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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.

  • 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.

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.
  • 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. 

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

Akiko Kilau
Japanese instructor