SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Japanese 1

Module Code:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Full Year



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the module, 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 module 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.


Please note that on line registration alone will not give you an automatic right to attend the module. You are required to fill the registration form. You can download the Registration form here. Please submit it to Japanese 1 module convenor, Dr. Seiko Harumi (, Room 367)

If you have any previous knowledge of Japanese language (including private tuition and self-study), you are required to take a placement test taking place during the Welcome Week.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written exam taken in May/June (80%); continuous assessment consisting of regular assignments, regular tests and review tests; homework and quizzes (20%).

Language lifeboat

Year 1 students who are in danger of failing a language open option can be permitted to discontinue the module from the end of term 1 and enroll instead on an essay-based 'Studies' module. Students must have attended 80% of the open option classes to be eligible. The Studies module will be assessed by two 2500 word essays.

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

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 click the 'Hiragana and Katakana Preparation' link on the right hand side on this page for more information.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules