Study Abroad (Semester and Academic Year) Curriculum Summary

Terms and Syllabi

Each term (Spring and Fall) is 16 weeks long, with 15 weeks of class and a one-week examination period.

Japanese Language Core Classes

All JASIN students enroll in one of eight graded levels of Japanese language courses, from beginning to advanced. The Japanese classes are comprehensive language classes including work on conversation, grammar, reading and writing. Each class is 4 credits and meets for 90 minutes, four days each week. Initial placement will be according to a proficiency test given during Orientation, but students will also have the opportunity to audit different class levels and request to change classes if desired.

All the classes contain a hefty practical component to allow students to get the most out of their experience of living in the native language environment. The Japanese 1 course is especially tailored to meet the immediate needs of students arriving in Japan with little or no Japanese knowledge, while higher level classes group students by common ability level and aim to refine and improve overall proficiency.

Japanese Language Elective Courses

In addition to the 4-credit Japanese language core courses, the JASIN program now offers additional Japanese language elective courses designed especially for study abroad students. Each course meets once a week for 90 minutes and counts for 1 credit.

Kanji and Vocabulary
Offered at four levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced, and upper advanced), this new course supplements the core Japanese language program by giving students an opportunity for intensive kanji and vocabulary study. This course is highly recommended for beginning students who wish to pick up Japanese at a faster pace, intermediate students who want a greater challenge in their studies, and advanced students who are thinking about careers or future study in Japan.

Japanese Grammar (Japanese Language Proficiency Test Seminar)
The JASIN program also offers three levels of specialized Japanese Language Placement Test preparation courses with a focus on Japanese grammar. This course moves at a fast pace and requires dedicated study but is popular among intermediate and advanced students who are self-motivated and have defined goals in their studies. In addition, this course is also available to audit (without course credit) for all students who wish to improve their grammar and reading comprehension skills.

Business Japanese
Designed specifically for intermediate and advanced students who are considering careers in Japan, this course covers the fundamental language skills that are necessary for success in a Japanese-language work environment, from business manners and polite speaking form to business vocabulary and formal e-mail writing. Students will be challenged in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, and listening with the goal of improving their comprehensive understanding of Japanese while preparing for the challenges and opportunities of working in Japan.

Japan Studies Courses

A number of courses are offered especially tailored for visiting foreign students. These courses are conducted in English, with parallel courses also available in simplified Japanese for students with an intermediate or higher level of Japanese language ability. The Japan Studies Core Classes are 2 credits each and meet once a week for 90 minutes.

Japanese History
Over the course of the semester, students will study in detail a specific era of Japanese history using primary sources and other materials to develop a cross-cultural and comparative understanding of Japanese politics and history.

Prior fall semester courses have included study of the Kamakura period, and prior spring semester classes have concentrated on ancient Japan, particularly the Nara and Heian periods.

Japanese Culture
Students will be introduced to key concepts in Japanese culture, defined in terms of customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits. The course will feature some or all of the following: reading and discussing translated source-texts, viewing related films and videos, and making presentations that take a critical look at the main trends and ideas of traditional Japan.

Prior fall semester courses have provided an introduction to festivals, ceremonies, and the cultural concepts of honne /tatemae and aimai, and prior spring semester courses have focused on the influence of Shinto, Buddhism, and other religions on Japanese literature, music, and performing arts.

Japanese Business
The objectives of this course are to explore the foundations of Japanese business and to build a historical understanding of the Japanese economy leading up to its current state. The course will place an emphasis on Japanese management systems, particularly as they transition and expand/contract during this period of globalization.

Prior fall semester courses have featured study of international finance and industrial policy, and prior spring semester courses have included discussion of Japanese foreign trade policies and international economic cooperation.

Japanese Management
This course will cover key characteristics of the Japanese economy and evaluate the role of Japan in the global marketplace. Students will examine key economic relationships inside and outside of Japan and develop a better understanding of Japanese management systems.

Prior fall semester courses have focused on Japanese business culture and corporate strategies, and previous spring semester courses have focused on theories of international trade, global marketing, and global human resource management.

Japanese Literature
Students will examine the differences between Western and Japanese literature by reading a variety of representative texts and participating in class discussions. Students will also prepare presentations and/or reports to analyze literary works that are presented in class or that fit within the scope of the course.

Prior fall semester courses have included study of traditional literature through No and Kabuki drama, and prior spring semester courses have examined the works of Haruki Murakami, Yasunari Kawabata, and other contemporary authors.

Japanese Society
This course aims to develop students’ basic understanding of social institutions of Japan and major characteristics of Japanese society, referencing such topics as identity, gender, family, class, status, social organization, work, education, minorities, and current politics. In addition, students will have an opportunity to research and discuss aspects of post-modern Japanese society.

Prior courses have included study of Japanese leisure, cinema, anime, youth culture, new religions, and other aspects involving Japanese culture, society, and politics.

Seminar in Japan Studies
A wide range of topics are covered under the umbrella of Seminar in Japanese Studies. Prior fall semesters have concentrated on the complex issues surrounding the topic of peace, and previous spring semesters have featured case studies of films made between the 1940s and the 21st century.

Traditional Arts and Martial Arts Seminars

The seminars are intended to deepen students’ experience of Japanese culture through hands-on experience of traditional arts. Each course is 1 credit each.

The two seminars have the following focuses.

  • Japanese Martial Arts – Aikido and Kendo
  • Traditional Japanese Arts 1 – Kimono, Tea Ceremony, Flower Arrangement, and Calligraphy
  • Traditional Japanese Arts 3 – Koto

Guided Independent Study

Independent study classes of 2 credits can be requested provided the topic of study falls within a arather narrow range of topics which are appropriate to the expertise of the participating faculty in that particular term. Students will be assigned an appropriate faculty advisor to assist them in their research and evaluate their work.

Additional Courses

JASIN students are also eligible to take courses outside of the core curriculum, including courses in Chinese, Korean, French, and German, as well as humanities courses together with Japanese students.

(Please note that some courses outside of the JASIN curriculum may be unavailable for enrollment; consult the International Center if you wish to confirm the availability of a particular course.)

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