By earning a B.A. in Japanese, students learn to read, write, and converse in a language that has been the vehicle for some of the world’s most imaginative, influential storytellers. Acclaimed content produced in modern Japanese pop culture — including books, films, and anime — flourishes on the surface of a literary tradition that spans 13 centuries. Students explore this tradition and analyze the features of the Japanese language in order to understand its use. They benefit from distinctive courses in modern and classical Japanese, language-intensive study abroad opportunities, and on-campus resources such as the East Asia Library. Alumni, as multilingual professionals with in-demand skills, find an advantage entering business and nonprofit work, STEM fields, graduate programs, and more across the globe.
Introductory Japanese language courses are available in the fall or summer quarters. Students should sign up for introductory courses as early as possible in order to fulfill the major’s language requirement. If you have previous experience with Japanese, see the department's information on proficiency exams and placement interviews.
Admissions, Advising & Student Resources
Please see our Undergraduate Programs section for information about applying to the program, career paths, scholarships, and other student resources.
NOTE: The below requirements apply to students who declare the Japanese major in Winter Quarter 2019 or later. The previous requirements will still apply to those who declared the Japanese major before Winter Quarter 2019 unless special provision is made. Please contact the Humanities Academic Services Center if you are interested in this option.
The Japanese Language & Literature major has a requirement of 50-75 credits. The number of credits necessary will depend upon the students’ initial level of Japanese; for example, students who begin language study with first-quarter Japanese will need 75 credits to complete this major.
I. Language Courses:
5-20 credits of Japanese language courses, drawn from the following courses. Students must take at least 5 credits at the level of JAPAN 303 / JAPAN 334, or above.
- Second-Year Japanese: JAPAN 201, 202, 203
- Third-Year Japanese: JAPAN 301, 302, 303
- Fourth-Year Japanese:
- JAPAN 401, 402, 403 Fourth Year Japanese
- JAPAN 411 Practical Japanese Through Dramas
- JAPAN 412 Virtual Tokyo
- JAPAN 413 Japanese Conversation Through Movies
- JAPAN 418 Advanced Japanese Through Content (prerequisite: minimum grade of 2.5 in JAPAN 313 or JAPAN 334) (NOTE: Can be repeated for credit.)
- JAPAN 431, 432, 433 Readings in Modern Japanese Literature (May be taken in any order; prerequisite: JAPAN 313)
- JAPAN 445 Foreign Study: Fourth-Year Japanese (prerequisite: JAPAN 313)
- JAPAN 451, JAPAN 453 Fifth Year Japanese
- JAPAN 452 Project Work in Advanced Japanese
- JAPAN 471 Introduction to Classical Japanese (prerequisite: 2.5 in JAPAN 313 or JAPAN 334)
- JAPAN 472 Readings in Classical Japanese Literature (prerequisite: JAPAN 471)
Students entering with advanced language skills complete a placement test and interview to determine language course placement. Students who need fewer than 20 credits to complete JAPAN 303, or for whom JAPAN 303 is waived because of advanced skills, must still earn a minimum 50 credits for the major. These students may take 400-level Japanese language courses (placement interview may be required), or additional linguistics, literature, and/or culture courses. Students are strongly encouraged to consult an adviser to determine both language and other course options.
II. Linguistics, Literature, and/or Culture Courses:
A minimum of 30 credits in Japanese linguistics, literature, and/or culture courses. These classes may include the following:
Language or linguistics/literature/culture:
- JAPAN 431-432-433 Readings in Modern Japanese Literature
- JAPAN 471-472-473 Classical Japanese
- JAPAN 499 Undergraduate Research
- JAPAN 321 Survey of Japanese Literature I
- JAPAN 322 Survey of Japanese Literature II
- JAPAN 325 Introduction to Japanese Film
- JAPAN 343 Language in Society
- JAPAN 395 Linguistics or Literature, Foreign Study
- JAPAN 360 Special Topics in Japanese Culture
- JAPAN 361 Special Topics in Japanese Film
- JAPAN 380 Modernism, Avant-Garde, Contemporary and Pop Art and Culture
- JAPAN 434 Undergraduate seminar in premodern Japanese literature
- JAPAN 435 Undergraduate seminar in modern Japanese literature
- JAPAN 441 Acquisition of a Second or Foreign Language
- JAPAN 442 Japanese Syntax and Semantics
- JAPAN 443 Topics in Sociolinguistics
- JAPAN 460 Advanced Study in Japanese Literature
At least 5 credits of the above 30 credits must come from an advanced class, which generally have linguistics, literature, and or/culture class prerequisites. The advanced course list is as follows:
- JAPAN 434 Undergraduate Seminar in Premodern Japanese Literature (prereq: JAPAN 321)
- JAPAN 435 Undergraduate Seminar in Modern Japanese Literature (prereq: JAPAN 322 or JAPAN 360)
- JAPAN 460 Advanced Study in Japanese Literature (prereq: JAPAN 322 or JAPAN 360)
- JAPAN 461 Advanced Study in Japanese Cinema and Media (prereq: JAPAN 325 or JAPAN 361)
- JAPAN 441 Acquisition of a Second or Foreign Language (prereq: JAPAN 203 or above AND either JAPAN 343, JAPAN 344, ASIAN 401, CHIN 342, LING 2XX, or LING 3XX)
- JAPAN 442 Japanese Syntax and Semantics (prereq: either LING 200 or LING 400; recommended: LING 461; at least two years of coursework in Japanese.)
- JAPAN 443 Topics in Sociolinguistics (prereq: JAPAN 313 or above AND either JAPAN 342, JAPAN 343, JAPAN 344JAPAN 440, or JAPAN 441)
5 of the above 30 credits may come from outside of the Asian Languages and Literature Department. A list of approved classes from outside of the department can be found here. If you have questions about whether or not an outside of the department course counts towards the major, please consult with an advisor.
Courses used to satisfy the language requirement may NOT simultaneously be used to satisfy the literature or area-related humanities and social sciences requirements.
Last updated in Autumn 2019.