Japanese

A city view of downtown Tokyo at night.

Japanese is spoken by more than 125 million people. While most of these speakers reside in Japan, it is also spoken by sizeable Japanese emigrant populations in Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Australia, Canada and the United States.

The department offers a wide range of Japanese courses, for both beginner and advanced Japanese speakers and for students who are interested in Japanese culture, media and history.

Japanese also makes a great double major. Combinations have included:

  • Natural sciences
  • Engineering
  • History
  • Art
  • Psychology
  • Political science
  • Religion
  • Film studies
  • Comparative literature
  • Other languages

Below is information on:


Japanese Major Requirements

1. Class of 2022 through Class of 2024

An exterior view of Tori Gate Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.

The Japanese major for students up to and including the Class of 2024 requires 12 courses.

Students are expected to consult with the JPNS undergraduate advisor before submitting an online major declaration, especially if they place into JPNS 151 or higher when they begin their program of study.

FOUNDATION COURSES (fulfill upper-level writing requirement)

CLTR 200 Topics in Critical Thinking
CLTR 389 MLC Research Seminar

CORE COURSES

Six consecutive courses in Japanese language from the following list: JPNS 101, 102, 151, 152, 201, 202, 205 and 206.

ELECTIVE COURSES 

A minimum of four additional courses in Japanese language or culture, two of which must be 4.0 credit upper-level (200 level) JPNS courses in Japanese culture. One pair of 2.0-credit courses (e.g., Conversational Japanese, Calligraphy) can be substituted for one culture course requirement for the major only. 2.0-credit courses include JPNS 114, 115, 203, 204, 229, 230, 231.

Education Abroad Note: Students completing a major in Japanese can apply up to two courses per semester completed during education abroad in Japan. Education abroad courses must be pre-approved in consultation with an advisor from the Japanese Program. 

Transferring Credits for the Japanese Major: Transfer students can apply up to two courses from their previous institutions towards the MLC Japanese major, provided they pass the MLC Japanese Program placement test. Transfer students should check with the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS) to inquire whether other courses completed at previous institutions that cannot be counted toward the Japanese major can be transferred for general degree credit instead.  

2. Class of 2025 and beyond

The Japanese major for students in the Class of 2025 and later requires 10 courses beyond JPNS 101-102.

Students are expected to consult with the JPNS undergraduate advisor before submitting an online major declaration, especially if they place into JPNS 201 or higher when they begin their program of study.

Requirements for Foundation and Elective courses, Education Abroad in Japan and Transfer Courses remain as stated above.

CORE COURSES

Four consecutive courses in Japanese language from the following list: JPNS 151, 152, 201, 202, 205 and 206.

Complete list of Japanese courses >

Top ↑


Japanese Minor Requirements

A Kyoto sweet potato vendor at Toji Temple Flea Market.

  • A total of five courses in Japanese language and culture—to be selected in consultation with the Japanese advisor—are required to complete a Japanese minor. Students wishing to minor in Japanese must complete: 
    • A minimum of three consecutive 6.0- and/or 4.0-credit courses in Japanese language; and
    • Two additional 6.0- or 4.0-credit courses in Japanese language or culture.
  • Students may combine two 2.0-credit courses to replace one 4.0-credit culture course. Two 2.0-credit courses cannot replace one 6.0- or 4.0-credit in-sequence language course.
  • Students may elect to earn the Japanese minor in one of the following ways:
    • Three language courses + two culture courses;
    • Four language courses + one culture course;
    • Four language courses + two 2.0-credit courses;
    • Five language courses; or
    • Three language courses + one culture course + two 2.0-credit courses.
  • Education Abroad Note: Students completing a minor in Japanese can apply up to one course completed per semester abroad in Japan when these courses are chosen (and pre-approved) in consultation with an advisor from MLC's Japanese Program.
  • Transferring Credits for the Japanese Minor: Transfer students can apply one course from their previous institutions towards the MLC Japanese minor, provided they pass the MLC Japanese Program placement test. Transfer students should check with the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS) to inquire whether other courses completed elsewhere that cannot be counted toward the Japanese minor can be transferred for general degree instead.

Top ↑

Japanese Clusters

okyo Godzilla figure atop the Toho Cinema.

