Japanese is the ninth most spoken language in the world, used by more than 130 million people worldwide. An industrial powerhouse, Japan’s close trading and political relationship with the U.S. makes Japanese a Critical Language, as designated by the U.S. Department of State. Japan is also a prodigious exporter of culture, from its samurai history, to film, cuisine, art, and recently through anime and brands such as Uniqlo or MUJI. Japanese classes prepare students to participate in international experiences such as MIT-Japan.

Japanese Studies teaches language as a tool–to interact and communicate with people–the study of which must take place together with cultural learning. The student-focused Japanese Studies curriculum employs online and technological tools to meet student needs and continuously adapts innovative pedagogical methods to encourage students’ active improvement of listening, speaking, reading, and writing proficiencies. Japanese Studies at MIT also offers a wide variety of cultural courses, including popular culture and anime, music, history, and politics, allowing students to foster a high level of cultural fluency.

Japanese Studies may be applied to the Japanese minor and Concentration, as well as the major, minor, and Concentration in Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies. Learn more about the Japanese Concentration and minor program requirements at the Academic Programs page. Information on the Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies programs is available through SHASS. Advisors for these programs are below. Students uncertain what level of Japanese language to take should refer to placement information. Information on transfer credit is available here.

Japanese Concentration: Takako Aikawa
Japanese Minor: Hiromu Nagahara
Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies Concentration/Minor/Major: Sana Aiyar
Global Languages Japanese Studies group: Takako Aikawa | Masami Ikeda | Wakana Maekawa | Ayae Uwabu

Fall 2024

21G.S51/S57 Japanese I (hybrid)
21G.501/551 Japanese I
21G.S53 Japanese III (hybrid)
21G.503 Japanese III
21G.S55 Special Subject: Japanese V (Hybrid)
21G.510 Project-based Japanese Learning with Multimedia
21G.041 Foundations of East Asian Literature and Culture: From Confucius to the Beats

IAP 2025

21G.501/551 Japanese I