Japan is one of the most influential nations in the Asia-Pacific region – culturally, diplomatically and economically. It is a key player in Aotearoa New Zealand's import and export, tourism and education markets, and continues to be an attractive destination for graduates.
Aspects of Japanese culture have become popular in much of Asia, Australasia, and America. These include animation, video games, fashion, art, sport, and spirituality.
Learning the Japanese language helps you to do business with Japanese people and multinational companies, equips you for a job in Japan and opens up an understanding of a proud people with a long history and fascinating culture.
- The Japanese programme at UC offers a wide range of courses in Japanese language and related subjects up to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) level.
- It is supported by a strong team of staff specialising in linguistics, literature, theatre, society, tradition, and modern culture.
- In language classes, equal emphasis is placed on the four key language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Communicative and cultural competency in Japanese is developed through regular interaction with native speakers and practice communicating in a range of real-life situations.
- Courses in the programme are complemented by a number of specialised courses on Japanese history, art, political science, and music offered through various schools in the College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata.
UC offers courses for beginners and those who have studied Japanese previously. To major in Japanese without any prior background in the language will take three years.
Students who have some native ability in the language should contact the Programme Director for advice on the most appropriate course of study. Direct entry into language classes other than the ones listed is through a placement test and discussion with the Programme Director.
The language course for complete beginners is JAPA 125 Elementary Japanese A.
Students with 15 credits at NCEA level 2 (or equivalent) should take JAPA 126 Elementary Japanese B (second semester).
Students with at least 15 credits at NCEA level 3 (or equivalent) can go straight into the more advanced course JAPA 215 Intermediate Japanese.
JAPA 108 Introduction to Japanese Culture is also required for the major.
200-level and beyond
At 200 and 300-level, students can continue their study of Japanese language or take courses on Japanese society, culture, and history.
A degree in Japanese can lead to a variety of career options.
Some graduates have been awarded prestigious Monbukagakusho (Japanese Ministry of Education) Scholarships for study and research in Japan. Many have joined the Japanese Government's Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. Others have been employed by the Japanese Embassy or Consular Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade | Manatū Aorere, and the Government Communications and Security Bureau in Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara Wellington.
There is a demand for teachers of Japanese in secondary schools, and some graduates have joined the teaching staff of Japanese departments at tertiary institutions.
Other graduates enter banking, import/export, and legal industries, or find jobs in multinational companies that have links with Japan. Some become freelance translators or enter the tourism and travel industry.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Japanese.
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University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
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