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Japan Studies

Japan Studies

The Japan Studies Program offers a minor and a well-established sequence of Japanese language and culture courses to meet students’ interests in learning Japanese as a foreign language. The minor is designed to provide students with an understanding of Japanese history, culture and language, and a working knowledge of contemporary Japanese political, economic and social dynamics.

In order to meet global education and market needs, students have access to study abroad opportunities that range from four weeks up to one year living and studying in Japan. We also host a Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program workshop for senior students who are interested in working in Japan.

Japan map


JPN 101, 102 – ELEMENTARY JAPANESE I & II (4, 4)
These courses introduce the study of the Japanese language and are designed for students with little or no previous exposure to the elementary level of Japanese. The first-year courses help students acquire a basic structural and communicative competence in the language through listening, speaking, reading and writing practice with an emphasis on pronunciation and intonation, basic sentence patterns, common idiomatic expressions, the hiragana, katakana and basic kanji writing systems.

These courses develop and reinforce proficiency in oral communication skills, reading, and writing skills in Kanas and Kanji initiated in the previous 100-level Japanese courses. They introduce students to the more complex sentences requiring the use of verb conjugation and modifiers to enrich expressions in the subject and predicate structures as often needed to communicate on familiar topics presented in the text. Prerequisite: JPN 102 or placement test.

JPN 303, 304 – ADVANCED JAPANESE (4, 4)
These courses develop more advanced reading comprehension and writing skills using Kana and sufficient Kanji, translation skills, and situational conversations. They introduce students to different styles of speaking and writing, and idiosyncrasies of traditional Japanese culture and society as introduced in Japanese texts. They help students strengthen the essential oral/ aural capability and further enhance their Japanese language skills and knowledge at a higher level. Prerequisite:
JPN 202 or placement test.

This course consists of special reading assignments, investigative papers or research projects in a specific area of Japanese language, literature or culture supervised by the instructor. Prerequisite:
Consent of the department.


These courses bring students to more advanced levels of the Japanese knowledge and communicative skills as needed in reading comprehension, conversation, and composition. The reading materials specially selected for these courses cover a wide range of topics on idiosyncrasies and traits of Japanese culture, including its society and people, lifestyle, traditions, economic issues, as well as Japan-America economic and diplomatic relations and issues. They help students study the Japanese language by looking at how it is used in real-life situations. Prerequisite: JPN 304 or equivalent.

This course focuses on Japanese social, cultural, political and economic issues as reflected in Japanese civilization, culture, literature, language, and pragmatics. It is designed mainly for students with sufficient Japanese proficiency. The course is taught in Japanese and delivered in the form of assigned readings and class discussion. Prerequisite: JPN 304 or equivalent.

SFLJ & SFLC 200 – Introduction to Japan and China for Business and Travel (4)
This course is designed for students to learn the essential Japanese and Chinese business cultures in relation to their respective traditions and etiquettes. Each topic is introduced through selected readings, popular media and films, including some basic communication skills in business settings. Students’ cultural awareness and reflections are discussed in class. It increases students’ cross-cultural understanding and valuing of the similarities and differences between Asia and the United States. This course is counted as an elective for the Japan Studies Minor and the Asian Studies Minor. No prerequisite.


Dr. Tinaz Pavri
Chair of Asian Studies Program
Box 366, Spelman College
350 Spelman Lane, SW
Atlanta, GA 30314