SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Basic Japanese 1

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Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate:

  1. knowledge and understanding of basic Japanese grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of essential Japanese vocabulary
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of basic Japanese structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand short passages in written Japanese on everyday topics
  5. the ability to produce short passages in written Japanese on everyday topics
  6. the ability to understand spoken Japanese and to engage in short spoken discourse on everyday topics


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

The course for beginners provides an introduction to Japanese language with both practical written and spoken Japanese, with an emphasis on the former. The three types of script, hiragana, katakana and 188 Chinese characters will be introduced.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written exam (80%), taken in May/June and continuous assessment (20%) comprising of assignments and weekly, and termly tests.

Suggested reading

  • Minna no Nihongo Shokyu [2nd version] Vol.1 Textbook
  • Minna no Nihongo Elementary Japanese I: Translation & Grammar Notes-English [2nd version]
  • Supplementary material: Workbook


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules