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The major in Japanese Studies provides students the opportunity to develop as competent users of the Japanese language with explicit knowledge of Japanese society and culture. Through provisions of Australia-Japan contact situations, students gain intercultural awareness and understanding, develop their knowledge of the language, cultures, societies and communities in Japan. The Japanese language plays a key role in expressing the cultures and identities of Japan. Japan is of increasing fundamental importance to Australia for political, strategic and economic reasons in realisation of Australia in the Asian Century. Thus, learning Japanese and developing competence in Japanese will provide students a privileged form of access to the cultural resources and complex patterns of life in Japan and beyond, take an important role in promoting relationships and mutual understanding between countries and peoples.

Aims of the Major

There are two main components of Japanese Studies. The first is a focus on the acquisition of competence in the target language. Acquiring target language competence involves a wide range of knowledge and understanding of sociocultural conventions as well as skills in self-expression, both oral and written, and skills in comprehending other's expression, both oral and written. The second component is the study of aspects of the cultures and societies associated with the Japanese language. We draw upon other disciplines in order to inform understanding of Japanese culture. These disciplines include linguistic, literary, cultural, historical and social productions. Via the study of the Japanese language and associated disciplines, we aim:

  1. to foster an awareness of Japan's culture, history and society,
  2. to develop informed understanding of human experiences, cultures, and societies in Japan,
  3. to enable students to place contemporary Australian society and culture in an historical and comparative context vis a vis Japanese culture and society,
  4. to develop the skills of critical, creative, and imaginative thinking about Japanese culture and society,
  5. to promote the techniques and value of reasoned and open-minded discussion and debate,
  6. to nurture positive attitudes toward intercultural communication in general and with the Japanese,
  7. to promote learner autonomy.

This stream is available to students commencing at Introductory and Intermediate entry levels.

Placement Information

Students who wish to enrol in a language course without completing the necessary prerequisites are required to complete an online placement application form before the commencement of the term.

For more information, please see the School Website.

For students admitted in their first year of study to ARTS2630 or higher on the grounds of ability and/or previous study, such courses will be counted as Level 1 courses in terms of degree requirements.

Study Level


Minimum Units of Credit


Specialisation Type


Specialisation Structure

Students must complete 48 UOC.

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Commencing Mid-Year

If you commence the language studies major at Introductory Japanese B, you must go on to complete Advanced Japanese B. In order to have the required 48 UOC for the major, you must complete a further 18 UOC in contextual courses.

If you commence the language studies major at Intermediate Japanese B, you must go on to complete Professional Japanese B. In order to have the required 48 UOC for the major, you must complete a further 18 UOC in contextual courses.

Language Courses

If you have achieved a higher level of study in a language course, you are not permitted to study a lower level language course.

Additional Information

Language Studies for Commencing Mid-Year Students

If your language skills are assessed as Level A in Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced or Professional you cannot commence study until Term 1.

Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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