Major in Japanese
The Japanese major combines thorough training in spoken and written language with study of Japanese culture through a broad range of materials and approaches, including classical and modern literature, linguistics, history, philosophy, visual arts, and popular culture. Most courses are conducted in Japanese.
Students are expected to study Japanese for four years, regardless of their level when they begin at Georgetown. Students must take at least one JAPN course taught in English in addition to “East Asia: Texts and Contexts.” One or both semesters of junior year are usually spent abroad. The major culminates in a Senior Seminar paper or Senior Honors Thesis on a topic of the student’s choice relating to Japanese culture.
Majors are strongly recommended to fulfill half of the history portion of their College core requirement by taking at least one course in Japanese history. A variety of Japanese studies courses are also available through other departments, including Economics, Government, International Affairs, Theology, and Art. These can be taken as free electives, or in some cases to fulfill core requirements. Outside courses can often be counted toward an Asian Studies Certificate for interested students. Students should seek help from their department advisors to develop a well-integrated academic program built around their interests and drawing upon this rich variety of resources.
Students are encouraged to further their understanding of Japanese culture by participating in the Japan Club, which conducts social and educational activities. Also, a wide range of literary and audio-visual materials concerning Japan is available at the University library. The Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art hold one of the finest collections of East Asian art in the world. The Library of Congress has the largest collection of Japanese books and periodicals outside Japan.
12 courses, including:
- JAPN-024 East Asia: Texts and Contexts
- 9 courses in Japanese language, 5 of which must at the 300-level or above*
- 1 department course on Japanese culture, literature, or linguistics taught in English
- JAPN-459 Senior Seminar
*Note: students must complete or place out of First, Second and Third Level Japanese before enrolling in 300-level language courses.
Writing takes place everywhere in the Japanese major, in many forms and levels of formality, including expository and creative writing as well as the art of translation, and including personal, public, and professional modes. Alongside expository writing in English about aspects of culture in East Asia, students also practice writing of increasing complexity in target language all through the course of their major. As approaches to careful observation of and careful thinking about their object, writing in English and writing in target language reinforce each other. Attention is also given to translation as a form of detailed interpretive commentary and as a means of examining temporally specific differences in linguistic structure, modes of argument, and perceptual and conceptual habits. Attention to English language writing skills in the field begins in the gateway course East Asia: Texts and Contexts. At the other end of the major, the capstone Senior Seminar guides students in the writing of extensive individual research papers. For more information on writing in the major, see the EALC department website.
Students majoring in Japanese are required to spend one semester (usually Junior year) in Japan and are encouraged to spend the entire year in Japan. Georgetown has formal arrangements for overseas study with Sophia University, Waseda University, International Christian University in Tokyo and Nanzan University in Nagoya.
Japanese Major with FLL Business Coursework
See the Business Coursework section of this Bulletin.
Requirements for the minor
Students majoring in other fields, particularly those involving Asian studies, are encouraged to consider a minor in Japanese. The Japanese minor requires:
- Seven JAPN courses
- At least six of which must be Japanese language courses or advanced courses conducted in Japanese.
- The seventh JAPN course may be taught in either Japanese or English.
Asian Studies Certificate
Interested students majoring in Chinese or Japanese may also pursue an interdisciplinary certificate in Asian Studies. A minimum of six semester courses is required, including the study of more than one Asian society or national group. Students should consult the Director of Asian Studies, SFS, for additional information.
(For course listings for Japanese see Schedule of Classes)