Japanese Language Program

Japanese major/minor advisor: Massimiliano Tomasi

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 302 are taught in Winter Term. JAPN 103, JAPN 203, and JAPN 303 are taught in the Spring Term.

Placement Testing

Online placement testing is available for students who wish to test into JAPN 201 or 301. Both 201 & 301 are offered during fall quarter onlyTesting will resume again during Summer 2022 for Fall 2022 registration. 

Students who do not have experience with the Japanese language do not need to take the placement test and should enroll in JAPN 101, which is offered fall quarter only. Course registration for JAPN 101 is open for FR/SO students during Phase I of registration. Overrides will not be issued. Registration will be open to all students during Phase II. If you do not plan to begin studying JAPN courses in the fall quarter, please contact the Japanese advisor to determine appropriate placement. (Note: courses than end in x01 will be offered fall quarter; x02 in the winter; x03 in the spring.)

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 if available. Placement decision will be left to the discretion of the language department.

Course Offerings

Visit WWU ClassFinder to view the days, times, and openings for courses during the academic year.

Declaration Process

To declare a new major or minor, students must fill out a Major Declaration or Minor Declaration e-form and submit to their language advisor(Students: complete Section I of e-form, enter email address of your advisor at the bottom of the form, and click submit.)

First-Year Japanese

Lessons 1-4 of Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese (Second Edition) are covered. Basic sentence structures, basic vocabulary/expressions as well as the writing system (both hiragana and katakana) are introduced. In addition, approximately 60 kanji characters are introduced.

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Banno, Eri, Yutaka Ohno, Yoko Sakane, and Chikako Shinagawa. 2011. Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese [Second Edition]. Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook]

Continuation of JAPN 101: Lessons 5-8 of Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese (Second Edition) are covered. Approximately 60 new kanji characters are introduced (Cumulative number from JAPN 101 = 120 characters).

Prerequisite: JAPN 101

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Banno, Eri, Yutaka Ohno, Yoko Sakane, and Chikako Shinagawa. 2011. Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese [Second Edition]. Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook]

Continuation of JAPN 102: Lessons 9-12 of Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese (Second Edition) are covered. Approximately 60 new kanji characters are introduced (Cumulative number from JAPN 101 = 145 characters).

Prerequisite: JAPN 102

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Banno, Eri, Yutaka Ohno, Yoko Sakane, and Chikako Shinagawa. 2011. Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese [Second Edition]. Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook]

Second-Year Japanese

Lessons 13-16 of Genki 2: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese (Second Edition) are covered. Approximately 65 new kanji characters are introduced (Cumulative number from JAPN 101 = 209 characters).

Prerequisite: JAPN 103

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Banno, Eri, Yutaka Ohno, Yoko Sakane, and Chikako Shinagawa. 2017. Genki 2: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese [Second Edition] . Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook]

Lessons 17-20 of Genki 2: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese (Second Edition) are covered. Approximately 70 new kanji characters are introduced (Cumulative number from JAPN 101 = 271 characters).

Prerequisite: JAPN 201

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Banno, Eri, Yutaka Ohno, Yoko Sakane, and Chikako Shinagawa. 2017. Genki 2: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese [Second Edition] . Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook]

Lessons 21-23 of Genki 2: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese (Second Edition) are covered. Approximately 50 new kanji characters are introduced (Cumulative number from JAPN 101 = 317 characters).

Prerequisite: JAPN 202

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Banno, Eri, Yutaka Ohno, Yoko Sakane, and Chikako Shinagawa. 2017. Genki 2: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese [Second Edition] . Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook]

Third-Year Japanese

Chapters 1–3 of Quartet 1 are covered. This course aims at the well-balanced acquisition of 4 language skills: reading and writing as well as speaking and listening. Students seeking entry while on study abroad must contact the Study Abroad Advisor.

Prerequisite: JAPN 203 or equivalent.

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Yasui, Akemi, Yuriko Ide, Miyuki Doi, and Hideki Hamada. 2019. Quartet 1: Intermediate Japanese Across the Four Language Skills. Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook]

Chapters 4–6 of Quartet 1 are covered. This course aims at the well-balanced acquisition of 4 language skills: reading and writing as well as speaking and listening. Students seeking entry while on study abroad must contact the Study Abroad Advisor.

Prerequisite: JAPN 301 or equivalent.

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Yasui, Akemi, Yuriko Ide, Miyuki Doi, and Hideki Hamada. 2019. Quartet: Intermediate Japanese Across the Four Language Skills. Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook]

Chapters 7–9 of Quartet 1 are covered. This course aims at the well-balanced acquisition of 4 language skills: reading and writing as well as speaking and listening. Students seeking entry while on study abroad must contact the Study Abroad Advisor.

Prerequisite: JAPN 302 or equivalent.

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks: Yasui, Akemi, Yuriko Ide, Miyuki Doi, and Hideki Hamada. 2019. Quartet: Intermediate Japanese Across the Four Language Skills. Tokyo: Japan Times. [both the textbook and the workbook

Fourth-Year Japanese

This is a seminar, conducted entirely in Japanese, and is required of students majoring in Japanese. Advanced reading materials in Japanese literature are introduced, according to the class discussion schedule. The topic of the seminar varies according to the instructor.

Prerequisite: JAPN 303 with a B- or better

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

This is a seminar, conducted entirely in Japanese, and is required of students majoring gin Japanese. Students are introduced to advanced materials in Japanese thought, according to the class discussion schedule. The topic of the seminar varies according to the instructor. This is a writing intensive course.

Prerequisite: JAPN 303 with a B- or better

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Additional Courses Taught in Japanese

Improvement of pronunciation, familiarization with phonetic transcription, and awareness of pronunciation problems.

Prerequisites & Notes: JAPN 301 or instructor permission

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Discussion of Japanese culture seen through Japanese films. Topics of discussion involve Japanese psychology, mentality, customs, society and history. This course is conducted in Japanese and is repeatable up to 10 credits. Only 5 credits of JAPN 330 may be counted toward the Japanese major.

Prerequisites & Notes: JAPN 203.

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

This is a survey course that covers a broad scope of Japanese history, culture, and society. It will be taught in Japanese but will include some readings and instruction in English when deemed appropriate. It is a requirement for students pursuing a major in Japanese, but other interested students may enroll with the permission of the instructor if space permits. Specific course contents vary according to instructors.

Prerequisite: JAPN 303 with B- or better

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Practicum in Japanese tutoring for students for JAPN 101-JAPN 303. Repeatable up to 4 credits. S/U grading. Not applicable toward the Japanese major electives.

​Prerequisites: Written permission of department; JAPN 303 with B or better.

Credits: 2

Grade Mode: S/U

Additional Courses Taught by Japanese Program Faculty in English

A linguistic survey of various aspects of the Japanese Language. This course does not presuppose previous exposure to Japanese, but it does presuppose basics of linguistics.

Prerequisite: LING 310 or equivalent

Credits: 5

Grade Mode: Letter

Textbooks:

  • Required: Tsujimura, Natsuko. 2007. An Introduction to Japanese Linguistics (2nd edition), Oxford, UK: Blackwell [ISBN: 978-1-4051-1065-5].
  • Optional: Shibatani, Masayoshi. 1990. Languages of Japan, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press [ISBN: 0-521-36918-5].

Selected readings in Japanese literary masterpieces from early modern times to the present.

Prerequisites & Notes: EAST 201 or EAST 202 or HUMA 275 or permission of instructor.
Credits: 5
Grade Mode: Letter