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Language Courses

The Japanese program offers four full years of language study using a communicative approach. You will focus on all four literacy skills (speaking, reading, writing, listening) in order to maximize your proficiency in the language. There are many opportunities to use Japanese on campus, and we encourage you to live in the Japanese House and to study abroad.

Our students participate in the annual Japanese Speech Contest held on W&M's campus and then the finalists go on to compete with students from area schools at Duke University.

Language training is an integral component of the East Asian Studies programs. If you are interested in this program, you should begin your language study as early as possible.

Placement in a Japanese Language Course
  • If you have never studied Japanese, start with JAPN 101: Introduction to Japanese.
  • If you have studied some Japanese, or speak Japanese at home, take an assessment test to determine the appropriate language level. The test is in BlackBoard, and you should take it before registering for a course in Japanese. After your test, schedule an in-person interview with [[akitamura, Professor Aiko Kitamura]].
  • If you register for Japanese language classes above the 101 level before doing the assessment, you may be moved to a more appropriate level based on the exam results.
  • Currently, William & Mary does not grant credit for the SAT II or AP Exam for Japanese. If you took a standardized exam and you wish to continue with Japanese, you should take the on-line placement exam to ensure proper placement.

Please contact [[akitamura, Professor Aiko Kitamura]] for more information, or see the Modern Languages and Literatures Department's Placement Policy.

JAPN 101, 102

This course is an introduction to the basic structure of the Japanese language, including grammar, pronunciation, listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Approximately 60 kanji, or Chinese characters are introduced. The second semester, JAPN 102, assumes knowledge of both phonetic alphabets, hiragana and katakana, and approximately 90 kanji, or Chinese characters. By the end of 102 students will know approximately 150 kanji characters, and will be able to order food at a Japanese restaurant, introduce themselves in a professional situation, extend and decline invitations, and talk about their families and childhood experiences.

Text: Genki I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I

JAPN 201, 202

This course is designed to extend the student's listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. It especially focuses on strengthening functional ability to communicate in Japanese beyond the survival level. This course also allows the student to be familiar with different styles and levels of speech including formal and informal speech, men's and women's speech, and Keigo or honorifics. In addition, approximately 180 Kanji will be learned.

Text: Genki II: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II

JAPN 301, 302

This course is designed to further develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills to acquire more natural use of the Japanese language. Advanced classroom drills, audio and video taped materials, and reading both extensive and intensive texts provide systematic practice in increasingly complex discourses. The course also includes discussions and presentations in the class, and interviews with native Japanese to enhance the students' learning.

Text: Tobira

JAPN 401, 402

This course focuses on the development of effective communicative skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Culturally appropriate oral communication skills to handle different situations are emphasized. Students are introduced to various authentic materials (newspaper articles, videos, essays) and computer aided communication. This course also includes speeches, discussions, oral presentations and the writing of a research paper on topics related to present-day Japan.