SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Basic Japanese 1 (PG)

Module Code:
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 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)


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week in language classes.

Scope and syllabus

The module 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. 


Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (50%), a learning diary consisting of 4 written pieces to be submitted every 5 weeks (20%); a 10 minute oral presentation (10%); continuous assessment consisting of regular assignments (5%); regular tests (5%) and 2 review tests at the end of each term (10%).

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 give 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