Japanese Language and Linguistics

The Japanese language and linguistics program at Earlham has a national reputation for excellence, providing comprehensive individual, interactive and hands-on instruction. This program is conducted in a learner-friendly environment designed to guide you toward your maximum potential.

If you wish to explore and major in Japanese language and linguistics, choose the Japanese studies major with a focus in Japanese language and linguistics.

Opening doors to non-Western culture

Earlham runs two study abroad programs in Japan: 1) Japan Study: a full year or a semester in the fall or the spring, taking classes at Waseda University in Tokyo and 2) the SICE (Studies in Cross-Cultural Education) Program: a fall semester in Morioka where you will take courses at Iwate University and also help teach English at a local junior high school.

Because of relationships cultivated through thoughtful and practical engagement with Japanese culture and society, you will be well prepared for employment in English-teaching programs in Japan.

Perspective icon

Research experience

Through our study-abroad programs, you will engage in student-faculty research during month-long experiences on subjects such as Japanese food, culture and the understanding of the hopes of the Ainu, aboriginal people of northern Japan.

Popular award icon

Student-led engagement

Apply to live in Japan House, a residential theme house that hosts cultural workshops and lectures.

Our faculty

Our faculty work closely with your skills and needs while assisting and supporting you in selecting your off-campus program, internships in Japan and career after graduation.

Program information

Our alumni have pursued graduate studies as Japanese/Asia/international specialists. They have used their Japanese language skills in a variety of career fields.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

The Japanese language and linguistics program does not offer a major but a minor.

Students who are pursuing majors other than Japanese Studies and who fulfilled the general education language requirement by taking the basic Japanese courses may continue their Japanese language study. The Japanese language and linguistics minor enables those students to incorporate Japanese into their major in another field.

To earn a minor in Japanese language and linguistics, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements:

  • Two advanced-level language courses at 300,
  • One JAPN linguistics from the following:
    • JAPN351
    • JAPN 407
    • JAPN 422
    • JAPN 430
  • One Japanese Studies (JPNS) course, excluding language skill-focused courses, and
  • One Japanese independent study integrated with a student’s major.

In addition to courses listed in the catalog, you may apply to certain courses taken off-campus with the approval of the program convener. JAPN 352 may not be applied toward meeting the requirements of the Japanese studies major.

View a full list of Japanese language and linguistics courses and their descriptions.


If you’re considering a global career in business or nonprofit work, taking Japanese language courses can be extremely beneficial. Many students who study Japanese language also go on to teach English in Japan or otherwise use their language skills as Japanese/Asia/international specialists.

Next steps

We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.
We continue to monitor the effects of an industrial fire 1.1 miles from campus.