We Japanese Language School Get To Know Us

Chief Author

Katsuyuki Hasegawa

Conveying the “Real Japan” without Taboos

While working for a travel agency in his 20s, Hasegawa learned that many young people dreamed of living abroad. He then decided that he wanted to create a platform to make that dream a reality.

In 1973, as a first step, Hasegawa launched “Travel Club,” an information magazine about working, learning, and traveling abroad. The magazine received an overwhelming response because, although overseas travel was thriving at the time, there were few media outlets that dealt with it.

In the 1980s, Japan became economically affluent and was praised by foreign countries. Therefore, Hasegawa launched “Hiragana Times” to share his insights about Japan with the world.

Hiragana Times” was intended to promote cross-cultural understanding by introducing Japanese culture, customs, and ideas and by revealing the differences between Japanese and foreigners. Initially, it was a four-page tabloid written in hiragana and distributed freely to foreigners.

Later, however, its content was expanded in response to reader demand. The news was published, kanji, furigana, and English editions were introduced, and the magazine evolved from a 16-page magazine without a cover that cost 100 yen per copy to a 40-page magazine with an attractive cover.

Hiragana Times was more than just a magazine; it was a platform to convey Japan as it really is. It consisted of intriguing content such as love stories of international marriages and success stories of foreigners living in Japan. At its peak, the magazine was 160 pages in length.

There were many difficulties in running the company, such as a decrease in advertisers due to the bursting of the bubble economy and the spread of the Internet. However, Hasegawa believed in the proverb, “Where there is a god to throw away, there is a god to pick up,” and transformed the magazine into one that focused on learning the Japanese Language but also provided facts about Japan.

From 2000 onward, Hiragana Times began to focus on the daily lives of ordinary Japanese people. Although its style became more modest, its reputation grew, and it was even adopted for university entrance exams. Always keeping the reader’s perspective in mind, the magazine has always been innovative, offering a PDF digital version and an audio version.

Hasegawa not only covers politics and economics but also delves into the real lives of the Japanese people, including their eating habits, leisure activities, and unique values. He believes Japan has a deep essence, rooted in culture and Language, that is rarely conveyed through language barriers.

We languages, which teaches English and Japanese online to students worldwide, and Hiragana Times, a bilingual magazine, have much in common.

After a lengthy exchange between the two companies, Hiragana Times content became a learning material for We languages.

We are delighted to be able to bring Hiragana Times content directly to students around the world through We Languages’ excellent online educational system.

Language is a reflection of the heart and soul of a country. Learning Japanese is not just about mastering a language but about understanding the people and culture behind it.

Through Hiragana Times and We Languages, I will continue my efforts to convey the essence of Japanese culture to people worldwide and promote a deeper understanding of the Japanese Language and culture.

Katsuyuki Hasegawa‘s Expertise, Past Career and Publications


Japanese History, Japanese Culture, Japanese Economy, Japanese Society, Japanese Politics, Japanese Geometry,

Past Career and Publications

1984 PublishedChallenge! A New Journey: Working Holiday”
1986 Founds Hiragana Times, becomes editor-in-chief
1991 Published “Culture Shock: The Real Face of Japan.

1994 Published “Secrets of the Japanese.
1998 Published “Meet The Japanese
1998 Published “Rule of the Japanese

Awarded the Grand Prize at the NTT All Japan Town Magazine Festival.