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.

Please see the UW Course Catalog for course descriptions and Courses for class offerings per quarter.

The textbooks for Japanese Language instruction can be acquired through the University Bookstore. These are the current textbooks:

  • First-year Japanese (Japan 111-112-113, & Summer Intensive Japanese 134): Genki 1, including Textbook and Workbook (2nd Edition, published in 2011).
  • Second-year Japanese (Japan 211-212-213, & Summer Intensive Japanese 234): Genki 2, including Textbook and Workbook (2nd Edition, published in 2011).
  • Third-year Japanese (Japan 311-312-313, & Summer Intensive Japanese 334): Tobira Gateway to Advanced Japanese, including Textbook and Workbook (1st Edition, published in 2009)

Faculty in This Area

Professor and Department Chair
Associate Professor, Japanese Program Coordinator
Lecturer, Japanese Language Coordinator
Assistant Professor
Associate Chair, Associate Professor, Teaching Assistant Coordinator, Summer Quarter Coordinator
Associate Professor
Senior Lecturer

All content tagged with this term:


Publications, Essays


Adjunct Associate Professor; Associate Professor of Linguistics
Professor and Department Chair
Associate Professor, Japanese Program Coordinator
Graduate Student in Japanese Language and Literature, Teaching Assistant in Japanese, Department Student Representative
Doctoral Candidate in Japanese Language and Literature, Japanese Teaching Assistant
Graduate Student in Japanese Language and Literature; Teaching Assistant in Japanese
Lecturer, Japanese Language Coordinator
Assistant Professor
Y. Kaminishi
Graduate Student Comparative Literature
Japanese Teaching Assistant/Doctoral Student in Japanese Language and Literature
Associate Chair, Associate Professor, Teaching Assistant Coordinator, Summer Quarter Coordinator
Bio Photo
Graduate Student in Japanese Linguisitcs, Teaching Assistant in Japanese
Graduate Student in Buddhist Studies, GPSS Representative
Senior Lecturer
Senior Lecturer
Associate Professor
Senior Lecturer
Graduate Student in Japanese Literature, Teaching Assistant in Japanese
A. Steel
Graduate Student in Japanese Linguistics
Michiko Urita
Teaching Assistant in Japanese



Title Date Time Location
Discussion & Book Signing
Davinder Bhowmik & Andrea Gevurtz Arai
Jul 11 7:00pm University Bookstore, U-District
Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Apr 22 to Apr 24 Seattle Center, Armory Main Floor, Fisher Pavilion


Title Date Time Location
Japanese Novelist as Translators: From Futabatei to Murakami
Motoyuki Shibata
Feb 20 3:30pm Smith Hall 105


Title Date Time Location
Opening of the tearoom Sunken Hearth Nov 1 10:00am East-West Chanoyu Center
East Asian Security Challenges and Japan's New Strategy under Abe
Shinichi Kitaoka, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
May 28 7:00pm to 8:30pm Kane Hall 210
Who liberated whom?: Remembering the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia
Satoshi Nakano, Hitotsubashi University
May 22 4:30pm Thomson Hall 101
Getting your Foot in the Door and Progressing your Career as Japanese (and other Asian Languages) Majors
Andrew Kim, Microsoft
May 21 3:30pm Smith Hall 105
Model or Mirror: Translating American Literature in Japan
Motoyuki Shibata, University of Tokyo, Editor - "Monkey Business"
May 20 3:30pm Savery Hall 168
Film Screening: "Homeland in the Borderland (Ikyo no naka no kokyo)" May 19 4:00pm Allen Auditorium
Deco Day
Deco Japan: Shaping Art & Culture, 1920–1945, Seattle Asian Art Museum
May 17 9:30am to 3:30pm Seattle Asian Art Museum, Stimson Auditorium
Conversation on "Deco Japan: Shaping Art and Culture, 1920–1945"
Kendall H. Brown, California State University, Long Beach
May 15 7:00pm to 8:00pm Seattle Asian Art Museum, Stimson Auditorium
Hot Presses, Cold War: Furniture Manufacturing and Geopolitics in Occupation Era Japan
Dr. Sarah Teasley, Royal College of Art, London
May 15 3:30pm Savery Hall 138
Take Me There: Maps and Books from Old Japan May 1 to Jun 5 East Asia Library
Being a Translator: My Journey to Becoming a Freelance Translator
Joseph Boxman, Graduate Student, Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington
Apr 25 3:30pm Savery Hall 131
Asian Languages and Literature Colloquium Series: A Typology of Errors: Reading Classical Chinese in 17th Century Vietnam
Dr. John Duong Phan, JSPS Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Institute for Japanese Languages and Linguistics, Department of Crosslinguistic Studies
Apr 16 3:30pm Thomson Hall 317
Reading and Writing Material: Koda Aya's "Kimono"
Michiko Suzuki, Indiana University
Apr 11 5:00pm to 6:30pm Communications 202
Society for Textual Scholarship - International Interdisciplinary Conference Mar 20 to Mar 22 University of Washington Campus
Japanese Tea Ceremony Demonstration
Mitsuko Soko Gale, Seattle Art Museum
Mar 16 2:30pm to 3:30pm Seattle Art Museum, Teahouse (3rd Floor)
Tomoe / Kakitsubata Noh Double-Bill Sneak Preview
Munemori Takeda & the Fisher Ensemble (Presented by Japan Arts Connection Lab)
Mar 14 7:00pm ACT Theatre
ACT for Japan: Third Memorial Event for the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster
Consulate General of Japan and the Japan-America Society of the State of Washington
Mar 9 1:45pm to 5:15pm University Temple United Methodist Church
Zen in Love: Passionate poetry by the monk Ikkyû Sôjun
Thomas Hare, Princeton University
Mar 1 9:30am to 11:00am Seattle Asian Art Museum, Stimson Auditorium
Girls Day (Hina Matsuri) Celebration!
Seattle Asian Art Museum
Mar 1 9:20am Seattle Asian Art Museum, Fuller Garden Court
Face in the Clouds: Portraits of Ikkyû Sôjun
Thomas Hare, Princeton University
Feb 28 3:30pm to 5:00pm Allen Library Auditorium
On "Abenomics" and the Japanese Economy: Prime Minister Abe's New Policies to Boost Japan's Economy
Motoshige Itoh, University of Tokyo
Feb 27 7:00pm Kane Hall 220
My (Early) Career in Japanese Translation
Jamie Tokuno, UW Japanese Major Alumni
Feb 24 3:30pm Savery Hall 136
The Japan Foundation Standard Familiarization Workshop
Ms. Tomoyo Shibahara, Japan Foundation, São Paulo
Feb 15 9:00am to 4:15pm Communications Building 226
Attitudes Towards Law: The Impact of Legal Education and Historical Experience in Japan and China
Michael K. Young, President, University of Washington
Jan 21 3:30pm William H. Gates Hall 138


