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

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-plus 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 on the Year in Asia program. Competitive scholarships are available to qualified students.


Learning Outcomes

  1. Express themselves confidently both verbally and in writing in modern Japanese in a variety of settings.

  2. Demonstrate independent reading and listening skills to engage with real-world materials and infer authors' meaning in newspapers, magazines, and literary texts in Japanese.

  3. 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.

  4. Engage with authentic media such as television news broadcasts, movies, literature, academic essays, and critical discourse by summarising, analysing, evaluating and criticising their content, individually and in groups.

  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

Students with previous “language experience or exposure” are required to take a language proficiency assessment to ensure enrolment at the most appropriate level. 


Relevant past experience includes:

  • Previous study of the language (both formal and informal, for example, but not limited to, at school, or, home, or through online activities, etc.)
  • Being exposed to the language in childhood via a family member or friend
  • Travel or living in a country where the language is spoken
  • The language being spoken in your home (even if you do not speak it yourself)


Students who are not sure if they need to take a proficiency assessment should seek advice from the course or language convenor. 


Students who intentionally misrepresent their language proficiency level may be investigated under the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 as having failed to comply with assessment directions and having sought unfair advantage. This may result in a penalty such as reduced grades or failure of the course.


Students are not permitted to enrol in a language course below one that they have already successfully completed, except with permission of the language and/or course convenor.

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 the completion of the following course(s):

JPNS3002 Japanese 6 (6 units)

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

ASIA2098 Asian and Pacific Studies Internship (12 units)

ASIA2100 Linguistic Histories in Asia and the Pacific (L) (6 units)

ASIA2103 Language in Asia and the Pacific (L) (6 units)

JPNS1012 Japanese 1: Spoken (6 units)

JPNS1014 Japanese 1: Written (6 units)

JPNS2003 Japanese 2: Spoken (6 units)

JPNS2005 Japanese 2: Written (6 units)

JPNS2012 Japanese 3 (6 units)

JPNS2013 Japanese 4 (6 units)

JPNS3001 Japanese 5 (6 units)

JPNS2024 Japanese Grammar and Expressions (6 units)

JPNS2525 Learning Language Locally: Japan (6 units)

JPNS3005 Advanced Japanese: Issues in Contemporary Japan (6 units)

JPNS3006 Advanced Japanese: Language in Context (6 units)

JPNS3007 Advanced Japanese: Readings in Culture and Society (6 units)

JPNS3008 Advanced Japanese: Readings in Literature (6 units)

JPNS3012 Teaching Japanese: Content (6 units)

JPNS3013 Japanese - English Translation (6 units)

JPNS3014 Teaching Japanese: Method (6 units)

JPNS3023 Research Topics in Japanese: History & Society (6 units)

JPNS3024 Research Topics in Japanese: International Relations & Politics (6 units)

JPNS3102 Debating Japan: Contemporary Intellectual Debates (6 units)

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