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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Basic Japanese 1

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Full Year



Please note: Placement Tests will take place 11:00-13:00 on Wednesday 23rd September 2015 in room B102.


For complete beginners you are asked to see Course convenor Dr Seiko Harumi (Room 367) to have a short meeting for group placements during her office hours. You can find her office hours on the door of Room 367. You are also required to fill in a registration form which can be downloaded here.

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 3 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.

The course provides students with a basic knowledge of Japanese and practice of using Japanese in limited everyday situations. It will allow students to interact with Japanese speakers in Japanese within the level covered in the course with some help.

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

From Monday of Week 1 of your study, you will be using the hiragana script (not Romanization). Our Japanese lectors will of course be giving you guidance about using and writing Japanese scripts in Week 1, but you will benefit from familiarizing yourself with the script before coming to class. Please read here for more information.

Additional 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