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Japanese at UVa

The Japanese Language Program at UVa is an integral part of the comprehensive curriculum complemented by cultural and literary studies in the original and in English translation.  Our program also introduces you to the world of Classical Japanese.  To learn a foreign language means to rediscover your own culture and nurture your intellectual curiosity while honing your skills in communication.  Whether being mystified by the Japanese style of addressing someone (dictated by social expectations and in-group cohesiveness), or being overwhelmed by the multiple ways to refer to the first-person pronoun “I,” which is simply implied, students in the Japanese Language Program are drawn to these intriguing aspects of Japanese communication style.  Everything is done in an interactive and collaborative environment with the common goal of achieving both spoken and written fluency.  From study abroad to cultural enrichment activities on-Grounds organized by Japan Club or Shea House (Language House) to short conversations held in a hallway, students seize every opportunity to practice Japanese on a daily basis. 







外国語を学ぶということは、言語学習を通して異文化について学び、その文化におけるコミュニケーションスキルを習得すると同時に、自らの文化・歴史観・価値観を再認識し、自身を振り返るという重要な意義を持ちます。バージニア大学日本語科では、言語学習のみならず、文語や現代•近代•古典文学などの様々な角度から日本文化におけるコミュニケーションを段階的に学習・考察し、そして更に実践へと繋げられる知識とスキルを養うことを目標に取り組んでいます。単語や文法項目を追う知識詰め込み型の教育に見られるような指導ではなく、社会言語学・心理学の観点や、日本での常識やマナーなどの側面を意識した「実践で使える日本語」を目標においています。また、日本語•文学専攻や日本への留学はもとより、ラングイッジハウス(Shea House)日本語フロアーでの寮生活、ジャパンクラブなどの学生団体の活動、地域日本人コミュニティーとの交流、日本UVAクラブ(UVA Club of Japan)との連携、他大学の日本語講師や先輩•卒業生との情報交換など、学習者一人一人が様々な体験を通して言語能力と文化能力を養うことができるプログラム促進を心がけています。



Why Study Japanese?

Anime, manga, Sony, Honda, karate, sushi, Zen, Nintendo, J-pop, ninja, kimono, Hello Kitty, origami, woodblock prints, Kurosawa, Murakami—whatever your antenna may have picked up, Japan, the size of California, with half the population of USA, has been transmitting for decades the wonders of its cultural tradition and advanced technology to the whole world. Whether in business, engineering, politics, literature or fine art, you find yourself connected to a nation with the world’s third largest GDP and the third largest spoken language community in the virtual world.  Despite its very limited natural resources, Japan files over 400,000 patent applications annually while preserving ancient rituals and traditions that are deeply embedded in their daily life. The origin of Japanese written language begins around the fifth or sixth century A.D., when “study abroad” students to China returned with the knowledge of the language, which has been happily adopted and modified by the Japanese people over the centuries. Like an old temple quietly standing side by side with the super-modern high-rises, Japanese language has stood the test of time and continues to excite the young and old from all over the world. 


Speak Japan

Pursuing Japan

A number of students have travelled to Japan to work or study after learning to speak, read, and write Japanese! We've had some of these students write essays about their experience, essays you can read below!

UVa Japanese Students in Action

2016 JAPN 2020 Project "Messages from Senpai先輩 to Koohai後輩” —The resources for the pre-college students and their teachers

The 2nd Year Japanese students have illustrated their own ideas on how their experience as Japanese learners can help the younger students learn Japanese in the future. Each group showcased their collaborated work as well as their Japanese skills (without the instructor’s extensive corrections) in the proposed product. They hope that the ideas presented and the voice chosen behind these products can inspire the younger students to learn Japanese language and culture and help support the Japanese educators in the Virginia schools.