Japanese Program Information

Welcome to the Japanese Program at Western Washington University. The Department of Modern and Classical Languages offers four years of Japanese language courses. We offer both a major and a minor in Japanese. In addition to language classes, we also offer a variety of classes on Japanese culture, philosophy, literature, linguistics, and film and media.

Japanese language classes at the first year, second year, and third year levels are taught in sequence. Each level beginning with JAPN 101, JAPN 201, or JAPN 301 respectively. These classes are only offered in Fall Term. JAPN 102, JAPN 202, and JAPN 203 are taught in Winter Term. JAPN 103, JAPN 203, and JAPN 303 are taught in the Spring Term.

Examples of coursework include:

  • JAPN 314 - Japanese Phonetics
  • JAPN 330 - Japanese Culture Through Film
  • JAPN 350 - Japanese Culture, History and Society
  • JAPN 402 - Topics in Japanese Literature
  • JAPN 403 - Topics in Japanese Thought
  • EAST 368 - Japanese Literature in Translation
  • EAST 397 - Gender and Japanese Media
  • EAST 397B - Japanese Cinema Studies
  • HIST 374 - Premodern Japanese History
  • HIST 375 - Modern Japanese History
  • LING 402 - Japanese Linguistics

Experienced Speakers/Learners of a Language

First-year courses in the Japanese Program at Western Washington University are designed for students with minimal or no previous exposure to the target language. Students enrolling in second-year courses should have no more than foundational knowledge, equivalent to the first year. Students having previous experience with the language, such as attending junior high school, high school, community or technical college, or university are required to take a placement test to determine the appropriate level of study. Likewise, heritage speakers and learners—students who learned to speak Japanese at home—must take a placement test to determine the appropriate level of course study. Near-native speakers/learners of Japanese, including students with a background in the Japanese education system, must meet with the major/minor adviser to determine if they are eligible for Japanese language classes. Students who test above the 300-level series are not eligible to enroll in the Japanese major or minor, but may be able to take content courses at the 400-level depending on their assessed ability level.

Major & Minor Advising

Massimiliano Tomasi

Professor of Japanese (1997), Japanese Major & Minor Advisor, East Asian Studies Program Director

Massimiliano Tomasi
Office: Miller Hall 222C
Phone: 360.650.3339

Ph.D., Nagoya University, Japan

Prof. Tomasi's areas of expertise include modern Japanese literature and rhetoric. He is the author of Rhetoric in Modern Japan: Western Influences on the Development of Narrative and Oratorical Style (University of Hawaii Press, 2004), The Literary Theory of Shimamura Hōgetsu (1871-1918) and the Development of Feminist Discourse in Modern Japan (Mellen, 2008),  and The Dilemma of Faith in Modern Japanese Literature: Metaphors of Christianity (Routledge, 2018). He is also the editor of Religion and Spirituality in Japanese Literature (PAJLS 16, 2015).


Study Abroad Advising

Masanori Deguchi

Associate Professor of Japanese and Linguistics, Study Abroad Advisor

Office: Miller Hall 217E
Phone: 360.650.4155

Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington.

Areas of Expertise: Theoretical linguistics: syntax, semantics, syntax-phonology interface, Japanese linguistics


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