With more than 125 million native speakers, Japanese is the eighth most widely spoken language in the world and the national language of a world economic powerhouse. Japanese is also the vehicle of a literary culture spanning thirteen centuries. The eleventh-century Tale of Genji, for example, is reckoned among the classics of world literature. In the twentieth century, two Japanese writers, Yasunari Kawabata and Kenzaburô Ôe, have been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Japanese has also taken its place among the world's great languages of science, technology, and commerce.
The Department of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington offers a wide range of courses in Japanese, including courses for beginners, intensive summer courses, and a multi-track advanced language program that includes training in classical Japanese and sino-Japanese. The department also offers courses on Japanese literature, both in translation for non-Japanese speakers and in the original for advanced students of the language, and linguistics.
The textbooks for Japanese Language instruction can be acquired through the University Bookstore. These are the current textbooks:
- First-year Japanese (Japan 111-2-3, Japan 134): Genki 1, including Textbook and Workbook (2nd Edition, published in 2011).
- Second-year Japanese (Japan 211-2-3, Japan 234): Genki 2, including Textbook and Workbook (2nd Edition, published in 2011).
- Third-year Japanese (Japan 311-2-3, Japan 334): Tobira Gateway to Advanced Japanese, including Textbook and Workbook (1st Edition, published in 2009)