Fewer and fewer people are taking graduate-level Japanese classes in U.S. universities, according to data recently released by the MLA.
Graduate-level enrollments in Japanese classes are at their lowest level since 1983 and have declined to less than half of their peak level, which was reached in 1995.
Here are a few more years. When looking at the earlier peaks, it’s worth remember that there are a lot more people in graduate school now than there were several decades ago, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the population. So the recent figures are even more bleak than they might appear at first glance.
You might be wondering how Japanese stacks up against another Asian language. Here’s a comparison with graduate enrollments in Chinese (in blue). Again, the situation isn’t looking good for Japanese.
And here’s a look at the number of undergraduate enrollments in Japanese (green) and Chinese (blue) per enrollment in a graduate course in the same respective language.
Even so, boosters of Japanese may take heart that there are still more post-secondary enrollments in Japanese than in Mandarin. But more on that in a later post.
(For those of you who are wondering, no, this blog isn’t really back just yet. But I think these numbers are interesting. Also, my MLA-related posts don’t need Hanzi or Pinyin diacritics, which would only get messed up anyway. Thus, I might as well post the information for others to see.)