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 opportunities for Earlham students.

Students at Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima, Japan
Graduate Icon
95%
of recent Japanese studies graduates were working or in graduate school within six months of graduation.
Jobs icon
70%
of recent Japanese studies graduates were working in Japan within six months of graduation.
Outcomes

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.

Cultural campus experiences

Apply to live in Japan House, a residential theme house that hosts cultural workshops and lectures, and enjoy semi-annual performances, cultural presentations and lectures in the Jackson Bailey Lecture Series.

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.

Program information

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

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies, you must complete the following courses, in addition to general education requirements.

Before participating in an off-campus program in Japan, students should take JPNS 236. Because of the off-campus study requirement, you should work closely with your adviser to shape a four-year course of study that will make it possible for you to satisfy all requirements for the College and the program. Students pursuing a major in Japanese studies should choose either Focus One or Focus Two.

Focus One
Japanese Culture and Society

You must complete:

  • JPNS 236 Introduction to the Study of Japan
  • One advanced-level language course at 300 OR above: JAPN 301, JAPN 302, JAPN 382
  • JPNS 473 OR 474 or equivalent
  • Four JPNS courses of 3 or more credits each. At least one must be in the Humanities and one in the Social Sciences. At least two must be advanced-level courses. (JAPN 430 OR JAPN 431 may be used for one of the four courses.)
  • Off-campus study program in Japan (full year or one semester)
  • JPNS 488 Senior Capstone Experience. Capstone projects should reflect prior coursework and your Japanese studies major focus.

In addition to the Japanese studies courses listed in the catalog, you may:

Apply certain courses taken off campus with the approval of the Japanese studies faculty.

Petition the program to count non-Japanese studies courses taken at Earlham. These petitioned courses must contain at least 25% Japan content. In addition, course assignments must be adjusted to include Japan content whenever possible. If interested in pursuing this option, you must gain the approval of the instructor and the convener of Japanese studies early in the semester in which the course is taken.

Focus Two
Japanese Language and Linguistics

You must complete:

  • JPNS 236 Introduction to the Study of Japan
  • Three advanced-level language courses at 300 or above:
    • JAPN 301
    • JAPN 302
    • JAPN 382
  • Two JAPN linguistics or pedagogy courses from the following:
    • JAPN 351
    • JAPN 407
    • JAPN 422
    • JAPN 430
    • JAPN 431
  • One additional JAPN linguistics or pedagogy course or JPNS course
  • Off-campus study program in Japan (full year or one semester)
  • JPNS 488 Senior Capstone Experience. Capstone projects should reflect prior coursework and your Japanese studies major focus.

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

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

Yes! To earn a minor in Japanese studies, you must complete the following courses:

  • One Japanese language course at the intermediate level
  • JPNS 236 Introduction to the Study of Japan
  • JPNS 473 OR JPNS 474 OR equivalent
  • Two JPNS courses of 3 or more credits each. One must be in the Humanities and one in the Social Sciences. At least one must be an advanced-level course. (JAPN 430 OR JAPN 431 may be used for one of the two courses.)
  • Off-campus study program in Japan (full year, one semester, or May term)

View a full list of courses and their descriptions.

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.

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