There are so many reasons to study Japanese. First - it's not as hard as you think! It's true that Japanese has a much different system of writing than English or other European languages. However, did you know that new speakers can get by simply by learning 5 vowels, 39 consonant and vowel combinations, and 2 additions? These total the Japanese language's 46 'hiragana' or 'katakana' characters representing Japanese sounds. And in terms of grammar, Japanese nouns have no genders, plural forms, or articles to learn.

Perhaps most importantly, knowing Japanese will set you apart - personally and professionally. From anime to sushi, Japanese cultural exports are exploding in popularity. Knowledge of the Japanese language can give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture. What's more, knowing Japanese can bring enhanced business opportunities. Being able to communicate with potential customers in their own language is a key to business, particularly in today's globalized economy.

Finally, Japanese can be a gateway to other Asian language and cultures. Studying Japanese can broaden your perspective on values and cultural traditions that are influential across Asia, such as certain religious beliefs and ethics. And it is a wonderful stepping stone to learning other Asian languages.

Program Options

The Department of International Languages is pleased to offer a Certificate in Japanese Language and Culture, which is designed to allow students to develop basic language proficiency and a breadth of knowledge about Japanese culture. The certificate includes four Japanese language classes, ENGL 100, plus electives. It can be completed in about two years of part-time study.

For more information on program requirements, please see the Japanese program section of the Undergraduate Calendar.

Tomoko Lamb

Sessional Instructors
Yuki Kishimoto