Skip to main content

Undergraduate Program


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

The Japanese major has a total of 12 required courses:

FOUNDATION COURSES (fulfill upper level writing):

CLT 200 Topics in Critical Thinking
CLT 389 MLC Research Seminar


Six consecutive courses in Japanese language. Japanese 101, 102, 151, 152, 201, 202, 205 and 206.

ELECTIVE COURSES (all electives 207 or higher; one pair of 2 credit courses can count for one culture course, 114, 115, 203, 204, 229, 230, and 231):

An additional four courses, two of which must be content courses on Japanese culture (literature, film, art, etc.). Two 2.0-credit courses (e.g., Conversational Japanese, Calligraphy) can be substituted for one culture course requirement for the major only.

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

Complete list of Japanese courses >

Top ↑

Japanese Minor Requirements 

  • 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.
Top ↑

Japanese Clusters

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

Japanese Language (H1JPN008)
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 (H1JPN005)
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 (H1JPN010)
Explore the domestic and international dimensions of Japan's acclaimed manga, anime, film, art, literature, music, etc.

Top ↑

Studying Abroad in Japan

Students are encouraged to study abroad in Japan, if possible. The Center for Study 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 study abroad site or speak to a study abroad advisor.

Top ↑

Language Placement Information

Advanced Placement (AP) scores or International Baccalaureate (IB) rankings assist departmental advisors in finding the right course level for you. Information on how you learned the language or languages you know will also help us advise you on the most appropriate courses for you.

All first year students who wish to sign up for any Japanese class should attend the MLC Open House, where those who are interested in taking JPN 101 will receive the permission code from Fumino Shino, Shizuka Hardy, or Yuki Taguchi, depending on which JPN 101 class you are signing up for. 

Those students who are hoping to place out of JPN 101 should take the placement test, which will be administered by Professor Mariko Tamate on Friday, August 24, 2018, from 9:30 am to 1 pm in Lattimore 413. The test takes approximately one hour, so please do not arrive later than 12 pm. For more information, please email Mariko Tamate at

Here is a list of the materials students need to place into each level: 

  • JPN 101: Elementary I (Fall only) - No Test Required 
  • JPN 102: Elementary II (Spring only) - "Genki I" by Eri Banno, Lessons 1-6 
  • JPN 151: Intermediate I (Fall only) - "Genki I" Lessons 1-12
  • JPN 152: Intermediate II (Spring only) - "Genki I" Lessons 1-12, "Genki II" Lessons 13-17
  • JPN 201: Advanced-Intermediate I (Fall only) - "Genki I Lessons 1-12, "Genki II" Lessons 13-23
  • JPN 202: Advanced-Intermediate II (Spring only) / JPN 205: Advanced I (Fall only) / JPN 206: Advanced II (Spring only) - Aside from your knowledge in basic grammar, your skills in translating multiple-clause sentences from Japanese to English and from English to Japanese will be tested. You may use your dictionaries that are not connected to the internet. 

Top ↑

Contact Information


Joanne Bernardi, Professor of Japanese and Film and Media Studies, and Head for the Japanese Program, UG Advisor (last name N-Z)

William H. Bridges IV, Assistant Professor of Japanese, UG Advisor (last name A-M)

Shizuka Hardy, Assistant Professor of Instruction in Japanese

David Holloway, Assistant Professor of Japanese

Keiko Nishioka, Adjunct Instructor in Japanese

Fumino Shino, Senior Lecturer in Japanese

Yuki Taguchi, Adjunct Instructor in Japanese

Mariko Tamate, Professor of Instruction in Japanese

Top ↑