NOTES ABOUT FALL 2020 Japanese Language Language Courses

Japanese Program would like to provide some clarifications so that you can plan your schedule and make any adjustments, as appropriate, when registration re-opens in late July via Sage.

No Japanese Program classes are completely asynchronous (that is, with no determined meeting time).  You will have an opportunity to interact with faculty members and students in an online or in-person environment.

No Japanese language classes are completely in-person mode, as you see “Hybrid” as instruction mode and class-note in sage  : “Instruction for this course will be offered in a hybrid combination of in person and remote sessions, which may vary by course and over the duration of the semester”.

While most classes will be scheduled to meet twice per week for 90 minutes (either Monday and Wednesday, or Tuesday and Thursday), language-level courses (numbered 10-30) will be scheduled four times per week, but students will not meet for the full 90 minutes each day. These longer blocks are meant to accommodate cleaning protocols, smaller groups if needed, longer sessions vs shorter sessions, or office hours, according to instructor’s modalities but will not impact the actual contact hours required for the class.  Your instructor will let you know how the time within the 90-minute block will be used. You should plan the entire 90-minutes blocked off on your schedule even though you’ll be in class (remote or in person) for 50 minutes.

ALL students (on- and off-campus) are welcome to enroll in Japanese Program courses, regardless of its mode of instruction, which are listed below in more detail.

Japanese Program Modes of Instruction: 

For full lists of courses offered in the fall semester, see the course schedule.  

For short video introductions to select courses, click on the hyperlinked course titles below. 

General Course Information

The Japanese Language Program offers a four-year curriculum in the Japanese language as well as Japanese literature courses.

The Program maintains four days-per-week instruction plus a weekly half-hour peer tutor session for the initial four-semester sequence of Japanese language courses (JAPN 10A, 20B, 30A and 40B).  For Japanese 105A and 105B, instruction is divided between two weekly 80-minute sessions and one weekly 50-minute session (4 hours total per week). Through these intensive courses, Brandeis students gain strong Japanese language skills and understanding of its culture. JAPN 120A (fourth year Japanese course) will be a project-based class and students will collaborate with Japanese students and conduct research together in order to further develop their advanced Japanese language skills.

The four-semester sequence of Japanese courses 10A through 40B, or its equivalent, fulfills the language requirement for the East Asian Studies major and minor.


All students who have studied Japanese previously (high school, university, self-study, at home) and wish to continue studying Japanese at Brandeis must take a placement test to determine their level of proficiency so that the instructor can place them in the appropriate class. The test will be scheduled during the first week of the semester so that there is sufficient time to choose and register for an appropriate class. Please contact Professor Hisae Fujiwara when you arrive on campus in the fall.

SAT II test scores in Japanese do not satisfy the foreign language requirement.

Courses Taught in Japanese

JAPN10A Beginning Japanese (four sections)

Instruction Mode: Hybrid learning

Four class hours and one half-hour tutoring session per week.

Intended for students with little or no previous knowledge of Japanese. This course offers intensive training in the basics of Japanese grammar, listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Students acquire Japanese language proficiency through various interactive classroom activities, workbook, audio, video, and computer-assisted exercises. Usually offered every fall.

JAPN30A Intermediate Japanese (two sections)

Instruction Mode: Hybrid learning

Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in JAPN 20b or the equivalent.

Four class hours and one half-hour tutoring session per week.

Continuation of JAPN 20b. This course aims to further develop a student's four language skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing Japanese through various classroom activities, workbook, audio, video, and writing essays. Usually offered every fall.

JAPN105A Advanced Conversation and Composition I

Instruction Mode: Hybrid learning

Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in JAPN 40b or the equivalent.

Two 80-minute sessions and one 50-minute session per week (4 hours total per week).  

Continuation of JAPN 40b. For advanced students of Japanese who wish to enhance and improve their speaking proficiency as well as reading and writing skills. Students will develop their proficiency in reading and speaking through texts, films, videos and discussions on current issues on Japanese society. Various forms of writing will be assigned to improve students' writing skills. Usually offered every year.

JAPN120A Topics in Contemporary Japanese Culture and Society I

Instruction Mode: Hybrid learning

Prerequisite: A grade of C- or higher in JAPN 105b or the equivalent.

Provides advanced students of Japanese an opportunity to develop reading and writing skills through class discussion, presentation, group work, a project with Japanese students and writing in different genres as a preparation for further advanced studies in Japanese. Familiarizes students with different facets of contemporary Japanese culture and society. Readings are supplemented by films and related visual materials. Usually offered every fall.


Courses Taught in English

Instruction Mode: Hybrid learning

Explores the ways in which modern Japanese writers and filmmakers have represented childhood, youth, and coming of age. A variety of short stories, novels, and memoirs from the 1890s to the present day are read, and several recent films are also screened. Usually offered every third year.

Instruction Mode: Hybrid learning

A survey of some of the most important works of Japanese literature from its origins to the late sixteenth century, including a wide range of genres: fiction, essays, travelogues, poetry, and drama. All readings are in English. Usually offered every third year.