You do not need to have any prior experience of Japanese in order to apply to study this language at undergraduate level.
The BA in Oriental Studies (Japanese) is a four year course. The course is comprehensive and demanding, comprising intensive work on the written and spoken language through all four years and both general and specialised study of Japanese culture, civilisation and society. The first year is dedicated to intensive work on the Japanese languages and general study of the history and culture of Japan, and East Asia in general. All students spend their second year at Kobe University in Japan for continued extensive language study, combined with some study of civilisation, culture and history. In the third and fourth years the regular language work continues, now including detailed study of the classical Japanese language. Students will also do specialised work, much of it based to some extent on Japanese language material, within subject areas chosen from a wide array of available options, including both classical and modern literature, linguistics, pre-modern and modern history, anthropology, politics, economics, and art.
Japanese has been taught as a degree subject at Oxford since 1963, and Oxford is now a major national and international centre for the study of Japan. The University currently has sixteen senior faculty members and three full-time language instructors engaged in research and teaching in fields related to Japan. It is possible to take Chinese, Korean or Tibetan studies as a subsidiary language for the BA in Oriental Studies (Japanese) degree, which will give you the opportunity to study the subsidiary language to intermediate level.
The number of undergraduates reading for the degree of BA Honours in Oriental Studies (Japanese) ranges between fifty and sixty, and there are usually ten or so graduate students in Japanese in the Faculty of Oriental Studies at any one time.
The BA Honours course in Japanese at Oxford aims:
- to give students a thorough grounding in modern written and spoken Japanese, and in the written classical language;
- to ensure that they have a good general knowledge of Japanese civilization, culture, history and society; and
- to allow them to do in-depth, specialised study from a range of subjects, including both classical and modern literature, linguistics, pre-modern and modern history, anthropology, politics, economics, and art.
It is possible to take Chinese, Korean, or Tibetan as a subsidiary language for the BA in Oriental Studies (Japanese) degree.
For further information please refer to the Undergraduate 2019-20 Handbook and the central Admissions pages about this degree, here.