Academic program

The major in Japanese presents an opportunity for an in-depth and focused study of Japanese language and culture. The major places emphasis on the student's acquisition of oral and written language proficiency as well as on the development of cultural awareness and competency. The program strongly recommends that majors spend their junior year at the Associated Kyoto Program or another approved year-long study-abroad program in Japan.

Major Requirements

The major consists of a minimum of twelve courses that must include:

1) Language:
a) JPN 101–102. Beginning Japanese I and II.
JPN 201–202. Intermediate Japanese I and II.
JPN 301–302. Intermediate Japanese III and IV.

Students with previous experience in Japanese who begin their study of Japanese at the second-year level may elect to fulfill this requirement with JPN 201-202, 301-302, 401-402 or the equivalent.

b) JPN 401. Advanced Japanese I or
JPN 402. Advanced Japanese II.

JPN 401 and/or 402 may be used in fulfillment of either this requirement or a) above but not both.

2) Literature and Culture:
a) AS/JA 125. Japanese Literature and Society.

b) Two of the following:
AS/JA 130. Japanese Film.
AS/JA 215. Film, Literature, and the Cultures of Postwar Japan.
AS/JA 261. Cultural History of Japan: From Jōmon Pottery to Manga.
AS/JA s27. Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Students may apply one of the following courses toward the fulfillment of this requirement:
AS/RE 209. Religions of Japan.
AV/AS 236. Japanese Art and Visual Culture.
AV/AS 246. Visual Narratives: Storytelling in East Asian Art.
AV/AS 247. The Art of Zen Buddhism.
AS/RE 348. Epics of Asia: Myth and Religion.
FYS 491. Reading Japan in Multicultural Picture Books.
FYS 501. Japan on Screen.

3) Thesis Sequence:
a) ASIA 320. Individual and Society in East Asia.

b) JPN 457 or 458. Senior Thesis.
Students are expected to utilize some source materials in Japanese when conducting research for the thesis. Qualified students may elect to write the thesis in Japanese.

Courses Taken Abroad

Students may petition the program to have courses taken in their study-abroad program (including the Bates Fall Semester Abroad) applied toward the fulfillment of requirements (1a) and (2b).

Pass/Fail Grading Option

Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses applied toward the Japanese major.

Advanced Placement

Students may receive credit for JPN 102 with a score of four on the Japanese Advanced Placement examination and JPN 201 with a score of five.


A minor requires seven courses, six of which must be in Japanese. At least one of the seven courses must involve a study of literature or culture (FYS 491, 501 may count toward this requirement). A student may petition to have up to three comparable courses, completed at other institutions in either the United States or abroad, applied toward the minor. Advanced Placement courses may not be applied toward the minor. Minors in Japanese may count no more than one course toward both the Asian Studies major and their Japanese minor.

Pass/Fail Grading Option

Pass/fail grading may not be elected for courses toward the minor in Japanese.