Japanese Studies

Japanese Studies Major

The Japanese Studies major is an interdisciplinary major combining language study with cultural studies. Students majoring in Japanese Studies are required to take courses in Japanese language at all levels and courses on the history, literature, art history, cinema, religion and culture of Japan. Majors students are strongly recommended to study abroad in Japan for one or two semesters through the Japan Study Program (JSP) at our sister university, Tokyo International University, Kawagoe, Japan. The majors are also encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities for language and cultural exchange offered by Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) on our campus.

The Japanese Studies major is structured to include: (1) the study of Japanese language through the fourth year (sixteen semester hours); (2) an elective concentration consisting of courses on literature, history, religion, art history and culture of Japan and/or Asia (sixteen semester hours); and (3) a Senior Year Experience (four semester hours) involving a writing project which will integrate and consolidate knowledge and understanding of Japan which the student has gained through the program's course of studies. Credits from studying abroad in Japan will be transferred upon faculty approval.

A variety of career opportunities are available to students who graduate with a strong grounding in the study of Japanese. These include the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) program in Japan as well as graduate study, foreign service, international business, and international non-profit organizations in the US and Japan.

Requirements for the Japanese Studies Major (36 semester hours)

Core course (4 semester hours)

Japanese Language: Sixteen semester hours from the following or from equivalent study abroad (16)

  • JAPN 331 Third Year Japanese (4)
  • JAPN 332 Third Year Japanese II (4)
  • JAPN 430 Japanese Reading and Composition I (4)
  • JAPN 431 Japanese Reading and Composition II (4)
  • JAPN 432 Conversational Japanese I (4)
  • JAPN 434 Conversational Japanese II (4)
  • JAPN 490 Reading and Conference (2 or 4)
  • JAPN 491 Reading and Conference (2 or 4)

Japanese Culture: Sixteen semester hours from the following or from study abroad courses. One of which must be at the 300- or 400-level (16)

  • JAPN 199 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)
  • JAPN 201W Modern Japanese Society and Culture (4)
  • JAPN 299 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)
  • JAPN 314W Japanese Literature in Translation (4)
  • JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema (4)
  • JAPN 399 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)
  • JAPN 429 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)
  • ARTH 114 Introduction to Japanese Art History (4)
  • HIST 131W Culture, Power, Society (topic dependent) (4)
  • HIST 281 History of Modern Japan (4)
  • IDS 334 Field Studies: Environmental Studies and Sustainability in Japan (4)
  • JAPN 199 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)
  • JAPN 201W Modern Japanese Society & Culture (4)
  • JAPN 299 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)
  • RHET 271 Telling the Internment Story (4)

Four of the 16 semester hours can be fulfilled by the following:

  • ANTH 356 Language and Culture (4)
  • ASIA 201 Gateway to East Asia (4)
  • ASIA 210 Making and Playing of Traditional Musical Instruments (4)
  • ASIA 199, 299, 399, 429 Topics in Asian Studies (4)
  • CCM 258 Gender & Mass Communication in Asia (4)
  • CCM 288 Introducing Asia to the World (4)
  • CCM 301 Asian Visual and Creative Culture (4)
  • CCM 310 Asian Social Media in a Global Context: Critique and Design (4)
  • HIST 118 East Asian Civilization Since 1800 (4)
  • HIST 331 Asian Environmental History (4)
  • PHIL 370W Philosophy of Language (4)
  • REL 135 Religions of Asia (4)

Requirements for the Japanese Minor (20 semester hours)

Five courses from the following (20 semester hours)

  • JAPN 232 Intermediate Japanese II (4)
  • JAPN 331 Third Year Japanese I (4)
  • JAPN 332 Third Year Japanese II (4)
  • JAPN 430 Japanese Reading and Composition I (4)
  • JAPN 431 Japanese Reading and Composition II (4)
  • JAPN 432 Conversational Japanese I (4)
  • JAPN 434 Conversational Japanese II (4)
  • JAPN 490 Reading and Conference (2 or 4)
  • JAPN 491 Reading and Conference (2 or 4)

Indicators of Achievement

We have identified three Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) that we expect our major students gain during their course of study in Japanese Study at Willamette University.

Student Learning Outcomes for the Japanese Studies Major

  1. Obtain Advanced level of language proficiency defined by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
  2. Gain a broad knowledge of the cultures of Japan through interdisciplinary approaches
  3. Demonstrate their interdisciplinary understanding of Japan by completing a project in the Senior Seminar

Course Listings

JAPN 131 Elementary Japanese I (4)

The goal of this course is the development of fundamental communication skills in real-life settings. All four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and culture will be emphasized. Class will be conducted based on explanations of language structures and various activities. Approximately 30 kanji in addition to hiragana and katakana will be introduced..

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Johnson

JAPN 132 Elementary Japanese II (4)

The goal of this course is the development of fundamental communication skills in real-life settings. All four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and culture will be emphasized. Class will be conducted based on explanations of language structures and various activities. Approximately 70 new kanji will be introduced.

