Japanese Studies

Program Description

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.


Program Requirements

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.)

Course Listing

Course level:
100 | 200 | 300 | 400
JPN-101 Elementary Japanese
Introduction to the fundamentals of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students master hiragana and katakana and learn basic Chinese characters as they are used to write Japanese. Students shop for various items, describe objects, use counters, ask prices, and hold basic conversations all in Japanese. The course also acquaints students with basic patterns, ritual greetings and phrases, and cultural aspects embedded within the use of language.


JPN-102 Elementary Japanese
Introduction to the fundamentals of speaking, listening, reading and writing. Students master hiragana and katakana and learn basic Chinese characters as they are used to write Japanese. Students shop for various items, describe objects, use counters, ask prices, and hold basic conversations all in Japanese. The course also acquaints students with basic patterns, ritual greetings and phrases, and cultural aspects embedded within the use of language.


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JPN-201 Intermediate Japanese
Extension of beginning Japanese. Building on the basics, the course emphasizes communication. Students learn to ask and give directions, use honorific and humble verbs, conduct interviews, and discuss family and work situations. Chinese characters (kanji) are introduced at a more rapid rate, and students are able to read and write simple texts and some authentic materials.


JPN-202 Intermediate Japanese
Extension of beginning Japanese. Building on the basics, the course emphasizes communication. Students learn to ask and give directions, use honorific and humble verbs, conduct interviews, and discuss family and work situations. Chinese characters (kanji) are introduced at a more rapid rate, and students are able to read and write simple texts and some authentic materials.


JPN-203 Advanced Intermediate Japanese
A language course to prepare students for a possible major or minor in Japanese Studies. The course presents grammar and vocabulary at a faster pace and in broader topics and situations than in the traditional intermediate language course, in order to obtain higher proficiency in both conversation and reading/writing. Also, the course introduces students to skills for beginning independent research and study of materials of their own interests in the field of Japanese Studies.


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JPN-301 Advanced Japanese
Continuation of intermediate course. The course refines and integrates skills learned in intermediate level to allow students to handle more complex communications and comprehend more advanced readings with an emphasis on reading and writing kanji.


JPN-302 Advanced Japanese
Continuation of intermediate course. The course refines and integrates skills learned in intermediate level to allow students to handle more complex communications and comprehend more advanced readings with an emphasis on reading and writing kanji.


JPN-303 Adv Reading, Comp & Conv
A focus on the development of speaking in honorific language, developing proficiency in reading journalistic style, and becoming more accurate in writing short essays. Discussions are based on advanced-level readings on contemporary issues. Readings include various essays, newspaper articles, and short stories. Students increase their ability to use more sophisticated expressions in both oral and written form.


JPN-304 Adv Reading, Comp & Conv
A focus on the development of speaking in honorific language, developing proficiency in reading journalistic style, and becoming more accurate in writing short essays. Discussions are based on advanced-level readings on contemporary issues. Readings include various essays, newspaper articles, and short stories. Students increase their ability to use more sophisticated expressions in both oral and written form.


JPN-305 Advanced Japanese : Contemporary Issues in Japanese Society
Study of selected themes in contemporary Japanese society and culture, through reading and discussion of contemporary debates in periodicals, news sources and other media. Readings will focus on such themes as work and social pressure, gender inequality, social alienation, declining birthrates, aging and social support, media images, and education. Conducted in Japanese.


JPN-306 Advanced Japanese: Discourse and Culture in Second Language Learning
Study of the significance of cultural knowledge in understanding the meaning of language. The course examines how language learners understand values, expectations and appropriate behavior in Japanese culture, as well as the theoretical underpinnings of pragmatics and discourse analysis.


JPN-308 Business Japanese
Advanced Japanese course focusing on the effective communication skills essential in professional fields and the understanding of the Japanese business world. Students develop their verbal, listening, reading, and writing proficiency in business Japanese and acquire culturally appropriate inter-personal communication skills needed to deal with a variety of business situations. Students are expected to effectively employ their language skills to explore and analyze current business trends and issues in Japan. Conducted in Japanese.


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JPN-450 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


JPN-451 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


JPN-452 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


JPN-453 Individualized Study-Tutorial
Individualized tutorial not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


JPN-460 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


JPN-461 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


JPN-462 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


JPN-463 Individualized Study-Research
Individualized research not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor graded S/U


JPN-470 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


JPN-471 Individualized Study-Intern
Internship counting toward the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


JPN-472 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded A-F


JPN-473 Individualized Study-Internship
Internship not counting in the minimum requirements in a major or minor, graded S/U


JPN-474 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded A-F, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office.


JPN-475 Summer Internship
Summer Internship graded S/U, counting in the minimum requirements for a major or minor only with written permission filed in the Registrar's Office


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