Japanese language and studies


Convenor: Dr Etsuko Toyoda

Japanese placement test enquiries: Dr Yasuhisa Watanabe

Study broad and exchange discipline advisor: Dr Jun Ohashi

Japan's position in Asia and the world is one full of apparent contradictions and unexpected outcomes. How did one of the oldest political and economic systems survive complete defeat in the Pacific War and rise to power again in the 1980s? Considering this influential economy, how do we explain rising figures of unemployment and retrenchment? In a frequently conservative society, how do we account for the radical and often groundbreaking achievements of Japanese artists in the field of popular and underground culture? How are these cultural forms translated into commodities consumed in other Asian and non-Asian societies?

The study of Japanese language and culture gives the individual insight not only into a deep and diverse culture but also provides important contrasts when considering various nations' roles in the Asia Pacific region. Due to its geographic isolation, Japan is in some ways unrelated to its Asian neighbours. Yet in other areas - such as religion and philosophy - Japan is firmly entrenched in the Asian community. An understanding of Japanese language and culture contributes to students' wider understanding of these complex and fascinating cultural, historical, political and economic flows in Asia.

Japanese language classes cater for a range of competencies, from beginners level for students with little or no knowledge of the language to more advanced levels for students with prior experience. Students will receive a comprehensive grounding in Japanese language with opportunities to focus on social and cultural areas of interest that include Japanese art and architecture, history, law, politics and popular culture.

Students who develop a sound understanding of Japanese language and culture will develop transferable and highly valued skills that will enhance their career options. These include professional careers in fields of government, industry and commerce, teaching, publishing and translation. Graduates are able to expand their knowledge through an articulated structure of higher degree study options at the University of Melbourne. The University has long established partnerships in student exchange and research with over a dozen of Japan's elite universities.

Language Placement Test

Careers for Japanese

There are many career fields which relate to studies in Japanese. In choosing your career path, it is important to reflect on the skills you have learned through your major, the ones you prefer using and the careers which are most strongly related.

Download Careers for Japanese Majors/
Diploma of Languages in Japanese.pdf

For more information on Career planning please see the Faculty of Arts Career planning web page.

Ways to study Japanese

Undergraduate students can study Japanese as:

Japanese can also be studied through:

At the graduate level, Japanese studies offer courses for:

Japanese can also be a component in an Asian studies program at either undergraduate or graduate level.

Available subjects

The Asia Institute offers a range of subjects in Japanese Language and Studies. Some examples include:

  • Japanese language at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels
  • Reading Japanese Literature
  • Contemporary Japan
  • Japanese Through the Media
  • Social Problems in Japan

See the full list of subjects in the Handbook

Japanese Language Other Than English (LOTE) accreditation examination

The Institute holds examinations for LOTE accreditation for prospective teachers of Japanese in June and November each year. The examination consists of written and oral components. Further information on how to apply, dates and fees can be found on the LOTE accreditation exams web page.

Web resources