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Japanese Program


Why Study Japanese?

Did you know that seven U.S. federal agencies recognize that having Japanese-speaking citizens is important for our country’s future, that twelve Japanese scientists have won Nobel prizes in the sciences in just the past few years, and that UNESCO has added Japanese traditional cuisine, washoku, to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list?  

There are numerous reasons why you should study Japanese, especially in Michigan and at the University of Michigan. Michigan is one of the top five states in the nation in terms of the number of students studying Japanese. Japan is a leading investor in Michigan, with 469 Japanese-owned facilities and 37,000 persons employed by these facilities as of 2013.

The Japanese Language Program at the University of Michigan is the largest such program in the state. In addition to core (first through third-year) Japanese language courses, the program offers content-based language learning, including STEM sections above the First-Year core level, media Japanese, academic Japanese, business Japanese, translation, calligraphy, and Japanese taught through anime and manga. The University of Michigan is also an official testing site for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).

There are four C’s in the Japanese Language Program at the University of Michigan - Cool and FunCultureCareer, and Connection

  • Cool and Fun: You will enjoy not only studying Japanese in class, but also attending extra-curricular activities like the Conversation Table, Sushi Table and Japan-related events. 
  • Culture: Language learners are comfortable with other cultures – a sought-after 21st century skill in today’s global society. You will enjoy learning about culture in-depth, both in and outside of the classroom. Also, there are many opportunities to study and intern in Japan, as well as opportunities for scholarships to fund these experiences. 
  • Career: Over 790,000 people work for Japan-affiliated companies in the U.S. By studying Japanese at the University of Michigan, you will have the opportunity to gain sufficient Japanese language proficiency and cultural knowledge before job hunting. After graduation, many students who have studied in the Japanese Language Program work as a bridge between their home country and Japan. 
  • Connection: In the Japanese Language Program, you will gain global and critical thinking skills. Through learning Japanese, many new doors will open to you. 

The textbook Tobira, which is used all over the world, was written by the instructors at the University of Michigan. The term Tobira means “gate” in Japanese. You will open a gate to the world through your Japanese studies.

Japanese Language Courses

Fall Courses

ASIANLAN 125: First Year Japanese I (5 credits)

ASIANLAN 123: First Year Japanese through Anime and Manga I (3 credits) (for students who have some Japanese language experience but not enough to place into 126)

ASIANLAN 225: Second Year Japanese I (5 credits)

ASIANLAN 325: Third Year Japanese I (4 credits)

Winter Courses

ASIANLAN 126: First Year Japanese II (5 credits)

ASIANLAN 124: First Year Japanese through Anime and Manga II (3 credits) (for students who took ASIANLAN 123 place between ASIANLAN 126 and ASIANLAN 225)

ASIANLAN 226: Second Year Japanese II (5 credits) (completion of this course with a grade of C- or better meets the LSA Language Requirement)

ASIANLAN 326: Third Year Japanese II (4 credits)

Other Courses (these courses do not stick to only being taught in Fall or Winter)

ASIANLAN 128: Basics of Kanji (2 credits)

ASIANLAN 228: Japanese Calligraphy (1 credit)

ASIANLAN 425: Media Japanese I (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 426: Advanced Spoken Japanese (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 427: Readings in Japanese I (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 428: Readings in Japanese II (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 429: Business Japanese I (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 430: Business Japanese II (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 431: Contemporary Japanese Social Science Texts (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 433: Classical Japanese I (4 credits) - contact the department if interested in this course

ASIANLAN 434: Classical Japanese II (4 credits) -  contact the department if interested in this course

ASIANLAN 439: Academic Japanese I (2 credits)

ASIANLAN 440: Academic Japanese II (2 credits)

ASIANLAN 441: Practicum in Japanese Translation (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 442: Practicum in Japanese Interpreting (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 450: Japanese Pedagogy I (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 492: Introduction to Japanese Linguistics (3 credits)

ASIANLAN 494: Advanced Japanese Linguistics (3 credits)

Intensive Regular Academic Year Japanese Courses:

ASIANLAN 129: Intensive Japanese I (10 credits) - offered through the Residential College; Fall term

ASIANLAN 229: Intensive Japanese II (10 credits) - offered through the Residential College; Winter term (completion of this course with a grade of C- or better meets the LSA Language Requirement)

Summer Language Institute Japanese Courses:

ASIANLAN 127: Intensive First Year Japanese (10 credits)

ASIANLAN 227: Intensive Second Year Japanese (10 credits) (completion of this course with a grade of C- or better meets the LSA Language Requirement)

Please note that changes are being made to our Summer Language Institute, once plans are finialzed we will share more on our website. 

Resources for Students of Japanese

Univeristy of Michigan Links
Study Abroad Opportunities in Japan

Summer Intensive Japanese Programs in the U.S.

Useful Japanese Links

Useful Links for Learning Japanese

Textbook sites:

Online Dictionaries:


Information on Japanese Typing

Japanese Internship and Job Opportunities 

Japanese Bookstores

Japanese Search Engines and News

Professional Organizations for Japanese Study