I always find that when people are taking an Asian language class, they mostly take Japanese. Why aren't there more people learning other Asian languages? For languages such as Korean or Thai and others, I understand less people will learn it because in most colleges they don't offer these classes, but what about Chinese? Most colleges I know do offer chinese classes, yet there are so little people taking them compare to Japanese.
Lots of weeaboos, mostly, combined with a fear of tonal languages, is my guess.
I took Thai and Khmer in college. Didn't take Japanese or Chinese (Cantonese, in my case) until years later.
Jap culture has a lot of influence in the west. Also, over 9k ideograms.
Tones suck and Korea doesn't have as much of an effect on Western culture.
Mandarin may be spoken by countless millions, but its writing system is so convoluted that is hard to work out how to pronounce a word. It will never be a true world language for this reason.
> but its writing system is so convoluted that is hard to work out how to pronounce a word
>but what about Chinese?
If you are talking about the USA and Canada, there are many people taking it. There are many Chinese-Ameriacans or -Canadians who don't know Chinese. So they take it.
Japanese is a good starter language - the other Asian languages are notorious for being extremely hard. Korean is similar, but its not as popular, so it gets less attention. As for chinese... when you need 20k+ character knowledge to read a newspaper, you get intimidated - fast ;_;