Japanese Studies

About the major

Preparing students to be active participants in a multicultural world, the Department of Japanese Studies offers training in the Japanese language, as well as in the Japanese culture. If you just want to learn for a semester or two, you can take units of study as electives in your bachelor degree. For those who want a more comprehensive program, a major or minor is available. A major in Japanese Studies is made up of senior units in Japanese language and culture units of study. Culture units use Japanese materials to present various aspects of ancient to contemporary Japan ranging across disciplines from history and literature to popular culture.

A system of prerequisites ensures that units of study are taken in order, from easier units to the more difficult, across ten levels of language. The sequence will end at different levels depending on the entry point. Even if you have no previous knowledge of the language – ending your major at the sixth level of Japanese – you will gain basic literacy in Japanese and the ability to express yourself in everyday situations. If you finish your major at the highest level, you will be quite fluent.

Requirements for completion in the Beginners Pathway only (see below for sample Intermediate and Advanced Pathways)

A major in Japanese Studies requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level language units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level language units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level culture units
(iv) 12 credit points of 3000-level language units
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project units

A minor in Japanese Studies requires 36 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level language units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level language units
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level language or culture units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level language or culture units

First year

In their first year, students will focus on acquiring basic language skills, or, if they have previous knowledge of the language, on improving their existing language skills. Students will enter the language program at the level appropriate for them: beginner, junior intermediate, senior intermediate, or advanced.

Second year

In their second year, alongside continuing their language learning, students taking the major will study about Japanese culture, taking one language-based culture unit that will allow them to expand their language competence and apply it to the study of different aspects of Japanese culture. Students will take culture units of study appropriate to their language level, at 2000 or 3000-level.

Third year

In their third year, students will progress to the most advanced language level of their pathway, and those taking the major will take one interdisciplinary project unit that will allow them to put their disciplinary learning into a broader context. Students who have started their major at an advanced level and completed their language study in their second year will take two culture units at 3000-level in their third year, in addition to the interdisciplinary project unit.

Honours

If you commenced your degree prior to 2018, admission to honours requires a major in Japanese Studies with an average of 70% or above, including ASNS3690 Approaches to Research in Asian Studies. You may include one 6-credit-point Japan-related Asian Studies unit of study.

If you commenced your degree in 2018 or later, admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Japanese Studies with an average of 70% or above, including ASNS3690 Approaches to Research in Asian Studies. You may include one 6-credit-point Japan-related Asian Studies unit of study. You will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major, prior to commencing honours.

An honours year comprises 40% coursework and 60% thesis. Coursework consists of two Asian Studies honours seminar units of study. The thesis is an 18,000-20,000 word original piece of research and writing using English and Japanese language sources appropriate to the student's level of Japanese language proficiency.

Intending honours students must consult the department during Honours Orientation Week.

Advanced Coursework

The requirements for advanced coursework in Japanese Studies are described in the degree resolutions for the Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Advanced Studies.

24 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Contact and further information

Department website: sydney.edu.au/arts/japanese

Chair of department:

UG coordinator:

Example pathways

The beginners pathway
2 language units at 1000 level; 4 language units at 2000 level + 1 culture unit at 2000 level; + 1 Interdisciplinary Project unit at 3000 level

Year 1: JPNS 1611 + JPNS 1612
Year 2: JPNS 2611 + JPNS 2612 + 1 culture unit at 2000 level
Year 3: JPNS2621 + JPNS2622 + 1 Interdisciplinary Project unit at 3000 level

The junior intermediate pathway
0 units at 1000 level; 4 language units at 2000 level; 2 language units at 3000 level + 1 culture unit at 3000 level + 1 Interdisciplinary Project unit at 3000 level

Year 1: JPNS 2611 + JPNS 2612
Year 2: JPNS 2621 + JPNS 2622 + 1 culture unit at 3000 level
Year 3: JPNS 3621 + JPNS 3622 + 1 Interdisciplinary Project unit at 3000 level

The senior intermediate pathway
0 units at 1000 level; 2 language units at 2000 level; 4 language units at 3000 level + 1 culture unit at 3000 level + 1 Interdisciplinary Project unit at 3000 level
Year 1: JPNS 2621 + JPNS 2622
Year 2: JPNS 3621 + JPNS 3622 + 1 culture unit at 3000 level
Year 3: JPNS 3631 + JPNS 3632 + 1 Interdisciplinary Project unit at 3000 level

The advanced pathway
0 units at 1000 level; 0 units at 2000 level; 4 language units at 3000 level + 3 culture units at 3000 level + 1 Interdisciplinary Project unit at 3000 level

Year 1: JPNS 3621 + JPNS 3622
Year 2: JPNS 3631 + JPNS 3632 + 1 culture unit at 3000 level
Year 3: 2 culture units at 3000 level + 1 Interdisciplinary Project unit at 3000 level