Japan is an economic powerhouse, a world leader in technology, and an important player on the global stage. Its varied cultural landscape, from Manga cartoons to Zen Buddhism, continues to fascinate.
We teach the Japanese language in relation to Japanese culture and society. Using a wide range of learning materials, our teaching is very intensive and diverse throughout the degree. All our modules provide opportunities to use Japanese as a real means of communication in both an oral-aural and written context.
In your first year, you'll be placed at either Basic Japanese or Intermediate Japanese level, depending on your Japanese language skills and previous learning experience.
- Basic Japanese: here you'll learn most of the elementary grammar and vocabulary, as well as approximately 500 Kanji (Chinese characters), which are necessary to live and study in Japan in the following year. To reinforce what you learn in the grammar lessons, the six-hour-a-week "Practicals" teach you how to apply those grammar points to real communication, through various tasks, role plays and games. In addition, you will also learn how to use IT skills in Japanese, including Japanese word processing and web searches.
- Intermediate Japanese: in addition to thorough revision of elementary grammar, you'll learn more advanced grammar and vocabulary by reading a wide range of materials on various topics (including fairy tales, Japanese culture, letters and news), in addition to an intermediate textbook. You'll also practise giving short speeches and engaging in peer-learning activities with Japanese students, as well as learning IT skills in Japanese.
In your second year, you'll study at one of our partner universities across Japan, see below for details.
Having returned from Japan, in your third year, you'll continue to study more advanced Japanese. In addition to a pre-advanced textbook, you'll read newspapers, magazine articles and websites, among various other authentic texts. In aural classes, using the state-of-the-art language laboratory in the Language Centre, you'll listen to audio CDs and watch various genres of DVD. Based on these reading and listening materials, you'll take part in discussions and write essays on various social and cultural issues. You'll also learn how to deliver various types of speeches effectively.
Your final year will consolidate your language skills at the highest level. Various sources of authentic texts and AV materials are used for reading, writing and discussions, to develop your in-depth understanding of contemporary Japan. You'll also learn how to create academic presentations on themes of specialist interest to you.
Throughout your four years, not only will you receive individual help and feedback from your teachers, but you'll also have access to various online materials to support your independent study.
You'll spend your second year studying at one of our 15 exchange universities across Japan, including some universities in Tokyo and Kyoto, and others in smaller cities or more suburban areas.
You'll attend intensive language courses to develop your written and spoken communication skills. Most of our exchange universities offer various levels of language courses, as well as Japan or Asia-related subjects, such as history, politics, economy/business and literature, available in both Japanese and English. In addition to the lectures, some universities also provide practical cultural classes such as calligraphy, flower arranging and tea ceremony. Some universities offer you home-stay options, while others arrange various field trips to learn Japanese culture and history.
By the end of your year in Japan, you'll be able to comprehend some Japanese newspapers and TV programmes, to communicate with native speakers of Japanese with confidence, and to develop in-depth understanding of Japanese culture and society.