SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Basic Japanese 1 (PG)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year



Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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 introduced.  The language learning portfolio and this the learner to take the initiative to learn the language, which is the essential additional aspect of the PG language acquisition course.


Please note that on line registration alone will not give you an automatic right to attend the course. You are required to fill the registration form. You can download the Registration form here. Please submit it to Basic Japanese 1 course 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, 28 September, Wednesday between 11:00-12:30 at B102. Also, if you are MPhil /PhD. students, you will need to fill a special form to be submitted to the Faculty Office. For further enquiry on registration, please contact Dr. Seiko Harumi.

Announcement of your placement:
3th October (Monday), before 9:00 am:
The language level and group you have been placed will be announced on the notice board opposite MB377.

Classes begin on this day.

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

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