Learning to read and write the Japanese language is a time-consuming and extremely difficult process. It is often considered to be one of the most difficult languages to learn but if you can master its intricacies then congratulations! Experts advise that the best way to learn the lingo is to get an idea as to how the written aspect works.
In Japanese there are two sets of characters; kana and kanji. The kana characters are similar to western alphabet but unlike those symbols each kana represents a sound and confusingly not all western sounds are represented, (the reason why many Japanese find some western words hard to say). There are 46 Kana in the language and most of these are mastered by Japanese children before they finish their first grade of schooling. If they can do it then so can you!
Kanji characters are considerably more complicated. These are symbolic characters that represent specific words and concepts. They were imported from Chinese around 600 AD and there are 2,000 of them. It takes Japanese children 9 years to learn the kanji. Since most Japanese publications are written in kanji, do not expect to read anything more complicated than signs fluently until you have learned the most common kanji.