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Willamette University

900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301

503-370-6300 voice

Japanese and Chinese Studies View this department's website

The Department of Japanese and Chinese offers a major in Japanese Studies, a minor in Japanese and Chinese language courses.

The Japanese Studies major is an interdisciplinary major combining language study with related courses on the history, literature, art, religion, and culture of Japan. Because of the significant linguistic and cultural links between China and Japan, the study of Chinese history, culture and language may also serve as a significant component of the Japanese Studies major. Students majoring in Japanese Studies are encouraged to take advantage of the Semester-in-Japan Program offered at our Sister Institution, Tokyo International University, in Kawagoe, Japan, as well as the opportunities for cultural exchange offered by the presence of Tokyo International University of America (TIUA) adjacent to our campus.

The Japanese Studies major is structured to include: (1) a broad introduction to East Asian civilization (one credit); (2) the study of Japanese language through the fourth year (four credits); (3) courses on Japanese literature, culture and history (three credits); (4) an elective concentration consisting of courses on history, religion, art and culture of Japan and/or China (three credits); and 5) a Senior Year Experience (one credit) involving a writing project which will integrate and consolidate knowledge and understanding of Japan which the student has gained through the program’s course of studies.

A variety of career opportunities are available to students who graduate with a strong grounding in the study of Japanese. These include the JET program, foreign service, international trade, graduate study, and teaching of English as a second language.

Requirements for the Japanese Studies Major (12 Credits)

Core courses

  • HIST 117 (TH) East Asian Civilization to 1800 (1) or
  • HIST 118 (TH) East Asian Civilization Since 1800 (1)
  • JAPN 201 (W) Modern Japanese Society & Culture (1)
  • JAPN 499 (W) Senior Seminar (1)

Four credits from the following (4)

  • JAPN 331 Third Year Japanese (1)
  • JAPN 332 Third Year Japanese II (1)
  • JAPN 430 Japanese Reading and Composition I (1)
  • JAPN 431 Japanese Reading and Composition II (1)
  • JAPN 432 Conversational Japanese I (1) and
  • JAPN 434 Conversational Japanese II (1)
  • JAPN 490 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1)
  • JAPN 491 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1)

Two credits from the following (2)

  • JAPN 314 (IT; W; 4th Sem Lang Req) Japanese Literature in Translation (1)
  • JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema (1)
  • HIST 380 History of Traditional Japan (1)
  • HIST 381 (TH) History of Modern Japan (1)
  • HIST 445 Postwar Japan (1)

Three credits from the following (3)


  • ARTH 213 (IT; TH) History of the Art of China (1)
  • ARTH 214 (IT; TH) History of the Art of Japan (1)
  • CHNSE 232 Intermediate Chinese II (1)*
  • CHNSE 254 Language, Ethnicity, and Folklore in China (1)
  • CHNSE 332 Advanced Chinese: Reading the Humanities (1)*
  • HIST 383 Mao's China (1)
  • JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema (1)
  • REL 135 Religions of Asia (1)
  • REL 262 Japanese Religions (1)

* Only one of these Chinese courses may be used.

Requirements for the Japanese Minor (5 Credits)

All four of the following courses (4)

One course from the following (1)

  • JAPN 431 Japanese Reading and Composition II (1)
  • JAPN 490 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1)
  • JAPN 491 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1)


Requirement for Chinese Studies Minor (5 Credits)

Three credits from the following (3)

  • CHNSE 231 Intermediate Chinese I (1)
  • CHNSE 232 Intermediate Chinese II (1)
  • CHNSE 331 (IT) Advanced Chinese: Reading the Media (1)
  • CHNSE 332 (IT) Advanced Chinese: Reading the Humanities (1)
  • CHNSE 490-491 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1)*

Two credits from the following from at least two different departments (2)

  • ANTH 233 (US) Peoples and Cultures of Asia (1)
  • ARTH 212 (IT; TH) History of the Arts of Asia (1)
  • ARTH 213 (IT; TH) History of the Art in China (1)
  • ARTH 214 (IT; TH) History of the Art of Japan (1)
  • CHNSE 252 (US) Rites of Passage in Chinese Societies (1) [Crosslisted with ANTH 252]
  • CHNSE 254 Language, Ethnicity, and Folklore in China (1)
  • CHNSE 256 Chinese Folklore in Films (1)
  • HIST 233 History and Cultures/Silk Road (1) [Crosslisted with REL 233]
  • HIST 265 (TH) Late Imperial China (1)
  • HIST 282 (TH) Twentieth-Century China (1)
  • HIST 383 Mao's China 1949-1979 (1)
  • HIST 445 Postwar Japan (1)
  • JAPN 240 Japanese Language and Culture (1)
  • JAPN 314 Japanese Literature in Translation (1)
  • JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema (1)
  • REL 239 Introduction to Chinese Religion (1)
  • REL 356 Taoism (1)

Faculty

  • Ronald P. Loftus, Professor of Japanese, Chair
  • Miho Fujiwara, Assistant Professor of Japanese
  • Yue Jay Chen, Instructor of Chinese
  • Kumiko Koishi, Instructor of Japanese
  • Juwen Zhang, Luce Junior Professor of Chinese

Course Listings

JAPN 131 Elementary Japanese I (1)

Introduction to the fundamental structure of Japanese. Classroom instruction will consist of intensive aural-oral drills as well as reading and writing based on assigned texts. Approximately 100 kanji in addition to hiragana and katakana will be introduced. There will be periodic quizzes, a midterm and the final exam.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Koishi, Loftus

JAPN 132 Elementary Japanese II (1)

Introduction to the fundamental structure of Japanese. Classroom instruction will consist of intensive aural-oral drills as well as reading and writing based on assigned texts. Approximately 100 kanji in addition to hiragana and katakana will be introduced. There will be periodic quizzes, a midterm and the final exam.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Koishi, Loftus

JAPN 201 (W) Modern Japanese Society and Culture (1)

An introduction to modern Japan through its social institutions, beliefs and cultural practices. Representative topics include: marriage and family life, child-rearing, education, religion, the role of women, attitude toward work and leisure, organization of the workplace, and social issues such as crime and delinquency. Writing-centered. Conducted in English.

  • Offering: Alternate years in spring
  • Instructor: Staff

JAPN 231 Intermediate Japanese I (1)

Improvement of the basic skills acquired in Elementary Japanese. Three hundred new kanji will be introduced. The emphasis is primarily on speaking, but reading and writing will also be included. A systematic review of the fundamental structure of the Japanese language will be made. Periodic quizzes, tests and the final exam will be expected.

Prerequisite: JAPN 131 and JAPN 132 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Koishi, Loftus

JAPN 232 Intermediate Japanese II (1)

Improvement of the basic skills acquired in Elementary Japanese. Three hundred new kanji will be introduced. The emphasis is primarily on speaking, but reading and writing will also be included. A systematic review of the fundamental structure of the Japanese language will be made. Periodic quizzes, tests and the final exam will be expected.

Prerequisite: JAPN 131 and JAPN 132 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Koishi, Loftus

JAPN 240 Japanese Language and Culture (Intercultural Communication) (1)

This course explores how Japanese language and communication styles offer insights which enhance our understanding of Japanese culture, society, and the Japanese way of thinking. What are the key aspects of the structure of Japanese language and the accompanying communication style which affect intercultural communication? What does it mean to say that Japanese is a high-context language or features a socially oriented mode of communication? Why do some attempts to communicate between cultures turn out successfully while others do not? In exploring Japanese language, this course will draw on examples of cross-cultural misunderstandings between Japanese and non-Japanese in social, political, and economic contexts. Taught in English.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Fujiwara

JAPN 314 (IT; W; 4th Sem Lang Req) Japanese Literature in Translation (1)

The course examines selected works in novels, essays, drama and poetry from the classical and modern periods. Emphasis will be on 19th- and 20th-century novels, novellas and short stories. The works are viewed in their historical context so that the unique aspects of Japanese literature can be appreciated.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts; Asia Cluster

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered; Fourth Semester Language Requirement

  • Offering: Alternate years in fall
  • Instructor: Loftus

JAPN 331 Third Year Japanese I (1)

Third Year Japanese I begins with a comprehensive pattern review with an emphasis on speaking. Chinese characters are learned, approximately 20 per week, and students are tested regularly. In Third Year Japanese II, more attention will be given to reading. Students will be expected to read materials in Japanese and discuss them in class in Japanese. Students should be able to read and recognize approximately 900 Chinese characters by the end of the year.

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Loftus, Fujiwara

JAPN 332 Third Year Japanese II (1)

Third Year Japanese I begins with a comprehensive pattern review with an emphasis on speaking. Chinese characters are learned, approximately 20 per week, and students are tested regularly. In Third Year Japanese II, more attention will be given to reading. Students will be expected to read materials in Japanese and discuss them in class in Japanese. Students should be able to read and recognize approximately 900 Chinese characters by the end of the year.

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Loftus, Fujiwara

JAPN 340 The Japanese Cinema (1)

A survey of major Japanese films and film directors from the "golden age" of Japanese cinema in the 1950s - 1960s to the present. Emphasis will be on the style and feel of Japanese films, and how stylistic elements embody and reflect traditional aesthetics, the social and political contexts of the films and aspects of their production and consumption will be examined as well. Conducted in English.

Prerequisite: Introductory Literature or Film course, or a course on Japanese History, Society, or Literature

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Loftus

JAPN 380 Practicum in Japanese Language Facilitation (.25-.50)

Open to native speakers or advanced students of Japanese. Native/advanced speakers will attend some class sessions and work under the supervision of a faculty member, assisting students enrolled in Japanese language classes. Native/advanced speakers will keep a journal of their observations and their application of pedagogical principles as they assist students in developing their language skills. A weekly session with the instructor will be an integral part of this course. Credit/NC only.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

  • Offering: Every semester
  • Instructor: Loftus

JAPN 430 Japanese Reading and Composition I (1)

Emphasis on vocabulary, reading, writing and kanji expansion. Grammar will be reviewed through various short formal and informal writing assignments and readings will be selected from a variety of materials including authentic texts.

Prerequisite: JAPN 332 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Loftus, Fujiwara

JAPN 431 Japanese Reading and Composition II (1)

Emphasis on vocabulary, reading, writing and kanji expansion. Grammar will be reviewed through various short formal and informal writing assignments and readings will be selected from a variety of materials including authentic texts.

Prerequisite: JAPN 430 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Loftus, Fujiwara

JAPN 432 Conversational Japanese I (1)

Emphasis on development of practical conversational proficiency in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way in both formal and informal styles. Intensive training in oral expression and listening comprehension exercises, including authentic listening materials and vocabulary enlargement.

Prerequisite: JAPN 332 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Loftus, Fujiwara

JAPN 434 Conversational Japanese II (1)

Emphasis on development of practical conversational proficiency in a culturally and linguistically appropriate way in both formal and informal styles. Intensive training in oral expression and listening comprehension exercises, including authentic listening materials and vocabulary enlargement.

Prerequisite: JAPN 432 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Loftus, Fujiwara

JAPN 490 and 491 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1 each)

Designed to enable students who have a sound grasp of Japanese grammar to develop reading skills and to extend their knowledge of Chinese characters. Students must have completed two years of college Japanese and/or studied Japanese in Japan.

Prerequisite: Consent of instructor

  • Offering: On demand
  • Instructor: Loftus, Fujiwara

JAPN 499 (W) Senior Seminar (1)

[Crosslisted with CHNSE 499]

Provides a framework for students to develop a research project or other equivalent activity in consultation with faculty. The objective of the Senior Year Experience will be to consolidate and integrate the student's knowledge of Japan and/or China and the fields of Japanese Studies and/or Chinese Studies. Conducted in English.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff

CHNSE 131 Elementary Chinese I (1)

Introduction to the fundamentals of spoken and written modern Mandarin Chinese. Classroom activity will center on oral-aural pattern drilling with student participation required. Emphasis will be on spoken Chinese but a romanized writing system and Chinese characters will also be introduced. Language tapes will be available in the language lab and their regular use by students will be required.

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 132 Elementary Chinese II (1)

Introduction to the fundamentals of spoken and written modern Mandarin Chinese. Classroom activity will center on oral-aural pattern drilling with student participation required. Emphasis will be on spoken Chinese but a romanized writing system and Chinese characters will also be introduced. Language tapes will be available in the language lab and their regular use by students will be required.

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 231 Intermediate Chinese I (1)

Continued emphasis on speaking and listening with an increasing emphasis on reading and writing. Classroom time will be spent on oral-aural drills, dialogues, reading aloud, listening comprehension, and the production and recognition of Chinese written characters. Students will be required to do tape work and written assignments outside of the class as well as in-class presentations in Chinese.