  • Prerequisite: JAPN 131 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Johnson

JAPN 199 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Japanese Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

JAPN 201W Modern Japanese Society and Culture (4)

An introduction to modern Japan through its social institutions, beliefs and cultural practices. Representative topics include: marriage and family life, child-rearing, education, religion, the role of women, attitude toward work and leisure, organization of the workplace, and social issues such as environmental and sustainability issues. Writing-centered. Conducted in English.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences; World Engagement: CV
  • Offering: Alternate years in fall
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 231 Intermediate Japanese I (4)

The goal of this course is the development of communication skills in a large range of everyday conversations. All four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and culture will be emphasized in this course. Class will be conducted based on explanations of language structures and various activities. Approximately 80 new kanji will be introduced.

  • Prerequisite: JAPN 132 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Johnson

JAPN 232 Intermediate Japanese II (4)

The goal of this course is the development of communication skills in a large range of everyday conversations. All four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) and culture will be emphasized in this course. Class will be conducted based on explanations of language structures and various activities. Approximately 80 new kanji will be introduced.

  • Prerequisite: JAPN 231 or consent of instructor
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Johnson

JAPN 299 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Japanese Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

JAPN 314W Japanese Literature in Translation (4)

The course examines selected works in novels, essays, drama and poetry from the classical and modern periods. Emphasis will be on 19th- and 20th-century novels, novellas and short stories. The works are viewed in their historical context so that the unique aspects of Japanese literature can be appreciated.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Arts & Humanities; World Engagement: CV
  • Offering: Alternate years in fall
  • Instructor: Staff

JAPN 331 Third Year Japanese I (4)

Third Year Japanese I begins with a comprehensive pattern review with an emphasis on speaking. Chinese characters are learned, approximately 20 per week, and students are tested regularly. In Third Year Japanese II, more attention will be given to reading. Students will be expected to read materials in Japanese and discuss them in class in Japanese. Students should be able to read and recognize approximately 900 Chinese characters by the end of the year.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 332 Third Year Japanese II (4)

Third Year Japanese I begins with a comprehensive pattern review with an emphasis on speaking. Chinese characters are learned, approximately 20 per week, and students are tested regularly. In Third Year Japanese II, more attention will be given to reading. Students will be expected to read materials in Japanese and discuss them in class in Japanese. Students should be able to read and recognize approximately 900 Chinese characters by the end of the year.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema (4)

A survey of major Japanese films and film directors from the "golden age" of Japanese cinema in the 1950s - 1960s to the present. Emphasis will be on the style and feel of Japanese films, and how stylistic elements embody and reflect traditional aesthetics, the social and political contexts of the films and aspects of their production and consumption will be examined as well. Conducted in English.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities; World Engagement: CV
  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Staff

JAPN 380 Practicum in Japanese Language Facilitation (1-2)

Open to native speakers or advanced students of Japanese. Native/advanced speakers will attend some class sessions and work under the supervision of a faculty member, assisting students enrolled in Japanese language classes. Native/advanced speakers will keep a journal of their observations and their application of pedagogical principles as they assist students in developing their language skills. A weekly session with the instructor will be an integral part of this course. Credit/NC only.

  • Course is offered as Credit/No Credit
  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Prerequisite: Consent of instructor
  • Offering: Fall semester
  • Instructor: Johnson

JAPN 399 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Japanese Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

JAPN 429 Topics in Japanese Studies (1-4)

A semester-long study of topics in Japanese Studies. Topics and emphases will vary according to the instructor. This course may be repeated for credit with different topics. See the New and Topics Courses page on the Registrar’s webpage for descriptions and applicability to majors/minors in other departments.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Topic dependent
  • Prerequisite: Topic dependent
  • Offering: Occasionally
  • Professor: Staff

JAPN 430 Japanese Reading and Composition I (4)

Emphasis on vocabulary, reading, writing and kanji expansion. Grammar will be reviewed through various short formal and informal writing assignments and readings will be selected from a variety of materials including authentic texts.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Prerequisite: JAPN 332
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 431 Japanese Reading and Composition II (4)

Emphasis on vocabulary, reading, writing and kanji expansion. Grammar will be reviewed through various short formal and informal writing assignments and readings will be selected from a variety of materials including authentic texts.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Prerequisite: JAPN 430
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 432 Conversational Japanese I (4)

Emphasis on development of practical conversational proficiency in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way in both formal and informal styles. Intensive training in oral expression and listening comprehension exercises, including authentic listening materials and vocabulary enlargement.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Prerequisite: JAPN 332
  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 434 Conversational Japanese II (4)

Emphasis on development of practical conversational proficiency in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way in both formal and informal styles. Intensive training in oral expression and listening comprehension exercises, including authentic listening materials and vocabulary enlargement.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Prerequisite: JAPN 432
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 490 and 491 Reading and Conference (2 or 4 each)

Designed to enable students who have a sound grasp of Japanese grammar to develop reading skills and to extend their knowledge of Chinese characters. Students must have completed two years of college Japanese and/or studied Japanese in Japan.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Arts & Humanities
  • Prerequisite: Consent of instructor
  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 499W Senior Seminar (4)

[Crosslisted with CHNSE 499W]

Provides a framework for students to develop a research project or other equivalent activity in consultation with faculty. The objective of the Senior Year Experience will be to consolidate and integrate the student's knowledge of Japan and/or China and the fields of Japanese Studies and/or Chinese Studies. Conducted in English.

  • General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing-centered; Arts & Humanities
  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

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