Japanese Studies

Scholarship on Japan and training in Japanese language have a long history at Earlham, and our connections with Japan run deep. For more than 50 years, Earlham has been a leader in undergraduate education focused on Japan.

Japanese studies at Earlham is about encountering the complex history, society and culture that both comprise and are embodied in the nation of Japan.

In addition to a cross-disciplinary curriculum on campus, Earlham offers two study-abroad programs in Japan: Japan Study and Studies in Cross-Cultural Education (SICE) and a double-degree program with Waseda University. Earlham also houses the Institute for Education on Japan, which coordinates all Japan-related outreach activities conducted by the College and offers additional learning and post-grad opportunities, including placements as an Assistant Language Teacher in Morioka or as a teacher at the Friends School in Tokyo.

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of work seekers who majored in a cross-divisional major between 2018-2022 were employed, pursuing graduate school or volunteering within six months of graduation.
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of recent Japanese studies graduates were working in Japan within six months of graduation.

Top job industries for Japanese studies majors include education and nonprofit work.

Encountering the complexities of Japan

Our program offers you courses in anthropology, music, politics, environmental studies, religion, art, history, literature, linguistics and beyond.

Off-campus study

Earlham runs two study-abroad programs in Japan: a full year or spring semester taking classes at Waseda University in Tokyo and a fall semester Studies in Cross-Cultural Education (SICE) program in Morioka. A unique feature of the SICE program is teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at local schools in the cities of Morioka and Tanohata.

Mikwi Cho

Our faculty

Because Japanese studies is an interdisciplinary major that examines issues through multiple lenses, our faculty come from a variety of departments, including Earth and environmental science, global management, liberal studies, Japanese studies, Japanese language and linguistics, and politics.

Frequently asked questions

Within our Japanese studies major, students choose between two foci: “Japanese Culture and Society” and “Japanese Language & Linguistics.”

Recent Japanese studies majors have interned at the Nibutani Ainu Culture Museum, Good Neighbors Japan and other nonprofits and companies in Japan. Funding is available through the Center for Global and Career Education for summer internships in Asia and elsewhere.

Learn more about available programs via our Center for Global and Career Education.

Yes; in fact, it’s a requirement for this program. If completing a major in Japanese studies, you are required to participate in one of the off-campus study programs in Japan offered by Earlham or in another program approved by the Japanese studies faculty for a full year or one semester.

If completing a minor in Japanese studies, you are required to complete an off-campus program for either a full year, one semester or a May term.

Japanese studies majors are globally-oriented students with an interest in Japanese culture and/or language. Our graduates have gone on to careers in both Japan and the U.S. in corporate consulting, global sales, education, government, communication and translation.

Recent department award winners

Myra Robinson Award
Myra Robinson (May Morikawa IEJ Community Engagement Award)
Theo Hunt Award
Theo Hunt (Chuzo Kaifu Best Thesis in Japanese Studies Award)

Two Japanese Studies seniors were recognized with newly-established departmental awards: The Chuzo Kaifu Best Thesis in Japanese Studies Award and the May Morikawa IEJ Community Engagement Award. The former, awarded to a senior who has achieved a high level of academic excellence in their final thesis project, was given to Theo Hunt ’22 for their capstone “Omitting Japan: A Look at the Successful Storytelling and Worldbuilding of Fullmetal Alchemist." The latter, given in recognition of a student who has made significant contributions to the Japanese Studies community over their four years at Earlham, was awarded to Myra Robinson ’22.

The awards are named after two alumni, Chuzo Kaifu and May Morikawa, who were respectively the first man and woman to study at Earlham in the late 1800s. Learn more about the history of Japanese and Japanese-American students at Earlham.

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.