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Japanese Major

Develop advanced fluency in the Japanese language and study the literary and cultural traditions of Japan from early times to the present day.

The Japanese major and minor offer you the opportunity to develop advanced language skills and will give you an in-depth introduction to Japanese literature and culture. Our courses take an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating perspectives on historical, social, philosophical and political issues.

You can expand your language skills and learning opportunities by studying abroad and living in our language residence hall.

When you graduate, you will speak, write and read Japanese fluently and be comfortable in both formal and informal contexts. You will become an adept translator, interpreter and researcher, and be able to engage sensitively with Japanese culture. 

In class with Professor of Japanese Lynne Miyake
In class with Professor Lynne Miyake
In class with Professor of Japanese Kyoko Kurita
In class with Professor Kyoko Kurita

What You’ll Study

    • Advanced courses in reading, writing and translation
    • Courses in Japanese literature in English
    • Courses in classical, modern and pop culture
    • Study abroad in Kyoto or Tokyo
    • Senior project
days a week the Oldenborg Center hosts Japanese language tables at lunchtime.

Learning at Pomona

Daniela Hinojosa Sada '19

Make Japan Great Again: Criticisms of the Glorification of Traditional (and Aimai) Japanese Understandings of Aesthetics

Daniela Hinojosa Sada '19 analyzed Kenzabure’s "Japan, the Ambiguous, and Myself" and Ango Sakaguchi’s "Things ‘Japanese.’"

Obaku's Loose Leaf Tea

Turning Over a New Leaf: Obaku's Introduction of Loose-leaf Tea and Syncretic Buddhist Practice from China to Tokugawa Japan

Andrew Nguy '19 is looking at the social, political, cultural, and religious factors that led to the popularization of loose-leaf tea in Japan.

Andrew Nguy '19
Andrew Nguy '19

Being interested in pre-modern Japan, I am really happy to have been able to learn Classical Japanese during my time at Pomona. It's let me connect with over a thousand years of history.

Faculty & Teaching

Our Japanese professors will offer you a rare depth of understanding of the language, people and culture. Their expertise includes the different concepts of time in Japanese and Western cultures, the narrative prose and diary literature traditions of the 10th to 12th centuries, political and ethical philosophy in 18th-century Japan, contemporary Japanese manga comics and cognitive linguistics. 

Professor Peter Flueckiger

Japanese language courses begin with a focus on communication in everyday life and eventually progress to reading, writing and speaking about complex topics. Literature classes engage students with Japan’s rich traditional and contemporary cultures. Our majors pursue a wide range of careers in such areas as law, business, media and academia, with many of them going on to work or study in Japan after graduation.