The Confucious Institute, the government-backed organisation, has been established to help people around the world to learn Chinese, reports.

There are now 156 Conficious Institutes in 55 countries and regions. The target is to have 200 up and running by the end of the year. The Confucious Institute is modeled on similar cultural organisations such as the British Council, the Alliance Francaise, Germany’s Geothe Institut and Spain’s Instituto Cervantes.

Hiroshi Matsubara writes on

Japan hosts seven institutes, and a dozen more universities have asked China to help them open Confucius Institutes, according to the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo.

The Chinese government shoulders about 10 million yen of annual operating costs for each institute in Japan. Teachers are dispatched from a partner university in China.

Kiyofumi Yamashita, a former company president, started learning Chinese at the Confucius Institute at J.F. Oberlin University in Machida, western Tokyo, in April.

The 68-year-old describes his studies as a post-retirement “luxury.” He spends up to six hours a day immersing himself in Chinese language, culture and history.

The full report.