• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Asian Languages, Asian Studies, Asia Pacific Studies, Language Studies, Asia-Pacific Studies
  • Major code JPNS-MAJ
  • Academic career Undergraduate


Japanese is the national language of Japan, a nation that is not only one of Australia's major trading partners, but is also a country with which many young Australians have deep personal ties. Japanese is a popular foreign language in Australian schools and universities and the depth of the ties between Australia and Japan mean that knowledge of the language will be a valuable asset for many years to come. 

Studying Japanese as a major has many linguistic and cultural benefits that reach well beyond the classroom. In today’s globalised world a strong understanding of Asia, and Japan as one of our most important bilateral partners, is vital. Employers across business, government, the arts and various sectors actively recruit graduates who can demonstrate knowledge of and experience in Japan. 

Students in this major are encouraged to spend time studying at one of the twenty-five tertiary institutions in Japan with which the ANU has ties. This can be done either through intensive in-country study in the summer break, through the Semester in Japan program, or through a year of study in Japan the Year in Asia program. Competitive scholarships are available to qualified students.

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Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this major, students will have the knowledge and skills at an Upper Intermediate level of Japanese to:
1. Express themselves confidently – both verbally and in writing – in modern Japanese in a variety of settings.
2. Recognise and use a broad vocabulary over 1000 kanji characters, and relevant expressions. 
3. Demonstrate independent reading and listening skills to engage with real-world materials with the aid of a dictionary. 
4. Demonstrate the appropriate linguistic skills to respond spontaneously in both speaking and writing to contemporary issues, to state opinions, compose formal essays, and make presentations at a sophisticated level. 
5. Confidently use polite, neutral or informal registers, appropriate to the genre and the audience. 
6. Demonstrate an understanding of socio-cultural issues in past and present Japanese society, including such topics as gender issues, social structures, consumer societies, traditional arts and crafts, and Japan’s position in the world. 

Other Information

A student may not take a course that is a prerequisite or a lower level than a course which they have already passed.

Students that are commencing language studies who have prior knowledge of the language will be required to take a placement test before enrolling for the first time. Students will not be permitted to enrol in a course at a lower than the level they achieve in the placement test, and may be exempted from compulsory courses.

For information on the Japanese language proficiency test please click here

Some of the JPNS course names (and codes) have changed from 2018. The new names are given below together with old codes and names in brackets. Those courses which are affected are given below. 

JPNS1012 Japanese 1: Spoken  (JPNS1012 Spoken Japanese 1)
JPNS1014 Japanese 1: Written   (JPNS1014 Written Japanese A )
JPNS2003 Japanese 2: Spoken   (JPNS2003 Spoken Japanese 2)
JPNS2005 Japanese 2: Written   (JPNS2005 Written Japanese B)
JPNS2012 Japanese 3   (JPNS2012 Spoken Japanese 3)
JPNS2013 Japanese 4   (JPNS2013 Spoken Japanese 4)
JPNS3001 Japanese 5   (JPNS2014 Written Japanese C)
JPNS3002 Japanese 6   (JPNS2015 Written Japanese D)
JPNS3023 Research Topics in Japanese: History & Society   (JPNS3023 Advanced Readings in Japanese A)
JPNS3024 Research Topics in Japanese: International Relations & Politics   (JPNS3024 Advanced Readings in Japanese B)
ASIA2103 Language in Asia and the Pacific (L)   (ASIA2103 Language in Asia (L))
ASIA2098 Asian and Pacific Studies Internship   (ASIA3006 Practical Assignment in Asia and the Pacific)

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This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

6 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
JPNS3002 Japanese 6 6

42 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
JPNS1012 Japanese 1: Spoken 6
JPNS1014 Japanese 1: Written 6
JPNS2003 Japanese 2: Spoken 6
JPNS2005 Japanese 2: Written 6
JPNS2012 Japanese 3 6
JPNS2013 Japanese 4 6
JPNS3001 Japanese 5 6
JPNS2024 Japanese Grammar and Expressions 6
JPNS2525 Learning Language Locally: Japan 6
JPNS3005 Advanced Japanese: Issues in Contemporary Japan 6
JPNS3006 Advanced Japanese: Language in Context 6
JPNS3007 Advanced Japanese: Readings in Culture and Society 6
JPNS3008 Advanced Japanese: Readings in Literature 6
JPNS3012 Teaching Japanese: Content 6
JPNS3014 Teaching Japanese: Method 6
JPNS3013 Japanese - English Translation 6
JPNS3023 Research Topics in Japanese: History & Society 6
JPNS3024 Research Topics in Japanese: International Relations & Politics 6
JPNS3102 Debating Japan: Contemporary Intellectual Debates 6
ASIA2103 Language in Asia and the Pacific (L) 6
ASIA2100 Linguistic Histories in Asia and the Pacific (L) 6
ASIA2098 Asian and Pacific Studies Internship 6-12
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