Japanese Studies Course
With globalization, there are an increasing number of people in many countries, particularly in Asian countries, that are interested in learning about Japan and the Japanese language. Thus, the need for qualified Japanese language teachers is also increasing. As the course name suggests, the Japanese Studies Course offers a wide-ranging curriculum to develop internationally-minded people who have a deep understanding and knowledge of Japanese culture, society, history, the Japanese language and Japanese language teaching, and at the same time, have good communication skills in English or another language, and who are able to play an active role in the international cultural exchange field as a Japanese teacher in the future. Kanazawa University is the only national university on the Japanese Sea coast that offers a fully-fledged Japanese language teacher training curriculum (equivalent to a Japanese language teaching major).
Philosophy and Goal of the Course
In order to obtain a deep understanding and knowledge of Japan and the Japanese language from an international perspective, it is important to try to look at Japan and the Japanese language from the outside. Working closely with the School of International Studies, this course aims to provide students with an international outlook (especially those who can play an active role as a Japanese language teacher in the international exchange field). They are equipped with a firm understanding of the globalization of modern society from a macroscopic viewpoint, come to possess excellent communication skills in other languages, and develop a deep understanding and knowledge of Japan and the Japanese language.
This course aims to develop talented individuals that are capable of playing an active role in the field of international exchange such as in the field of Japanese language teaching. In order to acquire a firm educational foundation in the basic disciplines and to become a person with a genuine international perspective, our students develop international communication skills in English and/or other foreign languages. They also develop a new sense of values and learn to be receptive and open-minded in looking at the world and different cultures from diverse standpoints without losing a sense of one’s own identity. Students graduate with a profound level of knowledge, international skills that are useful for understanding and explaining Japanese culture, society, history and Japanese language as well as Japanese language teaching skills.
This course has been developed from its previous form into a Japanese Language and Culture Education Program established within the Human Environment Course in the School of Education at Kanazawa University in 2000. In the first year, students take mostly general academic subjects as well as SIS Core Curriculum within International Studies including a variety of introductory courses. In the second year, students take mostly SIS Core Curriculum as well as basic subjects related to Japanese language and Japanese language education to acquire basic disciplines required in the College of Human and Social Sciences or in the School of International Studies. In the third and fourth years, students study deeply and intensively through the subjects mostly required for Japanese language teacher training (major-equivalent). Seminars and practicum such as “Pedagogical Methodology of Japanese” and “Practicum in Teaching Japanese to Speakers of Other Languages” are offered through the second to fourth year. Real teaching can also be practiced mostly as a teaching assistant for Japanese classes held at the Kanazawa University International Student Center. In the summer of the fourth year, an optional two-week practicum at Beijing Normal University in China is available. We also give support to pass the Japanese-language teaching competency test while at university.
Field of Study
In the School of Japanese Studies, studies of Japanese culture, Japanese language structure (linguistics) and Japanese language education are required for writing a graduation thesis. In this course, students study Japanese culture and language with an international perspective, use their acquired knowledge to study effective teaching methods and materials for teaching Japanese to speakers of other languages. Studies can be enhanced in the School of International Studies focusing on the key word “international” in the College of Human and Social Sciences at Kanazawa University, which has a number of faculty staff in the human science and social science fields.
Noteworthy Fields of Study and Faculty Staff Members
The current course of study has been developed by faculty members who were involved in the Japanese language and Culture Education Course in the Human Environment Department in the School of Education at Kanazawa University since the course was established in 2000 and which achieved significant results in Japanese language teacher training. Joined also by new faculty members with additional fields of study, the course has further been expanded and improved. The following main faculty members teach specialized courses within their fields of studies. Kazuo Katoh (Japanese Language Structure, Sociolinguistics), Nozomi Fukasawa (Japanese Language Education), Kunihiko Shimizu (Japanese Intellectual History), Hisao Ueda (Modern Japanese History). The latest research by these faculty members who are active in academic societies of various fields of study such as Japanese culture, Japanese language structure and Japanese language education will be incorporated and developed organically into the Japanese Studies Course.
Feedback from Students
I had an interest in Japanese language education when I was in high school. When I had an opportunity to speak with international students, I found that since I was using the Japanese language unconsciously looking at the language objectively was very interesting. In this course, you can learn about Japanese language itself as well as about various areas necessary for Japanese language education. Doing things and activities together with Japanese learners is a lot of fun.
Through speaking with my professors, I became interested in the Japanese language and Japanese language education, and decided to take this course. There are so many things that we don’t know about our mother tongue, and every class I attend is quite stimulating. In addition to attending the lectures, we also have opportunities to do presentations such as the analysis of synonyms and trial lessons. It is hard work but rewarding.
Careers after Graduation
Teaching Japanese in or outside Japan, international exchange fields in national or local governments, Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers, foreign companies or Japanese companies that have overseas divisions, NGOs, international NPOs, mass media, teachers, advancement to graduate schools, etc.
Bachelor: International Studies
Certifications: junior high school teaching category 1 (Japanese, Civics, English), senior high school teaching category 1 (Japanese, social studies, English), Japanese Language Education major or sub-major equivalent certification, interpreter (after passing the appropriate interpreter exam)
Course Credit System
In the first year, in addition to general academic subjects, “Introduction to International Studies” (2 credits) and “Japanese Culture” (2 credits) are required as SIS Core Curriculum. At the beginning of the second year, after a Japanese Studies Course is chosen, 12 credits from English communication subjects, 10 credits from international studies subjects, 8 credits from Japanese culture subjects, and basic subjects related to Japanese language and Japanese language education are required to further deepen the understanding of the international community. Furthermore in the third and fourth years, specialized courses (lectures, seminars and practicum) required for Japanese language teacher training (five fields of “society, culture and region” “language and society” “language and psychology” “language and education” “language”) are selected according to the desired level (Japanese language education major equivalent 50 credits or sub-major 26 credits) in order to acquire the knowledge and skills to become a Japanese language teacher. The Japanese Studies Course is completed through attending “Seminar in Japanology” (4 credits) and writing graduation thesis (6 credits).
Subjects Unique to the Course
The main purpose of this course is to train students to teach Japanese to speakers of other languages in addition to offering subjects common to other courses in the School of International Studies (common college subjects, English communication subjects, international studies subjects and Japanese culture subjects). It offers various subjects (five fields of “society, culture and region” “language and society” “language and psychology” “language and education” “language”) based on the “fields of study required for Japanese language teaching training” as described in the report made by Cultural Affairs Agency in March 2000 in the survey on Japanese language teacher training so that the students can acquire Japanese language education major equivalent certification (50 credits). Kanazawa University is the only national university on the Japanese Sea coast side that offers a fully-fledged Japanese language teacher training curriculum (equivalent to a Japanese language teaching major). As well as the fundamental subjects concerning Japanese culture, Japanese language structure and Japanese education, subjects to increase practical skills for a Japanese language teacher are comprehensively provided such as “Pedagogical Methodology of Japanese” and “Practicum in Teaching Japanese to Speakers of Other Languages”.
Specialized Course Subjects
Vocabulary and Meaning of Japanese, Characters and Notation in Japanese, Japanese Linguistics from a Language Teaching Perspective A & B, History of Japanese Language A & B, History of Japanese Education, Second Language Acquisition Theory, Japanese Textbook Research, Pedagogical Methodology of Japanese A & B, Practicum in Teaching Japanese to Speakers of Other Languages A & B, Japanese Language Education and Computers, Evaluation Methods in Japanese Education, Cultural Understanding and Psychology, Phonetics, Linguistics 1 & 2, Contrastive Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Practicum in Sociolinguistics, Cognitive Linguistics, Seminar in Japanology A & B