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日本語 • Japanese

Learning Japanese provides access to a rich and fascinating culture that has captivated people worldwide. From traditional arts like tea ceremonies and calligraphy to the dynamic world of anime, manga, and video games, understanding Japanese language and culture offers a deeper appreciation of its unique contributions. Japan is renowned for its technological advancements, making it a hub for innovation in industries such as robotics, automotive, electronics, and more. Proficiency in Japanese can lead to exciting career opportunities and collaborations with Japanese companies. Japanese is spoken by approximately 127 million people, making it one of the world's major languages and allowing for meaningful connections and cultural exchanges.Learning Japanese opens up a world of cultural exploration, professional prospects, and interpersonal connections with a vibrant and influential society.

Why Learn Japanese?

Japan has the third largest economy in the world: With a GDP of $5.9 trillion in 2012, Japan’s economy is 3rd only to that of the US and China. Toyota, Honda, Sony, Canon, Nintendo, Panasonic, and Lexus (some of Japan’s Best Global Brands) and many other companies have infiltrated in the world market.

Business Opportunities: Japan is a huge market. Japanese spend 100s billions of dollar on each year on consumer goods and service. Japan is the US’s 3rd partner for export. 1000s of US companies have branches in Japan. US business spent $78 billion in direct investment in Japan (2004).

Japanese as International Travelers: 16.8 million Japanese tourists did travel abroad in 2004. 3.7 million of them visited the US, and spent $12.4 billion. 94% of Japanese visitors do shopping, and more so than any other group, and are the majority of the US travel trade surplus.

Country and Culture: Surrounding by beautiful landscapes, people live harmoniously with 2000 years of history behind them. Japan is a country where old culture and traditions coexist with the cutting-edge technology and modern living styles, Japan is a place where East meets West.

Be a Part of “Cool” Culture: Anime, otaku, bento, samurai, bonsai, cosplay, sushi, karaoke, sumo, Pokemon, Sudoku, geisha, kogal, ninja, origami, Nintendo, AKB48, Ghibli, kyaraben, Kitty-chan, kawaii! Japanese culture is part of the international culture now.

Cyber Space World Community: Japanese speakers are the internet’s 3rd largest language group (an estimated 88 million Japanese, or 9.6% of the world’s online population).

Japanese Opens the Door to Asian Culture: Japan has been influenced by Asia’s great civilizations: India, China, and Korea. Asian cultures share similarities in religious beliefs, ethics, and aesthetics. Learning about Japan and its language will provide you an insight to Asian culture as well as Western culture in contrast.

The Japanese are Innovators: The Japanese have been known for their creativity and scientific know-how to succeed. The Japanese are known as high tech leaders in fields such as optical media, semiconductor manufacturing, industrial robotics, and fermentation process, and are the world leaders in patent fillings at 420,000 applications annually.

Japanese is Easy!: Japanese is 6th in the enrollment of college level foreign language classes in the US (MLA, 2009). Japanese is a simple language because: 1) Nouns have no number and gender, and no articles to go with; 2) Spelling is consistent with pronunciation, 3) Only two verb conjugations; 4) Two tenses, past and non-past; 5) Only 5 vowels and 15 consonants (The European average is 30).

Great Place for Study-abroad: Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, with the low crime rate, secure borders, and renowned transportation system. Most of students who have spent some time in Japan express their desires to go back to Japan in the future.


For questions relating to Japanese courses or advising guidance, please contact:

Dr. Kazue Harada
Departmental Advisor for Japanese
Irvin Hall 152
(513) 529-3365 Office

Dr. Harada provides academic advising for the Japanese minor and the East Asian Languages and Cultures major, Japan concentration: reviewing DARS, evaluating transferred credits, helping a course plan toward graduation, signing a declaration form, giving counsel regarding study abroad, graduate school, and career.

The bulletin board across from 150 Irvin contains information about career opportunities, study and work abroad, and department activities. The black metal literature holder in front of 148 Irvin Hall contain graduate programs, summer programs, and one semester or longer programs in Japan/US.

Course Placement

If this is a new language for you (i.e., no prior experience in this language), students should enroll in Japanese 101 and do not need to take a placement exam or advisement evaluation.

If you have had previous experience or education in this language, please talk to the language advisor prior to enrolling in a language course. The language advisor would be able to interview briefly and recommend a best placement based on your written, spoken, listening, literary, and cultural competence.

If you cannot talk with the language advisor before enrolling, general guidelines for enrolling in Japanese courses can be found on Miami's Foreign Language Placement test web site. Please read the instructions on this site carefully, select Japanese, and read the guidelines for a general placement recommendation.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Employ correct and appropriate grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and style to describe personalities, events, and ideas in the past, present, future, and hypothetical situations;
  2. Contextualize cultural information in a manner that reveals familiarity with past and present trends and differences between one’s native culture and those of Japan;
  3. Construct a persuasive argument intelligible to native speakers of the language;
  4. Locate, analyze, evaluate, summarize, integrate, synthesize, and cite information and ideas from sources typically used in Japanese scholarly publications and professional types of writing in Japanese;
  5. Apply the grammatical, rhetorical, and cultural competencies outlined above to the types of writing typically used in the graduates’ intended professions.

Contact the Department

Irvin Hall South Entrance

Department of German, Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures

Irvin Hall 172
400 East Spring Street
Oxford, OH 45056-3645
United States
(513) 529-2526

Dr. Mila Ganeva, Chair
General Inquiries: