Japanese | University of Oxford


Japan has a rich traditional culture dating back more than 1,500 years and a modern period distinguished for its vigour and variety; traditional and modern culture are studied through Japanese language sources and the work of Western scholars. In their final year students can choose from specialisations ranging from classical literature and art to modern literature, history, politics, and economics.

The BA in Oriental Studies (Japanese) is a four year course. The course is comprehensive and demanding, revolving around intensive work on the written and spoken language through all four years, combined with both general and specialised study of Japanese culture, civilization and society. The first year is dedicated to intensive work on the Japanese languages and 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 study of civilization, culture and history. In the third and fourth years the regular language work continues, including more detailed study of the classical language. You will also do specialised work 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 with a subsidiary language

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. Alternatively, you may choose options which will enable you to learn the fundamentals of Japanese and Korean, by selecting one of these as a subsidiary language for your degree.