Pune comes to light as a major hub for learning Japanese
Pune emerging as the national hub for Japanese is purely based on the incredible statistics it has to offer. Of the 24000+ students currently studying the Japanese language, 3000 of them are pursuing it from Pune.
Currently, courses in the Japanese language are offered by Savitribai Phule Pune University, Indo-Japanese Association (IJA), and Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth. However, Deccan College is now set to join the bandwagon by introducing a certificate course in Japanese.
The Japan Foundation (Government of Japan) conducts the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) each year in 50 countries at 128+ exam centres on the same day, i.e. first Sunday of December and July. Japan Foundation Director, Kousuke Noguchi, said that the main objective behind this test was to assess and certify all the non-native speakers of the Japanese language. He added, “We have experts teaching in Delhi, Chennai, and Kolkata but Pune has amazed us with rising number of students recorded through JLPT.”
He also said, “There is dedication, sincerity and an academic approach by students in Pune," after the number of students appearing for the test from Pune rose from 654 in 2011 to 1070 in 2015.
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As early as 1993, students from across India, especially Maharashtra and Southern India, had to travel all the way to Delhi since there was only one test centre for Japanese Language Proficiency Test in India. Understanding the need for a JLPT centre in this part of India, senior Japanese language teachers along with veteran teacher, Michiko Tendulkar, Dr. Govind Damle (then Head of Department of Foreign Languages, University of Pune), Japanese language teachers, Dr. Hari Damle and Dr. VN Kinkar set up a centre in Pune. Help also came from the Consulate General of Japan, Mumbai.
Dr. Hari Damle said, “In 1993, about 375 students had appeared for JLPT from Pune centre and the number grew enormously.”
Dr. Prashant Pardeshi, National Institute for Japanese and Linguistics - NINJAL Japan, said, “Pune was one of the early cities which had a connection to Japan. Late Dr Ramesh Divekar played a pivotal role in connecting Pune with Japan in 1964. Japanese language teaching began in Pune in 1965, by late Ramesh Divekar with the valuable help from late DD Gangal (who is the senior most person to visit Japan in the 1930s and the author of the first textbook of Japanese in Marathi called Japani Bolbasha.”
Prajwal Channagiri, Head of Japanese, Dept of Foreign Languages, SPPU said, “Pune with its IT base is very well suited for Japanese language education as the ties of the IT industry and the Japanese bilinguals are very deep. As a result, the demand for interpreters, translators, accountants and human resource professionals is high."
There is a rise in multinational companies hiring candidates with Japanese language skills. Varun Modgill, Director of a Private Firm, spoke to HT, “ My company coordinates for and represents the Nikkei HR Recruitment Forum in India, which is a recruitment forum for recruiting the best of Asian students to work in the headquarters of large-scale Japanese companies. We have found that there are exceptionally talented Japanese speakers in Pune.”