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 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

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 culture units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level language 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 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 take one interdisciplinary culture 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.

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, 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 Advanced Studies, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major, prior to commencing honours.

An honours year is comprised of 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 2019.

Contact/further information

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

Chair of department:

UG coordinator:

Example pathways

The beginners pathway will follow a 2-3-3 model = 2 language units at level 1000; 2 language units at 2000 level + 1 culture unit at 2000 level; 2 language units at 3000 level (or 2 x 3000 culture units) + FASS3999 Interdisciplinary Project unit

Year 1: JPNS 1611 + JPNS 1612
Year 2: JPNS 2611 + JPNS 2612 + 1 culture unit at level 2000
Year 3: JPNS2621 + JPNS2622 (or 2 x 3000 culture units) + FASS3999 Interdisciplinary Project unit

The junior intermediate pathway will follow a 0-4-4 model = 4 language units at 2000 level
2 language units at 3000 level + 1 culture unit at 3000 level + FASS3999 Interdisciplinary Project unit

Year 1: JPNS 2611 + JPNS 2612
Year 2: JPNS 2621 + JPNS 2622 + 1 culture unit at level 3000
Year 3: JPNS 3621 + JPNS 3622 + FASS3999 Interdisciplinary Project unit

The senior intermediate pathway will follow a 0-2-6 model = 0 units at level 1000; 2 language units at 2000 Level; 4 language units at 3000 level + 1 culture unit at 3000 Level + FASS3999 Interdisciplinary Project unit
Year 1: JPNS 2621 + JPNS 2622
Year 2: JPNS 3621 + JPNS 3622 + 1 culture unit at level 3000
Year 3: JPNS 3631 + JPNS 3632 + FASS3999 Interdisciplinary Project unit

The advanced pathway will follow a 0-0-8 model = 0 units at 1000 level; 0 units at 2000 level; 4 language units at 3000 level + 3 culture units at 3000 level + FASS3999 Interdisciplinary Project unit

Year 1: JPNS 3621 + JPNS 3622
Year 2: JPNS 3631 + JPNS 3632 + 1 culture unit at level 3000
Year 3: 2 culture units at level 3000 + FASS3999 Interdisciplinary Project unit



Learning outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an ability to communicate in the Japanese language, orally and by writing, in a wide range of contexts. Their level will depend on the entry point of the major:
    Japanese 1 - Beginners: The intermediate level achieved at the end of Japanese 6 will allow the students to hold without difficulty the simple conversations of every day life, They will be able to write and read simple texts – mostly with the help of a dictionary.
    Japanese 3 – advanced beginners: The intermediate-advanced level achieved at the end of Japanese 8 will allow the students to hold without much difficulty conversations on a variety of cultural and social issues and to express their opinions on relatively complex issues. They will be able to write and read, often with the help of dictionaries, difficult texts with complex syntax structures.
    Japanese 5 – intermediate: The advanced level achieved at the end of Japanese 10 will allow the students to express themselves fluently on complex issues, to read a wide variety of written styles – from newspapers articles to literary works, blogs, or Japanese Studies 2 academic writing – to follow most forms of oral speech and to write essays on complex issues.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of and ability to analyse a variety of practices of Japanese culture and society.
  3. Demonstrate communication and digital literacy skills.
  4. Demonstrate cultural competence and the skills to function effectively in a range of collaborative settings.
  5. Effectively apply knowledge and skills from Japanese Studies to issues encountered in an interdisciplinary context.