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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

The Department provides tuition in the languages, literatures, histories, cultures and societies of Japan and Korea for the degrees of BA (single-subject or joint degree), MA, MPhil, and PhD. It aims through teaching and research to cover a broad spectrum of the cultures of Japan and Korea. 

The learning of the languages of these cultures is the essential foundation for study at any level, and all students and staff of the Department are expected to develop and maintain a high level of language competence in Japanese and/or Korean. Students are offered a broad knowledge of the cultures through a variety of courses in the Department and in other departments of SOAS, both through language-based units and through courses covering such disciplines as literature, linguistics, history, religion, philosophy, art, economics and politics and social anthropology. Members of the Department have various complementary areas of specialisation and knowledge, which comprise the core subjects of the degrees offered. In addition, all students on Japanese and Korean BA degrees are required to spend time during their course at an educational institution in the country of their study.*

The Japanese section offers two BA degrees, each with distinct paths of single or joint honours.
The BA Japanese (single and joint) offers tuition that combines intensive study of the written and spoken language along with lecture courses that focus on the great diversity of Japan's sophisticated and rich culture, both through in-depth study of the society and through student visits to Japan as part of the degree course. The number of specialists on Japan located in the various departments of the School makes this one of the largest Japanese studies programmes in the world. 

*The new BA Japanese Studies (single and joint) degree does not include a period of study abroad in Japan and students are required to take only a minimum amount of language units. Students focus on the study of Japan through the many discipline courses on offer at SOAS. The degree is meant to serve both students with minimal Japanese language expertise/interest and students who already have advanced Japanese language skills.

The Korean section offers the BA Korean degree (single and joint), which combines study of the written and spoken language along with lecture courses that focus on Korean culture, society, literature, and history. It provides intensive training in the language and aims to impart to its students an understanding of pre-modern Korean tradition, sensitivity to Korea's experiences under Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945) and during the Korean War, and the tools with which to interpret modern Korean culture and society to the West.


Department of Japan and Korea, SOAS, Thornhaugh Street, London, WC1H OXG

Telephone +44 (0)20 7637 2388

Fax +44 (0)20 7898 4009