On our Japanese Studies course you can learn the language as a beginner or post-beginner. Explore all aspects of Japanese culture: from its traditional religious values to its modern business practices, and from haiku poetry to manga cartoons.


Let’s Read Japanese is a joint project led by Dr Irène Hill and the Japanese staff. It is a series of graded reading materials for Japanese language learners ‘to read for pleasure’ at different levels. Interesting stories with eye-catching illustrations enhance the learning of the Japanese language and culture.


Built by a Japanese carpenter (daiku) Kawaguchi Kiyotoshi and his apprentice (deshi) Yuki, residents of the village in Kyushu where Joy Hendry did her anthropological field work, this Japanese room contains:

  • tatami mats
  • decorative shoji (paper windows)
  • fusuma (sliding doors)

There is a space of polished wood called a tokonoma, which features a hanging scroll, extolling the unlimited nature of the arts in Japan, and a set of shelves known as chigaidana.

Year abroad in Japan

After studying Japanese for two years at Oxford Brookes, students spend their third academic year at one of our partner universities in Japan. While there, they study Japanese intensively, five days a week, as well as choose elective courses about Japan, usually in English, though sometimes in Japanese as well.

We are partnered with the following Japanese universities:

  • Aoyama Gakuin University
  • Kansai Gaidai University
  • Kitakyushu University
  • Kyushu Sangyo University
  • Kyoto Gaikokugo (Gaidai) University
  • Gakushuin University
  • Meiji Gakuin University
  • Nagasaki University
  • Nagoya University of Foreign Studies
  • Obirin University
  • Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
  • Ryūkoku University
  • Tsukuba University
  • Tsuru University
  • Yamanashi University

“For my year abroad I chose to study at Aoyama Gakuin University in Shibuya, Tokyo. It’s the best university from a cultural capital standpoint and is ideally located in Shibuya, near most of the more interesting places in Tokyo. I had visited the university while on holiday in Japan so I had a very good idea of where it was and what it was like.”

Andy Banks, Japanese

Andy in Kyoto
Andy at the Rainbow Bridge, Odaiba

“I’d recommend you visit beforehand, if you can, to get an idea of what you want to get out of your year abroad experience. Consider where you want to study and why as location can be very important depending on what you want to do; you’ll find travel costs can get high quickly if you want to repeatedly visit places – particularly if you need to use the Shinkansen (high speed trains). Finally, study lots of kanji as they’re everywhere!”

Andy Banks, Japanese


Delivering lectures to help our students learn the language and discover aspects of Japan is our top priority. We are also enthusiastic about research and being the leading experts in our fields.

Language learning

Japanese is notoriously one of the more difficult languages to learn, but one of the most fascinating ones due to its singularity. Its origins are unclear and like all languages, its words and expressions are filled with social and cultural implications.

We are interested in understanding more about the Japanese language, especially in contrast to English and other European languages. We are also interested in how learners perceive information in Japanese and process it, how learning progresses, and what we can do in our teaching to facilitate learning.

Suzuko Anai studied applied linguistics and has been teaching Japanese over 30 years, Her research interests range from e-learning, kanji learning for beginners to language education. She combines her research and teaching experiences to the development of the Let’s Read Japanese reading materials and is the Japanese editor of the series.

Keiko Ikeshiro has studied Linguistics. Incorporating studies in Linguistics and wide experience in teaching, she is one of the creators of the Let’s Read Japanese series graded reading materials. Her current research interests include the effects and implications of reading this series on students’ performance and L2 acquisition.

Hanako Fujino studies Japanese linguistics, second language acquisition and language teaching. Her recent research focuses on the process of learning Japanese grammar and how grammar should be taught to learners living outside of Japan.

Japanese studies

In the field of Japanese, our areas of interest are Japanese cinema, Japanese religion, Japanese history and Japanese anthropology, Japanese Applied Linguistics, and Japanese Language Education.

Dr Alexander Jacoby

Dr Alexander Jacoby

Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies and Director of Europe Japan Research Centre

Alexander Jacoby studies Japanese cinema and popular culture. He is currently working on a book about the film director Hirokazu Koreeda, known for films such as Like Father, Like Son and Nobody Knows. His modules on manga, anime, and classical and contemporary Japanese cinema reflect his wide knowledge and expertise on the subject.

 John LoBreglio

John LoBreglio

Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies

John LoBreglio studies Japanese religious history, and his research and writings focus on the period from the mid-19th century through the Second World War. His modules include Japanese religions, The Making of Modern Japan, Japan: Myth and Reality and Advanced Japanese Reading and Translation.

Dr Louella Matsunaga

Dr Louella Matsunaga

Programme Lead for Anthropology and Geography

Louella Matsunaga specializes in Japanese anthropology. Her research interests include anthropological approaches to branding; gender in the workplace; the social negotiation of medical related death; Japanese religions outside Japan.

Dr Jason Danely

Dr Jason Danely

Reader in Anthropology of Japan

Jason Danely studies care relationships in Japanese families and the urban communities. He is the author of Aging and Loss: Mourning and Maturity in Contemporary Japan, which examines the ways rituals of giving and grieving shape how individuals adapt to the challenges of old age. He lectures on a wide variety of topics in the social anthropology of Japan.