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.



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 1 or Japan 1B.


This course will 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, and video clips which will provide insight into Japanese culture and society. Prerequisites: Japan 10B.


This course provides students an opportunity to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills, thereby enabling them to express their points of view and to engage in argumentative discourse. In addition to Japanese literature, readings include academic essays and other texts, which provide a variety of writing styles and serve as sources for classroom discussion. Also, Japanese films are used for various activities in order to broaden students’ cultural awareness and knowledge of Japanese society. Prerequisites: Japan 100B, or Japan 100X.

This course provides a critical survey of prominent and other noteworthy expressions of Buddhist thought and culture in Japanese history. The Japanese experience of Buddhist teachings, practices and institutions, as well as aesthetic expressions in painting, sculpture, architecture, garden design, literature, and theatre will be examined against the backdrop of the transmission of all these forms of Buddhist culture from India to China to Korea to Japan. Special attention will also be given to the fusion of Buddhist and “native” Japanese sensibilities in theater (Noh, Kabuki, and Bunraku) and popular art such as ukiyo-e prints and manga. Prerequistes: None.


This course is an introduction to Japanese modernism through the reading and discussion of representative short stories, poetry, and criticism of the Taisho and early Showa periods. We will examine the aesthetic bases of modernist writing and confront the challenge posed by their use of poetic language. The question of literary form and the relationship between poetry and prose in the works will receive special attention. Prerequisites: Japanese 100A (may be taken concurrently).


This course deals with issues of the usage of the Japanese language and how they have been treated in the field of linguistics. It concentrates on pragmatics, modality/evidentiality, deixis, speech varieties (politeness, gender, written vs. spoken), conversation management, and rhetorical structure. Students are required to have intermediate knowledge of Japanese. No previous linguistics training is required. Prerequisites: Japan 10, Japan 10B, or Japan 10X; or consent of instructor.

This course is designed for those at high-intermediate to low-advanced level of fluency in Japanese to further develop their reading proficiency through detailed grammatical analyses of selected texts. Although adequate knowledge of both vocabulary and grammar is essential for understanding the text, often in foreign-language learning, vocabulary typically receives more emphasis than grammar. Through assigned texts, students learn through a hands-on approach how words are combined to form a phrase, how phrases are combined to form a clause, how clauses are combined to form a sentence, how sentences are combined to form a text. Readings are selected from modern Japanese writing on current affairs, social sciences, history, and literature. Prerequisites: Japan 10B; or consent of instructor