SOAS University of London

Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Advanced Japanese: Contemporary Topics (PG)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year


Intermediate Japanese 2 (Postgraduate) language level or equivalent

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The course provides students with higher intermediate knowledge of Japanese and practice in extensive reading as well as mediation skills of translating to and from Japanese/English texts. Resources will include near authentic to authentic materials dealing with current issues in the Japanese society. It allows students to interact with Japanese speakers in Japanese and to use original Japanese language sources within the level covered in the course. This provides students with a basis to approach research topics relating to Japanese language and the histories, societies and cultures associated with Japan.

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate . . .

  • knowledge and understanding of higher intermediate Japanese grammar
  • knowledge and understanding of a wide range of Japanese vocabulary
  • knowledge and understanding of the appropriateness of a wide range of Japanese structures and expressions in a given context
  • the ability to understand passages in written Japanese of medium to increased length on everyday and some specialised topics
  • the ability to produce passages in written Japanese of medium length on everyday and some specialised topics
  • the ability to understand spoken Japanese and to engage in spoken discourse of increased complexity on everyday and some specialised topics
  • knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Japanese in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students)


A total of 22 weeks teaching with 3 hours classroom contact per week.  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 teaching and learning of higher intermediate level Japanese language with emphasis on practical written and spoken Japanese. The course covers complex points of word and sentence structure as well as textual relations in Japanese writing and discourse. Communicative practice and structural knowledge are established through reading and discussing a variety of Japanese texts dealing with different topics and of different length and complexity.

Students are expected to produce a language learning portfolio which enables them to take the initiative to learn the language, which is one of the essential aspects of the PG language acquisition studies.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written paper taken in May/June (50%). Two 10 minute oral examinations (10% each). Continuous assessment (10%). Language Learning Portfolio (20%).

Suggested reading

The course will be based on

  • Extracts from near authentic to authentic materials and additional materials which will be made available throughout the course.

Additional Japanese References:

Japanese Learning Resources:

  • M.kaya and A Tsuda (1994),  Nihon o kangaeru itsutsu no kadai, Suri e nettowaku,  
  • H.Ito, Y.Mimaki etc. (1990), Asahishinbun de nihon o yomu, Kuroshio shuppan
  • M.Kaya (1998), Nihonshakai Tanken, Suri e nettowaku,  
  • S.Anodo tec, Topikku ni yoru nihongo sougo enshu, Suri e nettowaku,  
  • Newspapers (Asahi shinbun, Mainichi shinbun, Yomiuri shinbun)
  • Makino, S. and M, Tsutsui(1995), A dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar, The Japan Times

Kanji Dictionary

  • J.Halpern (1990), Kanji Learner’s Dictionary, The Kodansha


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules