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In Asia, the Japanese language is one of the important languages in business, education, technological development, environmental technology, arts, welfare, etc. The Japanese culture is a comprehensive, inclusive, and unique culture harmonized with old traditions and new. The Japanese program at the University of St. Thomas supports students' language acquisition and cultural understanding of Japan and its people.

*Students wishing to major or minor in Japanese may do so by special arrangement with Macalester College and approval of the St. Thomas Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

Objective of the Japanese Program

  • Learn basic and intermediate levels of modern standard Japanese by speaking, listening, writing and reading activities. 
  • Develop an understanding of diverse and similar cultural aspects by reading Japanese essays and short stories, and reflect why and how they formed. 
  • Prepare for the Japanese study abroad program affiliated with Sophia (Tokyo), IES (Tokyo and Nagoya) and Osaka-Gakuin (Osaka) Universities. 
  • Prepare for an internship, the Japanese Teaching Program such as JET and the Japanese proficiency tests when students desire. 
  • Enjoy learning Japanese language and cultures to fulfill goals for communication, culture learning, comparisons and connections with other studies and preparation in multilingual/multi-cultural communities.

The Japanese program strives to:

Courses in Japanese are offered with the assumption that many of the students will be visiting Japan in the near future. Thus, the Japanese program strives to:

  • Lay a solid foundation in the areas of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. All three writing systems (hiragana, katakana, and kanji) are covered. 
  • Give students basic language skills sufficient to manage day-to-day life in Japan. 
  • Promote interest in Japan, Japanese people, and their culture. 
  • Help students fulfill professional and personal endeavors at an international level. 
  • Eliminate fear of speaking Japanese in front of people. 
  • To provide the foundation for earning a major or minor in the language.

Did you know?

  • Japan's four main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu which stretch over the same latitudes as Maine to Florida. 
  • Japanese is spoken by more than 130 million people. 
  • Japanese uses a combination of two native phonetic alphabets, Hiragana and Katakana, and Kanji, adopted Chinese originated characters. 

Contact section coordinator

If you have specific questions or would like further information, please contact:

Akiko Kilau
Japanese instructor