There are 125 million Japanese speakers, most of which live in Japan, where it is the official language. Japanese is an East Asian language. The origin of the language's pre-history and how it appeared is somewhat of a mystery. There is some disagreement as to whether or not it is related to Korean and Altlaic languages. Japanese belongs to the Japonic language family, which is also known as Japanese Ryukyuan. The Japanese language does not really have any similar roots with the Chinese language. However, much of the writing was adapted from Chinese.
When writing was introduced to the Japanese around the fifth century, it was actually as a Chinese writing form. At first, the writing was like Classical Chinese, where symbols represented whole words. It eventually evolved so that certain characters represented certain sounds. Currently, the Japanese writing system consists of a few elements. Mainly, Japanese uses hiragana and katakana which are based on syllables. The written language uses Kanji for a couple of thousand words that are borrowed from Chinese. For math and counting, the Arabic system is common, while certain concepts use Kanji.