SOAS University of London

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

J100: Elementary Japanese

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Full Year

This module aims to develop a solid elementary level of competence in both productive (speaking/writing) and receptive skills (reading/ listening) in Japanese. Besides the four skills mentioned above, acquiring mediation skills (translation to and from Japanese/English) and some knowledge of cultural issues in relation to uses of the language also form part of the module requirements. At the end of the module, students should be able to handle basic materials in Japanese. This module is only available to students on BA Japanese and BA Japanese and another subject degrees. It is not available as an open option.


No prior knowledge of Japanese was required when you applied to SOAS. You will be given guidance about using and writing Japanese scripts in class, but memorizing hiragana and katakana before you arrive at SOAS will give your studies a great boost.

Registration for all first year students and Placement test:
All first year students are required to fill in the registration form (click here) and send it to the module convenor, Dr. Seiko Harumi ( by 29th September, 2021. If you have prior knowledge of Japanese, please complete a language placement test (click here) and return it to the module convenor with the registration form.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be expected to have:

  1. knowledge and understanding of elementary Japanese grammar
  2. knowledge and understanding of a basic range of Japanese vocabulary
  3. knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of a limited range of Japanese structures and expressions in a given context
  4. the ability to understand and to produce passages written in Japanese of short length on everyday situations
  5. the ability to understand spoken Japanese and to engage in basic spoken discourse on everyday situations
  6. the ability to translate from and to Japanese of short length with use of appropriate language on everyday situations


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 8 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

This module is designed for students who have no or limited knowledge of Japanese language. It is an integrated introduction to modern Japanese which aims to develop basic speaking, listening, reading, writing and mediation (translation to and from Japanese/English) skills.
The module covers two to three chapters per week from the textbook 'Minna no Nihongo'.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%); continuous assessment including regular tests (10%); listening and oral tasks (10%); one review test (10%); and Portfolio (20%).

Suggested reading


For BA Japanese, we will be using the following two textbooks in class from Term 1 Week 1, so please purchase them in advance before the course begins:

1. Minnano Nihongo Shokyu Vol.1 Textbook with CD (2nd edition).

2. Minnano Nihongo Shokyu Vol.1 Translation & Grammatical notes.(2nd edition).

Textbooks can be purchased from the website of JP Books in London:


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules