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Japanese Studies

Program(s) Offered: Major

Interest in Japan is higher than ever – not just here in Oregon on the Pacific Rim, but worldwide (speakjapan.org). It’s a time of dynamic, dramatic change in Asia, spawned primarily by globalization and economic growth.

Why choose Willamette for Japanese studies?

Students come to Willamette for the rich, interdisciplinary learning environment that provides the broad knowledge and skills needed to excel in today’s fast-changing world. Students in our Japanese studies program can take courses in language, modern culture, history, literature, film, as well as art history and religion. They can earn a major in Japanese studies, and a minor in Japanese language.

Our Japanese studies program includes four years of Japanese language. Many students study abroad at our sister university, Tokyo International University, in Kawagoe, Japan. Others take advantage of the language and cultural exchange opportunities with Japanese students at Tokyo International University of America, co-located on the Willamette campus.

Faculty with expertise in history, language, literature, modern culture and film lead small classes. Our students write senior theses on Japan and present them at the Japanese Studies Senior Summit. They also receive opportunities to conduct independent research and collaborate on faculty research projects.

Our active Japanese community enhances its learning environment by organizing numerous social activities, including festivals, movies, game nights and language tables. 

A degree that can take you far

At Willamette, our students gain the tools needed to succeed in an increasingly complex and diverse world. Opportunities exist in many different career fields, including international business, foreign service, tourism, teaching and law. Many of our students go on to graduate school, and others move to Japan to teach English (e.g., JET program in Japan) and gain an enriched understanding of the culture.

Key features

  • Small classes and extensive curriculum including Japanese language, history, literature, film, modern culture and other subjects
  • Student research experiences, such as senior projects, internally and externally funded research programs, and collaborations with faculty members
  • Exchange programs with Tokyo International University in Japan
  • Language and cultural exchange experiences with Japanese students at Tokyo International University of America on the Willamette campus.
  • Campus cultural programs, including language tables, native-speaker study partners, films, games, and several student organizations, such as Taiko club, Japan Studies Student Leader club and Shodou club.