Japanese Language and Literature Courses

Japanese 1A is designed to develop basic Japanese language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will learn the Japanese writing system: hiragana, katakana and approximately 150 kanji. At the end of the course, students should be able to greet, invite, compare, and describe persons and things, activities, intensions, ability, experience, purposes, reasons, and wishes. Grades will be determined on the basis of attendance, quiz scores, homework and class participation.


An introduction to Japanese literature in translation in a two-semester sequence. 7B provides a survey of important works of 19th- and 20th-century Japanese fiction, poetry, and cultural criticism. The course will explore the manner in which writers responded to the challenges of industrialization, internationalization, and war. Topics include the shifting notions of tradition and modernity, the impact of Westernization on the constructions of the self and gender, writers and the wartime state, literature of the atomic bomb, and postmodern fantasies and aesthetics. All readings are in English translation. Techniques of critical reading and writing will be introduced as an integral part of the course.


The goal of this course is for the students to understand the language and culture required to communicate effectively in Japanese. Some of the cultural aspects covered are; geography, speech style, technology, sports, food, and religion. Through the final project, students will learn how to discuss social issues and their potential solutions. In order to achieve these goals, students willlearn how to integrate the basic linguistics knowledge they acquired in J1, as well as study new structures and vocabulary. An increasing amount of reading and writing, including approximately 200 new kanji, will also be required. Prerequisites: Japan 1B.


This course aims to develop further context-specific skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It concentrates on students using acquired grammar and vocabulary with more confidence in order to express functional meanings, while increasing overall linguistic competence. Students will learn approximately 200 new Kanji. There will be a group or individual project. Course materials include the textbook supplemented by newspapers, magazine articles, short stories, essays, and video clips which will provide insight into Japanese culture and society. Prerequisites: Japan 100A; or consent of instructor.


In this course, students will practice various techniques to read articles in Japanese on current issues in Japan, and they will learn about Japanese conceptions of the world and how Japanese society functions. They may want to compare what they have learned with similar issues in their own countries to deepen their understanding of the issues and develop their critical thinking ability. They will also learn more advanced Japanese grammar and increase their vocabulary. Prerequisites: Japan 100, Japan 100B, or Japan 100X; or consent of instructor.

Introductory reading class focusing on premodern texts written in Kanbun, the Japanese way of reading and writing Classical Chinese. The first half focuses on the orthography and syntax of Kanbun, primarily using examples from military texts from the medieval period. The second half focuses on writings considered artistic, religious (Buddhist), literary, historical, biographical, or ritualistic in nature, including snapshots of doctrinal statements by influential thinkers in the Buddhist tradition. In that Kanbun is Chinese in format but was nearly always read in Classical Japanese word order, this fulfills the Japanese-major requirement of a second semester of Classical Japanese. Also listed as: BUDDSTD C141

This course deals with issues of the structure of the Japanese language and how they have been treated in the field of linguistics. It focuses on phonetics/phonology, morphology, writing systems, dialects, lexicon, and syntax/semantics. Students are required to have advanced knowledge of Japanese. No previous linguistics training is required. Prerequisites: 10B or equivalent.

Highways and Byways in Premodern Japanese Literature

Spring 2023 Course Description coming soon