SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Basic Japanese 1 (Postgraduate)

Course Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
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 basic 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 limited everyday topics
  5. the ability to produce short passages in written Japanese on limited everyday topics
  6. the ability to learn Japanese autonomously through independent language-based activities (additional outcome for PG students)


This course will be taught over 22 weeks with 4 hours per week in language classes.  10 research seminars to be taken within SOAS. Attendance to be proven by signature from chair and to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Masters by the last day of term 2.

Scope and syllabus

The course 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 intoduced. Individual/group tutorials provided specifically for PG students introduce the students to work on a language learning portfolio and assist the students to pursue required components such as listening/writing/translation tasks. The language learning portfolio enables the students to take the initiative to learn the language, which is the essential additonal aspect of the PG language acquisition course.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%), a ten-minute oral examination (10%), continuous assessment (20%) and a language learning portfolio (20%) comprising of assignments and weekly 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