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Japanese Studies

BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2019 / September 2020



Course length

Full time: 4 years

Part time: up to 8 years


Department of English and Modern Languages

UCAS Tariff Points


  • The Complete University Guide


Our Japanese Studies course is perfect if you would like to explore Japanese society and language. Japan is a fascinating, complex and vibrant country, with the third largest economy in the world. 

On this course you'll study Japanese society and culture; from ancient Shinto customs to modern manga cartoons. 

You'll learn the Japanese language, whether you're a beginner or have an existing knowledge. Studying translation work and language for a business environment will provide useful practice for your future career. 

You can pick from a wide variety of modules covering:

  • social
  • cultural
  • anthropological
  • and historical issues in Japan. 

You will study at a Japanese University in Year 3. We offer one of the widest choices of partner universities in Japan.

We encourage you to join the active student-run Japanese Society on campus. And we run regular guest lectures hosted by the Europe-Japan Research Centre.

Japanese Studies can be taken as a single honours or a combined honours degree.


How to apply

Typical offers

UCAS Tariff Points: 120

A Level: BBB

IB Points: 31


  • 2 A-levels at BB plus 2 AS-levels at grades BB.
  • Vocational A-levels are also accepted at equivalent grades.
  • Other A-level equivalent qualifications will be considered.

For combined honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. This combination of A-level grades would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

GCSE: English at grade c / grade 4 or above, or equivalent

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home/EU Full Time

Home/EU Part Time
£750 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088
Home/EU Full Time

Home/EU Part Time
£750 per single module

International full time

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course, if any, are detailed below.

Additional costs

Year abroad

Whilst studying in Japan you will pay a reduced tuition fee to Oxford Brookes (as a guide, 2016 fees: £1,350 for Home/EU students, and £3,420 for International students). You will be responsible for your own travel, food, and accommodation costs. Living costs vary dramatically depending on where in Japan you choose to study and depend on the Yen-GBP exchange rate. Some of our university partners often offer full or partial scholarships.

Learning and assessment

In Year 1 you will study Japanese language from beginners', GCSE or post-GCSE level. You will also take the compulsory module, Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture. This module provides essential background knowledge of Japanese society, geography and history. And you can choose optional introductory modules.
In Year 2 you will develop your language skills further. You’ll combine this with modules that allow more detailed study of the arts, culture and society of Japan. These will place Japan in a broader international context.
In Year 3 you will study at a university in Japan to study the Japanese language further. We currently have 15 partner universities based in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, and Kyushu.
In Year 4 you will build on the greater fluency and range of expression you developed during your year in Japan. And you can choose from a range of modules exploring specific aspects of Japanese life, institutions and culture at an advanced level.

Japanese Studies

Study modules

Year 1

Japanese 1A (Compulsory for beginner level)*

A course in practical Japanese language skills for beginners and near-beginners.

Japanese 1B (Compulsory for beginner level)*

A course in practical Japanese language skills for near-beginners.

Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture

An introduction to the study of modern Japanese society and culture, primarily from an anthropological perspective, but also incorporating overviews of Japan's geography, religion, economy and modern history. Topics covered include the cultural basis of Japanese patterns of behaviour; marriage, family and kinship; social organisation and relations in urban and rural communities; education; work and employment; religion and ritual; popular culture; minorities; and the globalization of Japanese culture.

Japanese Reading and Writing I

A course for reading and writing language skills in Japanese at beginners' level with the development of Kanji learning.

Japanese 2A

A course in practical Japanese language skills for lower Level 2 students.

Japanese 2B

A course in practical Japanese language skills for higher Level 2 students.

Introduction to Social Anthropology

An introduction to the history and practice of the subject of social anthropology as a basis for more advanced study in the field.

Foundations of Business

Introduces students to the nature, form and function of business organisations. Examples from current business practice will be used to illustrate business concepts and theory.

Introduction to Chinese Culture and Society

A study of many aspects of Chinese culture and Chinese society. Topics covered will include different aspects of traditional Chinese culture with a view to understanding contemporary Chinese society.

The Film Industry

Introduces students to the structural framework of the film industry, exploring how different systems of film funding, production, and distribution have evolved over time. The module also traces the development of a film through all its various stages from pre-production, production, post-production to distribution and explains who is in charge of what in this complex and costly process. It is envisaged that professionals from the film industry will contribute to the course.

Year 2

Japanese Reading and Writing II

A course for reading and writing language skills in Japanese with intensive development of Kanji learning.

Japanese 3A

This module is designed to enable students to improve their Japanese to higher level through the study and practice of the structures and function of the language.

