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Japanese Studies

BA (Hons)

Key facts

UCAS code


Start dates

September 2022 / September 2023



Course length

Full time: 4 years

Part time: up to 8 years

UCAS Tariff Points



Are you passionate about Japan Studies and looking for a way to transform your knowledge of its culture and language? 

Embarking on a Japanese Studies degree course at Oxford Brookes means you’ll be:

  • Learning all about Japanese history and culture
  • Dissecting the intricacies of interesting topics such as Japanese manga and anime 
  • Sharpening your Japanese oral and written skills 
  • Spending a year studying in Japan. 

Through our Japanese Studies course, your Japanese speaking abilities will be enhanced. This is true whether you’re a complete beginner or already have existing language abilities. 

The skills you develop will be of high value in multiple career paths such as:

  • education
  • translation
  • international commerce
  • the Diplomatic Service. 

You will spend your third year in Japan. In doing so, you’ll return with a superior command of the language and a deeper understanding of the culture, country and people.

Joint honours options

You can also study this course as part of a joint honours degree. This course can be joined with:

How to apply

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

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27


Further offer details

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions:

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences


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 part-way through the course for students who have credit from previous learning or relevant professional experience.

Find out more about transferring to Brookes. If you'd like to talk through your options, please contact our Admissions team.

Application process

Full time Home (UK) applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home (UK) applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time international applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2022 / 23
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

Home (UK) sandwich (placement)

International full time

International sandwich (placement)

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home 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 students at the maximum permitted level.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

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.

Year abroad

Whilst studying in Japan you will pay a reduced tuition fee to Oxford Brookes (as a guide, 2020 £1,380 for Home/EU students, and £4,000 for International students). You will be responsible for your own travel, food, and accommodation costs. Living costs vary 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.

Students should also note that most Japanese universities require medical appointments and medical tests as part of their application process. Such appointments and tests usually incur costs in the region of £150 - £250+ which each student will be responsible for.

 In addition, most universities in Japan require students to register with the Japanese National Health Insurance Scheme which can cost up to 20,000 yen.

The published course and module descriptions were accurate when first published and remain the basis of the course, but the University has had to modify some course and module content in response to government restrictions and social distancing requirements

Learning and assessment

Your Year 1 studies will include Japanese language from beginners, and the Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture module will provide essential background knowledge of Japanese society, geography and history.
In Year 2 you’ll focus on developing your language skills even further. Additional modules will allow a more detailed study of the arts, culture and society of Japan.
Year 3 will be a transformative one where we provide you with the opportunity to study at a university in Japan, building your Japanese language skills to a much more substantial level. Your Year 3 will bring together all that you have learned linguistically and culturally as you fully immerse yourself in all that Japan can offer.
In Year 4, you’ll be able to build on the greater fluency and range of expression you developed during your year abroad. Furthermore, you’ll be able to 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

Compulsory modules

Essential Japanology

In this module, you’ll gain a strong understanding of Japan and the Japanese language. You’ll gain a broad knowledge of Japan’s geography, history, language, working life, religion, arts and culture. You’ll survey these topics from a variety of perspectives, and understand core themes and concepts. You’ll highlight key areas for study, that you’ll explore in greater depth in your upcoming modules.

Japanese 1A

In this module, you’ll go from knowing almost no Japanese to developing an effective knowledge of the language. As a beginner or near-beginner, you’ll gain good skills in speaking and writing, as well as reading and listening in the language. You’ll gain unique skills for your future career as you work constructively in teams, meet deadlines effectively and use Japanese creatively and precisely for different audiences.

Japanese 1B

In this module, you’ll gain a strong grasp of Japanese language skills. As someone with some knowledge of the Japanese language, you’ll gain good skills in speaking and writing, as well as reading and listening in the language. You’ll gain unique skills for your future career as you work constructively in teams, meet deadlines effectively and use Japanese creatively and precisely for different audiences. 

