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Learning Japanese develops critical competencies that will benefit you throughout your life.  Choosing to study Japanese shows that you are not afraid of a challenge; achieving proficiency in it is proof of your discipline, tenacity, and adaptability.

Native and Heritage Speakers of Japanese: Please see the Native and Heritage Speakers page for additional details on this degree path. 

The long-term goal of the Japanese Language Program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is to produce learners of Japanese who possess the linguistic and cultural competence to express themselves in a culturally coherent and appropriate manner when interacting with native speakers of Japanese.  In the beginning levels, the focus of instruction is on oral interaction.  This solid foundation in speaking and listening supports the subsequent development of competency in the Japanese reading and writing system.   

Students who choose UMSL will benefit from faculty who are dedicated to creating a challenging and supportive learning environment.  They will engage with the language and culture in the classroom, out of the classroom through on-campus events and Japan-America Student Association involvement, and in a variety of study abroad opportunities.  They will join a vibrant community of learners who share a passion for language study!

Knowledge of Japanese opens up more opportunities in the job market.  Japan is one of the U.S's top trading partners and the U.S.-Japan economic relationship is one of the most significant in the world.  Japan is the second largest source of foreign direct investment into the United States and the U.S. State Department has designated Japanese a "critical language".  Candidates with Japanese proficiency are more attractive to both Japanese companies and to the many companies that do business in and with Japan.

Japanese skills give you direct access to Japan's cultural products.  Anime, manga, and J-Pop are popular worldwide, but only a small fraction of Japanese media is ever translated into English.  Knowledge of Japanese will empower you to dive deeper into Japan's rich cultural heritage, which spans from "The Tale of Genji" to "Attack on Titan" and beyond.

For even more reasons, visit The Japan Foundation.

Required Courses Title # of Credit Hours
Japanese 2101 Intermediate Japanese I 5
Japanese 2102 Intermediate Japanese II 5
Japanese 2170 Kanji: A Radical Approach 3
Japanese 3201 Intermediate Japanese III 4
Japanese 3202 Intermediate Japanese IV 4
Japanese 3280 Readings in Japanese 3
Japanese 4301 Advanced Japanese I 3
Japanese 4302 Advanced Japanese II 3
Japanese 4380 Advanced Readings in Japanese 3
Select six hours of the following* 6
Anthro/Hist 2420 Maiko, Maids, and Masako: Women in Japanese Cultural History
Anthro/Hist 2430 Ghosts, Goblins, and Godzillas
Anthro/Hist 2425 Food and Drink in Japan: A Cultural History
Anthro/Hist 3218 Visual and Material Culture of Japan
Japanese 1005 Practicum in East Asian Calligraphy
Japanese 1011 Anime Nation: Popular Culture in Japan
Japanese 2150 Classical Japanese Literature in Translation
Japanese 2191 Special Topics in Japanese Culture
Japanese 3210 Japanese Culture and Society
Japanese 3211 Topics in Japanese Culture
Total Hours 39

 * Only three hours may be taken at the 1000 level.

  • All majors must meet the general education requirements of the university in addition to completing degree-specific curriculum requirements.
  • All courses for the major must be passed with a grade of C- or better. No course required for the major may be taken on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (s/u) basis with the exception of those taken abroad as part of a university program that has received departmental approval.
  • Degree Overview Page
Required Courses Title # of Credit Hours
Japanese 2102 Intermediate Japanese II 5
Japanese 3201 Intermediate Japanese III 4
Japanese 3202 Intermediate Japanese IV 4
Choose one course in Japanese Studies 3
Total Hours 16
  • A minor in Japanese requires the completion of four courses in the language beyond the basic foundation sequence (Language 1001, Language 1002, and Language 2101).
  • Transfer students must complete at least two courses in residence at UMSL.
  • All courses must be passed with a grade of C- or better.
  • Upon completion of minor requirements, submit completed application to department advisor.
  • Students must also process the Declaration of Major/Minor form through the A&S Dean’s Office.
  • Minor is officially recorded on transcript at the time of graduation.