« Back to Languages index



Japanese is spoken by about 125 million people, 99% of them still in Japan. However the number of Japanese speakers living abroad has increased with the expansion of Japan’s economy, working for Japanese companies or the government. There are about 50,000 Japanese speakers in the UK, with about 2000 of them living in Wales. Wales is the largest centre in Europe for Japanese electronics firms. The first Japanese manufacturing company came to Wales in 1973. Over the last 30 years, that number has expanded to about 60 firms, employing thousands of Welsh people. Japanese-speaking pupils have been reported in schools in Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Flintshire, Merthyr Tydfil, Swansea/Neath/Port Talbot, the Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.


Listen to Midori Matsui who came to work for a Japanese company in South Wales in 1973 and has lived here ever since. She has for many years been involved with a Japanese Saturday school in Cardiff for the children of expatriate Japanese.

My name is...



  • PagesDifferent Voices

    5 May 2011
    Different Voices

    Explore the history and sounds of Wales' languages from Early Medieval to the present