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Courses offered in Japanese language:

Elementary Japanese I
Elementary Japanese II
Intermediate Japanese I
Intermediate Japanese II
Upper-level courses in Japanese
Directed-study courses in Japanese

Using the Genki curriculum, students in Elementary Japanese will learn the hiragana and katakana syllabaries, as well as 46 kanji (Chinese characters). Students will learn basic grammar patterns, how to write simple compositions, and basic communication skills. Students in Intermediate Japanese will learn approximately 400 kanji, how to write more complex essays, and how to express themselves in polite Japanese, having the ability to discuss more nuanced topics in a study-abroad or business setting. Students at the advanced level will build upon the structure provided in Elementary and Intermediate Japanese, with the goal of reading Japanese newspapers (700 kanji) and literary texts. More complicated grammar, expressions, and vocabulary are emphasized. Students will practice listening and understanding skills and report back what they have heard and learned in Japanese. They are encouraged to work on submissions for speech competitions.

A Japanese minor is available; 18 hours must be taken in Japanese at the Intermediate and/or Advanced Level. This means that all courses with a prefix of JPN2000 or higher would count, as well as courses in Japanese taken abroad. Once course may be taken at the 2000 level or higher in Asian Studies, and the student must take 3-12 hours of JPN2950-JPN3950 abroad. (This includes selected courses in humanities and social sciences at the 2000 level.)


Foreign study abroad opportunities include Maymester: three week short-term study trips to Japan, as well as exchange programs with Seinan Gakuin University and  Tokyo Christian University for up to two semesters. (For more detailed information, click here.)


Why Study Japanese?

Did you know that Japan has one of the most advanced economies in the world? You’ve probably enjoyed products from Sony and Nintendo, or maybe have driven a Nissan, or used a smartphone containing many parts originating in Japan. In fact, the perfection of the blue LED has led to thin, lightweight, energy-efficient backlighting that drives most of our portable technology. In 2015, Professor Kajita Takaaki of the University of Tokyo received the Nobel prize in Physics for his research proving the oscillation of Neutrinos. Many important universities in Japan welcome foreign researchers and graduate students, and while communication in English is possible, knowledge of Japanese can foster greater cooperation and collaboration, as well as help students gain funding opportunities for long-term study abroad.

Japanese industry and innovation are important for our global economy; forging American partnerships with Japanese industry and conducting research in Japanese labs is aided by  cross-cultural and linguistic aptitude.

Closer to home, Middle Tennessee has become a hotspot for Japanese corporations; the US headquarters of Nissan and Bridgestone are located nearby. Approximately 80,000 Japanese live and work in our region and contribute not only to our economy, but to the fabric of Nashville’s society. Learning Japanese may open up a number of career avenues that you may not yet have imagined; Learning Japanese language and culture can position you to succeed in the increasingly global economy—even here in Nashville!

In recent years, Japan’s popular culture­–including video games, animation, graphic novels, film, fashion, the arts, music, and food–has enjoyed increasing influence around the world. Learning Japanese will put you in the position to not only be a consumer of these cultural products, but also become one who understands and can appreciate the ideas and historical context that inform them. If you are interested in these creative fields, knowing Japanese will allow you to participate more fully as a potential producer.

Some students may be captivated by the traditions of Japan. The beauty of nature, the sensitivity to time and space, the sound of the koto, or the attention to detail (monozukuri) of hand-crafted goods. Others may be drawn to the significance of Japan’s unfolding modernity, the exploration of lived-experience within literature, or the enduring religious rituals that underpin daily life.  If you study a language, you also learn the culture of the people who speak it. Studying a language can help you learn about yourself and your own worldview.  While Japan is different from other cultures, you will also find a number of commonalities that might surprise you. Moreover, you may gain an appreciation for things that do not exist in your own cultural landscape, and these may shape your own character and outlook.

In short, exploring Japan at Belmont will give you some keys to open the doors for an exciting future!


Japanese Activities:

Nihongo Kaiwa Table
Join us every Friday from 12:00-1:00 in the dining hall for Japanese conversation as we dine in an informal setting. Whether you are just curious or an advanced student, you are welcome!

We have many Japan-related Co-Curricular activities and a Japan Culture Club. All are welcome to participate.