Title Date Time Location
Asian TA Application Workshop Dec 6 3:30pm Savery 264
Beyond the Metropolis: Second Cities and Modern Life in Interwar Japan
Louise Young, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Dec 6 3:30pm to 5:00pm Savery Hall 130
Japanese Program Mixer Nov 13 3:30pm Savery 139
Censoring the Imagination?: "Fukushima," Literature, and the End of the World
Rachel DiNitto
Oct 11 5:00pm Savery Hall 130
Random Thoughts on Japanese and Chinese Calligraphy
Yoshiaki Shimizu, Princeton University
Apr 26 3:30pm Gowen 201
Japanese Studies in Japan and the US: Comparative Perspectives on Japanese Language and Culture Feb 22 2:00pm HUB Room 307
Information Session on MEXT Scholarships Feb 15 1:30pm SAV 132


Title Date Time Location
Workshop for Applying for TA Positions in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Language Programs Nov 16 1:30pm to 2:50pm Denny Hall 304
"Reflections on Japan 1990 vs. 2012: What’s Changed and What Hasn’t?"
Glen S. Fukushima
Oct 8 3:30pm to 5:00pm 317 Thomson Hall, Seattle, WA
"Japan: Challenges and Opportunities"
Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan to United States
Oct 5 2:30pm to 4:00pm Kane Hall 225, Walker-Ames Room
The Sino-Japanese Island Conflict: How Much Cause for Concern?
David Bachman
Oct 4 11:00am to 12:30pm Thomson Hall, Room 317
Northwest Conference on Japanese Pedagogy Apr 21 to Apr 22


Title Date Time Location
"Authority and Allusion: The Love-song of Lord Takafusa and Its Illustrated Scroll"
Joshua Mostow, University of British Columbia
Nov 4 3:30pm to 5:00pm SAV 156
"Mountains, Magic, and Mothers: Envisioning the Female Ascetic in Medieval Japan"
Melissa McCormick, Harvard University
Oct 28
Fukushima! Life in Japan After the Earthquake
Chie Goto
Oct 20
"Using Media-Based Projects in Teaching Japanese"
Richard Harrison, Kobe University
Mar 8 3:30pm to 5:00pm Denny 211
Japanese Technical Translation
Benjamin Barrett
Feb 1 3:30pm to 5:00pm Denny 216


Title Date Time
Book Talk: "Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature"
Ted Mack, University of Washington
Dec 7
Finding Japanese Jobs in Seattle
Andrew Kim, Siemens
Dec 6
"From Sunless Streets to Culture Towns: the Re-territorialization of Tokyo in the 1920"
J. Fujii, University of California, Irvine
May 28 3:30pm
"Japan’s France: Fujita Tsuguharu and Kaneko Mitsuharu in 1920’s Paris"
Douglas Slaymaker, University of Kentucky
May 17 3:30pm
"Variations of Regional Accent in the Japanese Puppet Theater"
K. Sakamoto
May 13 3:30pm
Finding "Japanese" Jobs in Seattle May 12
"Nakagami Kenji and Subculture"
Anne Mckinight, University of Southern California
Mar 12 3:30pm
"Blood Brothers: Racial Passing and Male Bonding in Japanese Yakuza Films"
Christopher Scott, Macalester College
Feb 19 3:30pm