Japanese 2A

In this module, you’ll go from strength to strength in your grasp of Japanese. You’ll increase your repertoire of grammar and improve your speaking and writing, reaching an upper beginner’s level. You’ll gain key teamwork skills as you work with your peers to meet deadlines effectively, giving you a strong grounding for your future career. 

Japanese 2B

Continuing on from Japanese 2A, you will strengthen your language skills, giving you the confidence and competencies essential to succeeding in your year abroad. You’ll also explore the relationship between culture and language, and how some expressions and language use are underpinned by social and cultural values. 

Japanese Reading and Writing 1A

In this module you will acquire reading and writing skills at the beginners’ level. You will learn the Japanese writing system, especially focusing on developing a systematic knowledge of kanji as well as general reading and writing skills.

Japanese Reading and Writing 1B

You will continue working on the reading and writing skills you acquired in Japanese Reading and Writing 1A. By the end of the year, you will be able to read and write 180 characters and recognise over 360 compounds using these characters.

Optional modules

Understanding Languages and Translation

An introduction to the key areas of language study that underpin the theory and practice of translation.

Introduction to Japanese Culture and Society

In this module, you'll use anthropological perspectives to make an in-depth investigation of contemporary life in Japan. You'll cover factors and topics that affect Japanese everyday life such as:

  • child rearing 
  • education and early socialization
  • households, marriage and kinship
  • work and employment
  • gender and sexuality
  • religion and ritual
  • immigration and diversity 
  • Japanese popular culture 
  • and the globalization of Japanese culture. 

This will give you a good base of knowledge for taking more advanced modules on the anthropology of Japan in years 2 and 3.


Learning Japanese through J-Pop

Immerse yourself in J-Pop and develop your Japanese grammar and usage skills. You'll explore the J-Pop music genre that originated in the early 1990s.

You'll experience the look and sound of J-Pop, through video, live recordings and online content. You'll then use digital tools to look at the origins and meaning of J-Pop songs. Including artist and fan communities. While building a deep understanding of the history and culture of Japanese popular music



Understanding Language 2: Systems and Use

In this module, you’ll get to grips with language and how to study it. You’ll look at language as a system, and how we use it in different instances of communication.You’ll understand language and its associated terms and definitions. You’ll gain core linguistic skills, key to your study of the Japanese language, as you explore linguistic analysis in:

  • sound (phonetics and phonology)
  • language as meaning (semantics)
  • language as structure (syntax).

You’ll gain a strong grounding in these concepts by studying instances of written and spoken language. You’ll develop valuable insights into language and its systems and uses.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Japanese Reading and Writing 2B

Continuing on from Reading and Writing 2A, you will learn to write an additional 170 new kanji, and to recognise 340 more compounds using those kanji. In addition, you will develop deeper reading comprehension skills to prepare you for reading a variety of texts during your Year Abroad. You will also continue to work with a variety of topics and writing styles.

Japanese Reading and Writing 2A

This module focuses on the Japanese writing system, especially focusing on developing kanji learning as well as general reading and writing skills. You will learn to write 180 new kanji, and to recognise 360 compounds using those kanji. In addition, you will work on developing your reading comprehension skills to prepare you for reading a variety of texts during their Year Abroad. You will also learn to write in various writing styles.

Optional modules

Classical Arts of Japan

In this module, you’ll explore traditional Japanese arts. You’ll learn to understand and appreciate the style and techniques of art forms such as: 

  • Ukiyo-e (wood-block prints and paintings)
  • Haiku (famously brief poetic form)
  • Kabuki (classical dance-drama)
  • Ikebana (the art of flower arranging)

You’ll also gain core critical skills for work as you address key issues such as:

  • the representation of gender and sexuality
  • class issues 
  • religious and philosophical assumptions

You’ll gain a broad knowledge of the historical and social contexts of these arts in Japan. You’ll explore individual works in greater depth, as you analyse how the arts relate to wider Japanese culture.

Elements of the Japanese Language

In this module, you’ll discuss facts about the Japanese language, helping you improve your Japanese language knowledge. You discuss topics from social and geographic language variation, to the relationship between language and culture, and grammatical analysis. You’ll deepen your knowledge of how language works in use and conversation, and you’ll understand the relationship between language and society.

English Language Teaching to Adults

Do you dream of working as an English language teacher? Do you want to help adult learners grasp the English language? In this module, you’ll get to grips with English language teaching. You’ll gain a strong knowledge of teaching English, and essential skills in effective language teaching. You’ll also develop key practical skills for teaching English to adult learners. If you take this course, you’ll be able to apply to British Study Centres Oxford to complete your teaching practice, and acquire a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA). This is recognised by Cambridge Assessment as a pre-service training qualification.

Manga, Anime and Contemporary Japanese Cinema

In this module, you’ll investigate Japanese popular culture through live-action cinema, manga (Japanese comics) and anime (Japanese animated films). You’ll understand how these media have developed in Japan, how they are presented and received in Japanese culture and how they reflect social and cultural issues. You’ll gain core analytical skills as you examine their narrative and stylistic themes, and what they can tell us about the social, political and cultural issues of late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century Japan.

The Making of Modern Japan

How did Japan rise from a feudal nation with few resources, to the world’s third largest economy? In this module, you’ll follow the making of modern Japan. You’ll explore Japan’s response to western colonialism and empire-building, and its own colonialist programmes. You’ll examine the social, economic and political changes of this period through investigating primary sources. You’ll also follow these changes through the works of both Western and Japanese scholars (in translation). You’ll gain core research skills to help you succeed in your degree, as you consider the tools and methods we need to study Japan, the world and history. 

Personhood, Gender and the Body in Contemporary Japan

From tattooed gangsters and drag queens to salarymen and hostesses, how does gender and the body affect Japanese society? In this module, you’ll question your assumptions about femininity and masculinity, and gain core critical skills as you explore topics such as: 

  • LGBTQ+ rights
  • the ethics of organ donation
  • abortion
  • end of life care
  • martial arts
  • religious practice.

You’ll explore the topics that fascinate you in greater depth, through:

  • student-led seminars
  • group work
  • a research essay.

Japanese Oral Skills

In this module, you’ll accelerate your success in your placement year, as you gain the skills you need to communicate effectively in Japanese. You’ll gain key skills in presenting to an audience, as well as expressing your ideas to someone at an upper beginner’s level. You’ll also develop a deeper understanding of how communication works, transforming you into a skillful communicator of Japanese. 

Year 3 (placement year)

Compulsory modules

Placement year

You’ll spend a year in Japan, soaking up the culture and improving your language skills through wide interaction with native Japanese speakers. You’ll attend one of our partner universities in Japan.

Language Studies in Japan

In this module, you’ll accelerate your Japanese language skills with direct access to the country and its native speakers. You’ll increase your listening, reading and interpretation skills in Japanese, while gaining first-hand knowledge of the cultures, communities and societies which use Japanese.

Academic Studies in Japan

This module gives you the chance to reflect on the cultural modules you studied at your university in Japan. You’ll expand your analytical skills for your degree and future career, as you consider the intercultural issues you encountered while abroad, how you negotiated them and your language learning in general.

Autonomous Learning in Japan

You’ll spend a year in Japan, soaking up the culture and improving your language skills through wide interaction with native Japanese speakers. You’ll attend one of our partner universities in Japan. 

Year 4

Compulsory modules

Japan: Myth and Reality

In this module, you’ll dive into Western discourses on ‘Japan’ and ‘the Japanese’. You’ll gain core critical skills as you consider how we perceive Japan, and the ideas we attach to it. You’ll dig into the history of Western perceptions of Japan, and also consider the ways Japan looks at itself. 

Japanese 4

In this module, you’ll gain excellent skills in advanced Japanese. You’ll dig into a variety of Japanese texts, audio, and video, covering genres such as descriptions and reports. You’ll gain knowledge on specific topics and practise effective techniques in speaking and writing. 

Optional modules

Japanese Cinema and Modern History

In this module, you’ll put classic Japanese cinema in the spotlight, and get to grips with its social and historical context. You’ll explore films from one of the most tumultuous and transformative eras in Japanese history, and you’ll link them to social and political developments in Japan during the twentieth century. You’ll also develop excellent critical skills as you consider films in the context of debates around the meaning and significance of classical Japanese cinema.

Japan through Contemporary Texts

In this module, you’ll dive into some of the current affairs in Japan, such as immigration and changes in the work environment. You’ll learn about them through a wide range of sources such as newspaper articles, video reports, and white papers. You’ll also conduct your own research on a topic of your choice and write up a research paper in Japanese.

Japanese Literary Texts

In this module you will develop your ability to engage with authentic Japanese texts at an advanced level. You will learn to navigate a variety of literary writing styles as you are introduced to literary texts from different periods of Japanese history, and you will acquire a deeper understanding of the historic and cultural context in which these works were written. You will learn to critically analyse the texts you read. 

Japanese Translation: Theory and practice

In this module, you’ll get to grips with key concepts in translation and analyse different types of translation in an array of texts. You’ll explore how meaning is expressed through words and how it differs from language to language.

You’ll dig into examples of translation, and learn how to translate from Japanese into English and from English into Japanese. You’ll gain the core skills to succeed as a language specialist as you explore the linguistic differences between Japanese and English, and how they affect translation.

Tandem Language Learning

In this module, you’ll build fantastic teamwork skills for your career, and accelerate your knowledge of the Japanese language. You’ll come together as a mixture of native Japanese and English speakers, and work in groups to improve your language skills, and learn more about each other’s cultures. You’ll increase your skills in oral communication, allowing you to speak in Japanese on topics from culture and politics, to life in the UK or Japan. You’ll gain critical knowledge of your own language development as you set goals to improve your language skills, and support each-other as students. 

Researching Cross-cultural Experiences

In this module, you’ll gain excellent skills for your degree, as you analyse and present your experiences of your year abroad. You’ll gain core critical skills for your degree, as you analyse your time living in a different culture, and the wider cross-cultural experiences of individuals or groups. You’ll do independent research on an aspect of the country you lived in that fascinates you. You’ll also present the outcomes of your research at a mock academic conference, giving you vital skills for work.

Minorities and Marginality in Contemporary Japan

We often assume that only the Japanese live in Japan. In this module, you’ll meet Japan’s ethnic minorities and marginalised groups. You’ll understand their experiences - both historically and today. You’ll gain key analytical skills as you relate minorities in Japan to broader concerns with:

  • ethnic and cultural identity and conflict
  • class structure 
  • nationality 
  • hybridity in cultures
  • diaspora (people living outside their original homeland).

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

This course will help you gain a structured knowledge of grammar, reading and writing skills, as well as developing your spoken fluency in Japanese. You will also gain a broad understanding of Japanese culture.

Our Japanese Room, designed by a Japanese craftsman, is a perfect replica of a Japanese interior. This unique space is used for tutorials and allows you to enjoy and experience Japanese culture on campus.

You will also benefit from:

  • small class sizes 
  • language classes taught by nativeand fluent speakers..
  • access to the latest e-learning skills
  • Oxford Brookes’ own Japanese graded reading materials, Let’s Read Japanese

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


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.

Study Abroad

After studying at Brookes for two years you will spend Year 3  in Japan, studying at one of our partner universities. 

You will attend intensive language courses, as well as electives (usually in English) that complement your studies at Oxford Brookes. By immersing yourself in Japanese life and social activities, you will gain a high level of linguistic and cultural understanding and 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.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

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.

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