For over a millennium, the arts, philosophy, and literature of Japan have drawn upon and contributed to East Asian civilization.

Today, the State Department considers knowledge of Japanese “critical” to U.S. global interests, especially in trade and finance. Attentive to your level of experience in language studies and your academic areas of specialization, Lafayette offers classes to suit your needs. In Japanese-language courses, you may focus on basic conversation and literacy, or you may work on more advanced skills, such as letter-writing and cultural analysis of literature or pop-culture. Courses in Japanese language are also an essential component of Lafayette’s interdisciplinary major and minor in Asian Studies, which will give you a strong foundation in the history, arts, and cultures of Japan and East Asia.

Curious about the Japanese program at Lafayette? Learn more about Japanese events and see samples of student work by following this link.

The Major & Minor in Asian Studies

For information, please visit the Asian Studies website or the Course Catalog.

Courses in Japanese

JAPN 101, 102: Elementary Japanese I & II

Fundamentals of spoken and written Japanese. Development of reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills. An introduction to the culture of Japan. Class/laboratory.

JAPN 111, 112: Intermediate Japanese I & II

Review and expansion of basic grammar and vocabulary. Short literary and cultural readings. Attention to developing reading and conversational skills and a deeper understanding of the culture of Japan. Class/laboratory.
Prerequisites: Japanese 101, 102 or equivalent proficiency

JAPN 290, 291: Independent Study in Japanese

This course emphasizes reading authentic materials and writing compositions and correspondence.
Prerequisite: Japanese 112, equivalent proficiency or permission of the instructor

Japanese Studies in Translation

INDS 140: A History of Japanese Culture and Government: 400-1600 AD

This interim course will immerse students in the aesthetic and political history of a nation which gave the world its first novel, Zen Buddhism, epic war poetry, samurai castles, sushi, and a number of internationally admired performance and plastic artistic traditions. Within Japan’s sometimes elaborate, and sometimes austere cultural structures, distinct codes of conduct and governance also flourished, and have survived well beyond the passing of the old feudal orders. Through a combination of directed readings, language study, site visits to major monuments, participation in cultural demonstrations, and lecture/discussion classroom activities, students will gain a basic grounding in this most complex and storied history.

Please see the Lafayette Course Catalog for official descriptions of the Japanese courses and other subjects offered by the Department of Languages and Literary Studies.

Please see the Course and Exam Schedule for a current list of courses and times, including special-topics courses not listed in the permanent Course Catalog.