The program in Asian Studies offers courses in Japanese language and culture for any interested students. Some students focus on Japanese language and culture as their major and strive to acquire oral and written language proficiency as well as develop cultural awareness and competency. Other students study Japanese language and culture in order to enrich the study of their other major and become prepared to make a difference in today’s globally interconnected world.

Japan is relevant to everyone.

  • Culture. Are you interested in literature, film, theater, music, cartoon, comics, game, or food from Japan? Do you have friends or family members that speak Japanese?
  • Society. Are you interested in politics, economy, or history? Today’s globalized world cannot be understood without understanding different regions outside the United States. The contributions of China and Japan to the world are both significant and different, and you would want to study both.
  • Science and Technology. Numerous innovations in science and technology have happened in Japan.

What is it like to study Japanese at Bates?

Watch more videos of Bates student voices about studying Japanese language here

How do people use Japanese in their careers?

Jessica Cork, VP of Community Engagement and Corporate Communication for YKK America

Watch more videos about real career paths that use Japanese language here

First-year students are encouraged to

  • start studying Japanese language in Japanese 101 designed for beginners (or take a placement test if you have spoken or studied the language). Learning the language helps you get a deeper insight into Japanese culture and society. We offer four years of language courses. Starting the sequence in your first semester also prepares you best for a semester-long (or year-long) study abroad in Japan in your junior year. Japanese 101 is normally offered in the Fall semester (September – December). Check the schedule of courses for class times.


Learn more