Prerequisite: CHNSE 131 and 132 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 232 Intermediate Chinese II (1)

Continued emphasis on speaking and listening with an increasing emphasis on reading and writing. Classroom time will be spent on oral-aural drills, dialogues, reading aloud, listening comprehension, and the production and recognition of Chinese written characters. Students will be required to do tape work and written assignments outside of the class as well as in-class presentations in Chinese.

Prerequisite: CHNSE 231 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Annually
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 235 Chinese Language Practicum (.25)

This class has a two-fold purpose: to continue to develop proficient language skills in all aspects and to practice these skills through teaching or tutoring. In learning, we emphasize proficiency, and in teaching or tutoring, we stress accuracy and pedagogy. Various pedagogical approaches will be studied. Practice is carried out through various teaching opportunities on and off campus.

Prerequisite: CHNSE 232 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 252 (US) Rites of Passage in Chinese Societies (1)

[Crosslisted with ANTH 252]

This course surveys the life-cycle rituals of birth, marriage, and death in Chinese societies from folkloristic, anthropological, philosophical, and historical perspectives. By reading the text, understanding the context, observing the performance, and reenacting the rituals, the participants learn the subject as a disciplinary field and as a body of knowledge in Chinese culture, and examine the rituals through such topics as gender role, ethnic identity, symbolism, belief and behavior, folklore and tradition, and continuity of culture.

Mode of Inquiry: Understanding Society; Asian Cluster; Death Cluster

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 254 Language, Ethnicity, and Folklore in China (1)

This course examines the formation and development of Chinese language, ethnicity, and culture as well as their interactive relations throughout Chinese history. By surveying the topics, analyzing the key texts and realities, the participants will learn to understand ethnicity and culture within its social contexts as expressed through the language. Topics range from the formation of the language, standardization, dialects, identity, ethnicity, ethnic identification, ethnic customs, to the use of language in today's popular culture. The course will also include discussion about overseas Chinese and their sense of ethnic identity. Different disciplinary perspectives and historical contexts will be introduced and discussed.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 256 Chinese Folklore in Films (1)

The increasingly popular Chinese films have provided a special lens to look at Chinese culture. But how can people imagine these films without the rich folklore in them? This course examines local customs, folk beliefs and behaviors, vernacular architecture, festival dramas, and various ritual practices from historical, anthropological, and folkloristic perspectives. Through analysis of text and performance, this course helps develop a better understanding of the transition and transformation of Chinese culture.

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 331 (IT) Advanced Chinese: Reading the Media (1)

Continued development of proficient language skills in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and translating. In addition, interpreting and analyzing text from cultural studies and media studies perspectives are strongly emphasized. Comparative analysis of translations will be integrated in the interpretation of text. Rapid vocabulary expansion, correct use of grammar points, proficient use of the language in spoken and written forms, critical views in understanding the content and means of media, and cultural analysis of the text are the major goals.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

Prerequisite: CHNSE 232 or consent of instructor

  • Offering: Fall
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 332 (IT) Advanced Chinese: Reading the Humanities (1)

By reading the selections from Chinese classics of different philosophical and literary schools, and by translating and comparing translations, participants will continue improving their language proficiency, meanwhile learning to read the original text, understand the interpretation, gain their own perspectives, and analyze the interpretation of the text through historical and social context. Readings include texts of such ideas a Confucianism, Daoism, Legalism, classic poetry, and modern fictions and non-fictions.

Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts

Prerequisite: CHNSE 331 or consent

  • Offering: Alternate springs
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 490-491 Reading and Conference (.5 or 1 each)

Designed to enable the participants to function with modern Chinese in various areas, and to introduce classic Chinese. The in-depth reading, discussion, conference, and composition cover topics such as literature, history, philosophy, religion, and folklore. In addition to the textbooks, materials from the media on current issues as well as films will also be included.

Prerequisite: CHNSE 331 or consent

  • Offering: Alternate years
  • Instructor: Zhang

CHNSE 499 (W) Senior Seminar (1)

[Crosslisted with JAPN 499]

Provides a framework for students to develop a research project or other equivalent activity in consultation with faculty. The objective of the Senior Year Experience will be to consolidate and integrate the student's knowledge of Japan and/or China and the fields of Japanese Studies and/or Chinese Studies. Conducted in English.

General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered

  • Offering: Spring
  • Instructor: Staff