Title Date Time Location
"Champions of Justice": How "Asian" Heroes Saved Japanese Imperialism
Leo Ching, Duke University
May 28 3:30pm
"What Counts as Literature? The Astonishing Revival of The Cannery Ship (1929) in Recession-era Japan"
Professor Norma Field, University of Chicago
May 7 7:30pm Walker-Ames Room (Kane 225)
"All frills: Girlie taste and consumer culture in Japan"
Tomiko Yoda, Duke University
Mar 7 3:30pm
"The World is Superflat: Arts and Politics in Contemporary Japan"
Marilyn Ivy, Columbia University
Feb 25 3:30pm


Title Date Time Location
"All Frills: Girlie Taste and Consumer Culture in Japan"
Tomiko Yoda, Duke University
Mar 7
"The World is Superflat: Art and Politics in Contemporary Japa"
Marilyn Ivy, Columbia University
Feb 25
Contemporary Japanese Author Series
Kakuta Mitsuyo
Feb 15 Simpson Center for the Humanities
"Is there a copula in Japanese?"
Michio Tsutsui, University of Washington
Jan 24


Title Date Time Location
"Edo/Tokyo from Asakusa to Azuma: Temple, Theater, Brothel, Buraku"
Edward Fowler, University of California at Irvine
Apr 12
Contemporary Japanese Author Series
Kirino Natsuo
Apr 9 Simpson Center for the Humanities
落語 Rakugo: Traditional Japanese Comic Storytelling
Katsura Koharudanji, Special Advisor For Cultural Exchange, Agency For Cultural Affairs, Japan
Feb 28
"Is Japanese 'made in Japan'?"
Dr. Martine Robbeets, Leiden University
Feb 12 3:30pm to 5:00pm Suzzallo Library, Allen Library Auditorium
"Ancient Texts and Prehistoric Verbal Structures: The Case for Japonic and Korean"
Dr. Kerri Russell, University of Hawaii
Jan 31 3:30pm to 5:00pm Suzzallo Library, Allen Library Auditorium
"The Path to Kana(da): An Overview of the Earliest Written Evidence for Korean and Japanese"
Dr. Marc Miyake
Jan 23 3:30pm to 5:00pm Communications 226


Title Date Time Location
"Linguistic Rhythm in Japanese and Korean"
Emily Curtis, University of British Columbia
Dec 5 3:30pm to 5:00pm Communications 226
"The Pleasures of Japanese Poetry"
Professor Edwin Cranston, Harvard University
May 15 7:30pm Walker-Ames Room (Kane 225)
"Portrait of a Writer in Tokyo, 1910: Mori Ôgai's Seinen"
D. Cuong O'Neill, University of California, Berkeley
May 1 3:30pm Thomson 317
"Modernity in Samurai Films"
Kôno Kensuke, Nihon University, Japanese Literature Visiting Scholar
Apr 25 7:30pm Kane Hall 225, Walker-Ames Room
"Modernist Sketches of Tokyo Stations: How Stories of Ordinary Places Recall What History Forgot"
Alisa D. Freedman, University of Oregon
Feb 16 3:30pm Communications 226
Contemporary Japanese Author Series
Tawada Yôko
Feb 13 Simpson Center for the Humanities


Title Date Time Location
World of Grand Kabuki at the Seattle Asian Art Museum Jun 11 to Jun 12 Seattle Asian Art Museum
Two Japanese Short Stories
Ichiji Nanako, Kai Daisuke, Kanai Keiko
May 26
"Kurosawa in Black and White"
Paul Anderer, Columbia University
May 4
"Masaoka Shiki and the Appeal of Haiku"
Professor Keiko Kanai, Waseda University
Apr 21


Title Date Time Location
"The Osaka Kannon Pilgrimage and Chikamatsu's 'The Love Suicides at Sonezaki': Text, Context, and Performance"
Michael Brownstein, University of Notre Dame
Oct 21 3:30pm Communications 206
"Fetishizing a Medieval Japanese Text: Fujiwara no Teika's 'Diary of the Brilliant Moon'"
Paul Atkins, University of Washington
Feb 20 3:30pm Communications 226


Title Date Time Location
"Technology, Commerce, and Community: The Production of Japanese Literature"
Ted Mack, University of Washington
Oct 8 3:30pm Communications 226


Title Date Time
The Andrew L. Markus Memorial Symposium on Tokugawa Japan May 10