The objective of a major in Japanese languages and literatures is to develop advanced language skills and to provide an introduction to the literary and cultural traditions of Japan. Oral proficiency is emphasized along with literacy. Upper-division classes develop analytical skills through the critical study of literary texts.
To foster an awareness and understanding of Japanese cultures, departmental courses are often interdisciplinary in approach, introducing historical background, social, philosophical, political issues and other cultural concerns. Students are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of Japan by taking courses in other disciplines in the Asian studies program. Many students of Japanese majors study for a semester or more in Japan: opportunities include programs in Kyoto and Tokyo. The foreign Language Resource Center, a multipurpose space for language learning, teaching and professional development with an emphasis on technology and an extensive film collection, further enriches the study of Asian languages, literatures and cultures.