The department offers six Japanese clusters, all in the humanities academic division.

Japanese Language (H1JPNS008)
Students may choose the appropriate level of Japanese language as a cluster. Any three consecutive courses in the language sequence below can be chosen.

Japanese Language and Culture (H1JPNS005)
This cluster introduces students to basic language skills (reading, writing, speaking, listening) as well as the cultural context for Japanese. One language course is supplemented by two related courses in English which will open up the study of this linguistic-cultural area by looking at the evolution of Japan's civilization, the dynamics of contemporary life, or in some other way add depth to the study of this area.

Japanese Popular Culture (H1JPNS010)
Explore the domestic and international dimensions of Japan's acclaimed manga, anime, film, art, literature, music, etc.

Top ↑


Studying Abroad in Japan

Kyoto Fushimilnari Tori Gateway.

Students are encouraged to study abroad in Japan, if possible. The Center for Education Abroad has programs in major Japanese cities, including Tokyo and Nagoya. Generally speaking, coursework undertaken abroad will count toward a major or minor in Japanese. For more information on studying abroad in Japan, visit the education abroad site or speak to an education abroad advisor.

Top ↑


Language Placement Information

(1) JPNS 101

If you are taking JPNS 101, you do not have to take the placement test.

Special Note for First Year students:

If you see on UR Student that JPNS 101 is “closed”, meaning that the course has reached its capacity, contact the instructor by Email.  There may still be some space left for first year students. 

When you are signing up for JPNS 101, keep in mind the following:

  • You need to sign up for both Main Lecture and Recitation. There are three different sections of Main Lectures that you can choose from, and each Main Lecture class is tied to particular Recitation classes as indicated below. You must choose a Recitation class that is tied to the Main Lecture class that you sign up for.  You cannot choose a Recitation that belongs to a different Main Lecture class. See the table below.
  •  When you attempt to sign up for a Main Lecture of JPNS101 through UR Student, you may get a message saying, “You are not eligible to take this course.” All you have to do is to ask for “Instructor Override” through the same system.
The table shows which recitations to choose for each lecture.
Main LectureRecitation: choose one of the two options
JPNS 101-1JPNS 101-2 or JPNS 101-3
JPNS 101-4JPNS 101-5 or JPNS 101-6
JPNS 101-7JPNS 101-8 or JPNS 101-9

(2) Other Japanese-Language Courses

If you are hoping to take a course higher than JPNS 101, you need to take the online placement test through Blackboard. In order to take the test, do the following:

NOTE: The Japanese major for students up to and including the Class of 2024 requires a total of 12 courses. The Japanese major for students in the Class of 2025 and later requires a total of 10 courses beyond JPNS 101-102. A total of 5 courses in Japanese language and culture—to be selected in consultation with the Japanese advisor—are required to complete a Japanese minor. Transfer students can apply up to 2 courses from their previous institutions towards the MLC Japanese major or 1 course towards the MLC Japanese minor, provided they pass the MLC Japanese Program placement test. Transfer students should check with the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS) to inquire whether other courses completed at previous institutions that cannot be counted toward the Japanese major or minor can be transferred for general degree credit instead. 

Top ↑


Contact Information

Kyoto Ice Cream Parlor Kowaramachi Sanjo.

When contacting the appropriate Japanese program undergraduate advisors below, whether by email or during office hours, please include as much detailed information as possible: e.g., your year, the complete course name(s) and number(s) you are inquiring about, and whether you are already registered as a Japanese major or minor or are inquiring about requirements. This will ensure that your advisor can help you in the most efficient manner possible.

Faculty

Joanne Bernardi, Professor of Japanese and Film and Media Studies, and Head of the Japanese Program

William H. Bridges IV, Associate Professor of Japanese, Undergraduate Japanese Advisor

Shizuka Hardy, Associate Professor of Instruction in Japanese

Jesse LeFebvre, Assistant Professor of Japanese

Keiko Nishioka, Adjunct Instructor in Japanese

Yuki Taguchi, Assistant Professor in Japanese

Mariko Tamate, Professor of Instruction in Japanese, Language Coordinator for Japanese

Top ↑