Japanese 3B

This module is designed to enable students to improve their Japanese language skills through the study and practice of the structures and function of the language.

Japanese Oral Skills

This module helps students develop oral and aural skills and knowledge necessary for effective communication at upper beginner's level. It allows students to be creative while learning essential conversation strategies and skills.

Personhood, Gender and the Body in Contemporary Japan

This module will introduce anthropological perspectives on personhood, gender, and the body, and will examine these with reference to ethnographic material from Japan. This will also include a discussion of some issues relating to medical anthropology, including medical systems in Japan, and beliefs and practices surrounding reproductive technologies, the end of life, and organ donation.

Work and the Japanese

Anthropological perspectives on work, employment and company organisation in contemporary Japan. Looks at the significance of work and the company in the lives of people working in Japan or in Japanese companies located elsewhere. Students will learn about company organisation, industrial relations and the nature of employment in both large and medium to small sized enterprises.

Understanding Manga

This is a study of Japanese popular culture through visual media called manga (Japanese comics). This module provides an understanding of how certain visual media have developed in Japan and how they are presented and received in the Japanese context, and how they reflect social and cultural issues through analysing these works.

Contemporary Japanese Cinema

This module explores the situation of contemporary Japanese cinema. The students will first be given an overview of Japanese film history in order to gain some insight into the contemporary film industry. They will then focus on selected contemporary directors, such as Shinya Tsukamoto, Mamoru Oshii and Takeshi Kitano, to investigate the directions Japanese filmmakers are taking and how their films reflect social and cultural issues.

Tandem Language Learning

This is an independent study module whereby people with different native languages (English and Japanese) work together in pairs and groups in order to improve their language skills and learn their cultures by supporting each other. The emphasis of this module is on oral communication.

Japanese Religions

This module provides an overview of the religious traditions of Japan from pre-history through to the present. The approach will be historical and thematic, and will situate religious phenomena in their historical and cultural contexts. This module will alert students to various problems of interpretation concerning religion in Japanese history, and will empower them to think critically about these. This will entail relating issues involved in the interpretation of Japanese religions to problems in the study of religions in general. We will examine primary source material, secondary scholarship by both Western and Japanese scholars (in translation), and films. Students will acquire a firm grasp of the research tools and methods needed to pursue further interest in the study of Japanese religions.

The Making of Modern Japan

This module studies the trajectory of Japan's extraordinary rise from a feudal, resource-poor nation in the 1850s to the world's second-largest economy in the early twenty-first century. We will examine the social, economic and political changes of this period through primary source materials, secondary scholarship by both Western and Japanese scholars (in translation), literature and films. In so doing, students will acquire a firm grasp of the research tools and methods needed to pursue further interest in the study of Japanese history.

Methodology of Foreign Language Teaching

An introduction to the theory and practical application of the principles of second or foreign language teaching at secondary or adult levels. The course leads to familiarity with aspects of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and classroom management which are all part of the language teacher's repertoire. It also raises students' awareness of issues in reading, writing and speaking when teaching these skills in the classroom. The module includes an important element of microteaching in small groups.

Independent Study in Japanese

A module offering Japanese single honours students the opportunity to pursue a defined academic project in either greater depth or greater breadth.

Year 3 (placement year)

Placement year*

Students of Japanese language and contemporary society spend an entire academic year in Japan. They will attend one of our partner universities with whom we have established links.

Language Studies in Japan*

Students of Japanese language and contemporary society spend an entire academic year in Japan. They will attend one of our partner universities with whom we have established links.

Academic Studies in Japan*

Autonomous Learning in Japan*

Year 4

Japanese Cinema and Contemporary History

Develops students' understanding and awareness of Japanese cinema in its historical context. It will enable students to relate the style and content of films to social and political developments in Japan during the twentieth century, and to situate films in the context of scholarly debates about the classical Japanese Cinema. The focus on the cinema of the six decades up to 1989 will complement the focus on contemporary Japanese film.

Advanced Japanese Reading and Translation

The module develops students' ability to read Japanese texts at an advanced level.

Advanced Japanese Communication

This module aims to improve students' skills in speaking Japanese. Through the study of accent types and intonation patterns, you will learn how to pronounce accurately words and phrases we encounter for the first time, and practice speaking Japanese in a more appealing way.

Japanese 3C

This module is designed to enable students to improve their Japanese to a higher level through the study and practice of the structures and function of the language, and to express themselves more freely both verbally and in writing.

Japanese 4

This module provides further knowledge and skills in Japanese focusing on reading and writing. Students will experience reading in a variety of texts in such genres as description, review and reports, using authentic materials. They learn kanji from the texts they read. Also, students practise writing in the genres introduced in the texts.

Minorities and Marginality, Class and Conflict in Japan

This module closely examines the historical and contemporary experiences of Japan's ethnic minorities and marginalized groups, which pose important problems for (our understanding of) a Japanese society that is commonly conceived as ethnically and culturally homogeneous. Detailed discussion of minorities and marginality in Japan will be related to broader concerns with ethnic and cultural identity and conflict, class structure, (trans)nationality, hybridity and diaspora as these are now discussed in anthropology.

Japan: Myth and Reality

This module provides a historical overview and critical analyses of 'Western' discourses concerning the exceptional status of 'Japan' and 'the Japanese'. As an instructive counterpoint, it will also look briefly at Japanese self-images.

Japan through Contemporary Texts

An advanced language study in which students will gain insights into current affairs and current events in Japan through a wide range of contemporary literary texts. Students will be introduced to contemporary Japanese writing via a novel, scholarly books, journals, newspapers, magazines and so on. Students will also explore the internet to seek additional sources to supplement/complement discussion points.

Japanese Translation: Theory and practice

This module covers some of the fundamental concepts in translation, such as translation briefs, textual functions, cohesion and coherence, and information structure. These are introduced with examples (not limited to Japanese) and subsequently applied in translation from Japanese to English or English to Japanese. This module also focuses on the linguistic differences between Japanese and English, and the difficulties that they pose for translation.

* = Required

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from that shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.

Learning and teaching

We’ve designed the course to help you gain:

  • a structured knowledge of grammar, reading and writing skills
  • and develop your spoken fluency in Japanese.

On this course you’ll benefit from:

  • small class sizes with lots of participation
  • language classes taught by native speakers
  • access to the latest e-learning skills
  • Oxford Brookes’ own Japanese graded reading materials, Let’s Read Japanese
  • being taught by highly experienced language teachers.

In lectures for your content (ie non-language) modules, we will introduce you to the subject area. You will then explore specific issues in greater depth in seminars. You will be directed towards the study of primary and secondary texts and other cultural products.

You can learn more about the Japanese language and culture experts who will teach you by exploring our staff profiles.

  • Lectures and seminars
  • Placement
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.)

Year 1

  • Lectures and seminars - 23%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 77%

Year 2

  • Lectures and seminars - 27%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 73%

Year 3 (placement year)

  • Lectures and seminars - 0%
  • Placement - 100%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 0%

Year 4

  • Lectures and seminars - 20%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 80%

Learning and teaching percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.


Assessment methods used on this course

Assessment methods vary from module to module.

Language module assessments consist of;

  • 70% regular in-class tests and portfolio completion at home
  • 30% final examination.

Content module assessments are normally 100% coursework. They include;

  • essays
  • small research projects
  • oral presentations
  • in-class tests.
  • Written
  • Coursework
  • Practical

Year 1

  • Written - 11%
  • Coursework - 89%
  • Practical - 0%

Year 2

  • Written - 14%
  • Coursework - 86%
  • Practical - 0%

Year 3 (placement year)

  • Written - 0%
  • Coursework - 100%
  • Practical - 0%

Year 4

  • Written - 4%
  • Coursework - 96%
  • Practical - 0%

Assessment method percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Study Abroad

You will spend Year 3 entirely in Japan, studying at one of the universities with which we have exchange arrangements. 

You will attend intensive language courses and lectures which complement your programme of studies at Oxford Brookes. By carrying out an independent research project on contemporary Japan and immersing yourself in Japanese life and social activities with fellow students, you will acquire a high level of linguistic and cultural competence.

After you graduate

Career prospects

Japanese Studies will give you the communication and interpersonal skills which are increasingly demanded in the global job market. Your analytical, team-working and presentational skills will make you immediately effective in the international workplace.

The course will equip you to seek employment in global professions such as tourism, international management and media, or in linguistic fields such as translating or language teaching. 

Recent graduates have found employment at the Japanese Embassy, the Japan Foundation, and within Japanese businesses such as All Nippon Airways.

Further study

Our close links with other departments, including anthropology and film studies, make it possible for graduates to pursue specific areas of interest within Japanese studies at postgraduate level at Oxford Brookes. A number of students have also gone on to study at postgraduate level at other established institutions.

Student profiles

Our Staff

Dr Kerri Russell

Kerri’s research is mainly concerned with the origins and development of the Japonic language family, which consists of the varieties of Japanese spoken in Japan and the Ryukyuan islands. She has also worked on Ainu, Middle Korean, and several Altaic languages spoken in East Asia.

Read more about Kerri

Free language courses

Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

Programme Changes: On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website.

For more information, please visit our Changes to programmes page.