Japanese Studies


The Japanese Studies major and minor are interdisciplinary in nature. Students gain a broad understanding of the language, culture, literature, history, art, film, music, theatre, religion, and politics of Japan.

Students pursuing a program in Japanese studies are strongly urged to study abroad for a semester or year at a Japanese university.

The College is affiliated with Kansai Gaidai University, located in Hirakata City, between the business and industrial center of Osaka and the ancient capital of Kyoto. Kansai Gaidai not only offers instruction in Japanese language and a full range of courses on Japanese topics in English, but also offers many opportunities outside the classroom: living with a Japanese host family, field trips to cultural and historical sites, study of traditional arts, and visits to Japanese businesses. Students may also choose to attend other universities in Japan. Credit for courses taken at Kansai Gaidai may be transferred and counted toward the electives for the major and minor with departmental approval.

Major Requirements
The major consists of eleven courses. Five courses are required and must be taken at Gettysburg: 

  • Hist 224 Modern Japan OR Hist 323 Gender in Modern Japan
  • AS 265 OR 266 Methods for Japanese Studies 
  • AS 400-level capstone seminar or course

Any two of the following:

AS 150 Contemporary Japanese Culture and Society (AS 150 is recommended for first- and second-year students, but cannot be taken by those who have studied in Japan.)

AS 238 Pre-Modern Japanese Literature

AS 247/347 Extraordinary Fiction in Japan and the World

AS 248/348 Traditional Japanese Theatre

AS 250/350 The Ebb and Flow: Japanese Women's Literature, the First 1200 Years

AS 340 Modernity in Modern Japanese Fiction

AS 341 Genre in Modern Japanese Literature

AS 343 Who Dunnit and Why? Japanese Detective Fiction, Past and Present

Six electives are required. One elective must be from the category of arts and humanities, one from the category of history and society, and one must be comparative within East Asia. (The categories and appropriate courses are listed below. East Asian courses are marked with an asterisk.) Students must complete four 300-level courses. Two must be 300-level Japanese language courses, or their equivalent as determined by placement tests. (Credit from abroad may be counted upon return to Gettysburg depending on placement test performance.) Two must be 300-level non-language courses (History 323 may count). (Kansai Gaidai content courses do not count as 300-level courses.) The remaining elective(s) may be taken at any level. Japanese 101, 102, 201, and 202 do not count toward the major.

Arts and Humanities

          AS 238 Pre-Modern Japanese Literature

          AS 247/347 Extraordinary Fiction in Japan and the World

          AS 248/348 Traditional Japanese Theatre

          AS 250/350 The Ebb and Flow: Japanese Women's Literature, the First 1200 Years

          AS 340/401 Modernity in Modern Japanese Fiction

          AS 341/402 Genre in Modern Japanese Literature

          AS 343/403 Who Dunnit and Why? Japanese Detective Fiction, Past and Present

          Film 261 Japanese Cinema

          Phil 240 World Philosophy*

          Rel 244 Introduction to Buddhism*

          Rel 249 Religions of Japan

          Rel 252 Women in Buddhism*

          VAH 131 Introduction to Asian Art

History and Society

          Econ 213 East Asian Economic History and Development*

          Hist 221 History of East Asia to 1800*

          Hist 222 History of East Asia from 1800 to the Present*

          Hist 224 Modern Japan

          Hist 226 History and Science of the Atomic Bombings of Japan

          Hist 323 Gender in Modern Japan

          Hist 325 Tokugawa Japan

          Hist 422 The Pacific War, 1931-1945

          Pol Sci 271 Government and Politics in Japan

          Psych 210 Cultural Psychology*

Minor Requirements

The minor requires six courses. Five courses must be above the 100 level; one course must be at the 300 level. (JPN 101 and 102 do not count toward the minor.)

Two of the following three courses are required:

  • AS 150 Contemporary Japanese Culture and Society
  • Hist 224 Modern Japan
  • Hist 323 Gender in Modern Japan
  • Any Japanese literature course.

In addition, Japanese language proficiency at the 202 level is required. Proficiency is determined by the department.

Students must also complete three electives, with at least one from the category of arts and humanities and one from the category of history and society. (Categories and appropriate courses appear above in the description of the Japanese studies major.)