Japanese language instruction at Brandeis started in fall 1988. At that time, the university offered two sections of both Japanese 10a and Japanese 20b, which formed a one-year sequence for beginning Japanese. Since there were almost no other courses related to Japan and Japanese culture at that time, the offices for the instructors (H. Sekino et al.) were located in a remote location within the present day Shapiro Admissions building.
Since 1992, Hiroko Sekino has taught all of the courses in the four-semester sequence of Japanese language offered at Brandeis. In 1994, the Japanese Program began offering a three-year sequence in Japanese language instruction. In fall 2002, the Chinese and Japanese language programs joined the Department of Germanic and Slavic Languages to form the Department of German, Russian, and East Asian Languages and Literature, after 13 years of being housed within the Hebrew Program of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies.