Japanese Language and Culture

So much more than scattered tea…!

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The general aim of academic studies at Masaryk University is to deepen the ability to critically approach knowledge and information. A graduate is well-educated within the general academic subjects and literature in their study programme, able to research, evaluate, and process relevant data from a number of available sources, original as well as secondary, from the internet and other media. The study also cultivates their communication skills and allows a thorough orientation in the theory and methodology of social sciences in general.

The structure of this study programme offers an exhaustive theoretical and practical grounding in the Japanese language and in related areas. The background of cultural realia that the study programme provides stretches from ancient times through the Middle Ages (historiography, study of religious issues and subjects, literature theory and readings, classical Japanese, arts and culture) and up to the present (modern society, politics, economy, film and theatre). The study programme also offers a wide variety of practical language courses (grammar drills, conversation classes, listening exercises, colloquial Japanese, business Japanese, readings of technical and instructive texts, readings of modern Japanese fiction). All of these courses enhance student development within the field of study and increase their future competitiveness on the market.

The study programme is primarily a philological one. This means that the learning and mastery of the Japanese language and writing in theory and praxis is essential within the course of study. The curriculum consists of mandatory courses – these are mainly practical courses in the Japanese language and writing, complemented with theoretical courses in Japanese history, literature, and society. A broad offer of type B/selective courses on the Japanese cultural background (religion, culture, art, society, politics, economy, film, and theatre) and type B/selective courses in Japanese language theory provide a richly varied curriculum.

This study programme is suitable for all applicants interested in a comprehensive study of the Japanese language and its related subjects and topics. It offers a rare opportunity to practically test the acquired knowledge with a study experience at a partner institution in Japan, either as a summer-school participant or during one or two academic terms of study at a Japanese university.

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After successfully completing his/her studies the graduate is able to:

  • read, write, and speak fluently in standard modern Japanese, at least at the B2 level (according to JF Standards for Japanese Language)
  • comprehend the socio-cultural context of spoken Japanese, apply theoretical knowledge in praxis with the help of a natural adaptability to various situations and diverse levels of spoken and written communication
  • become familiar with an unknown Japanese text, analyse its linguistic structures, and comprehend the written word
  • interpret and produce texts in Japanese, as well as formal scholarly texts in Czech (or Slovak) and English
  • contextually analyse and critically interpret various phenomena in Japanese history, religion, culture, and society
  • be well-read in basic scholarly literature and research relevant sources and information required for further growth within the field
  • apply fundamental methods of academic work, state thoughts and arguments clearly and precisely, and observe the formal norms of a scholarly text
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A graduate of this study programme has basic philological knowledge and skills, having mastered contemporary standard Japanese language in its spoken and written form, at least at the N3 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. Graduates are capable of a respectable presentation in both oral and written forms and are knowledgeable in various fields concerning Japanese studies, mainly in Japanese history, culture, society, and politics.

In addition to the option of working directly within the field of study (translations, language services, editing work), graduates of this study programme can apply for employment in a number of areas that demand fine skills in self-reliant and critical thinking and the ability to express oneself competently in Japanese as well as one’s mother tongue (tourism, international business, cultural sphere, journalism, media, etc.). Graduates can also further pursue their studies in graduate schools within the field or in any related study area in the Czech Republic or abroad.

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The study programme is available as a major and as a minor. The standard duration of studies is six semesters. However, it is important to mention that outbound students opting for a study year at one of the partner universities in Japan often prolong their study period by another academic year. For admittance to the final state examination, students must obtain a minimum of 180 credits for type A/required, type B/selective, and type C/elective courses. Students are required to enrol in some of the general courses within the period of their study at the Faculty of Arts.

As a Japanese Language and Culture major, students aiming for the final state examination are required to reach a minimum of 180 credits within the entire period of their study. Out of these 180 credits, 153 credits are for type A/required courses. Scheduling and registration of type B/selective courses are arbitrary and must reach a minimum of 40 credits. With the exception of mandatory language courses, each student is responsible for their own organization of their respective subjects and courses of study based on individual preference and interest.

As a Japanese Language and Culture minor, students are required to reach a minimum of 90 credits in the entire study period before applying for the final state examination. Of the 90 credits, 83 credits are for type A/required courses, which consist of basic language courses as well as theoretical courses on Japanese history, literature, and society. Other language courses or theoretical culture courses are registered additionally as type B/selective or type C/elective courses.

During the course of their studies, students should follow the study catalogue valid for their year of matriculation. The study catalogues for the individual years of matriculation are available at the Faculty of Arts website.

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Practical training in companies or organizations has not been designated an obligatory part of the study curriculum.

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The final state examination in Japanese Language and Culture has a written and an oral form.

The written part of the exam verifies a general mastery of the Japanese language and consists of three parts: 1) the translation of a short text from Japanese to Czech (or Slovak); 2) the translation of a short text from Czech to Japanese; and 3) a written short essay in Japanese on one of the selected topics. The oral exam takes place before a committee of a minimum of three members, and consists of 1) a conversation in the Japanese language; 2) the defence of the Bachelor’s thesis in the Czech or Slovak language; and 3) the presentation of academic knowledge in Japanese Language and Culture.

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Graduates can (after completing the necessary requirements) proceed to further study at the Master’s level in Japanese or a related subject (general philology, Japanese studies, international relations, history, religious studies, art history, geopolitics, or Asian sociology, etc.). Combination with another study area substantially enhances the possibilities for future employment.

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Field of study specifications

Field of Study: Japanese Language and Culture
Abbreviation: JA
Code: 7310R074
Type: Bachelor's degree programme
Degree: Bc.
Accreditation: to 31/12/2024
Programme: B7310 B-FI Philology
Faculty of Arts
Field of study guaranteed by:
Faculty of Arts
Field guarantor:
Mgr. Jiří Matela, M.A., Ph.D.

Additional Information

Further information can be found at the official web pages of the Seminar of Japanese Studies at http://www.phil.muni.cz/japan/index.html