Along with many patterns by western designers, we offer many others by Japanese designers. Their patterns are written with graphical charts. I am not sure how they came to this system, however I believe one of the reasons is because Japanese language cannot be abbreviated as well as the English or other western languages. So here is the way they devised.
Please do not be alarmed. It is extremely simple to understand. (If generations of Japanese knitters could figure this out, so can you!) It is a great design tool to know, since you can adjust the pattern very easily with this system. You can apply this method to any western patterns also.
One more good news. Japanese knitting charts are completely standardized by JIS (Japan Industrial Standard), and knitting instructions are well regulated. These may be great helps to beginners. If you found a lovely project in Japanese book, this would be a chance to extend your knitting experience.