Introduction to Pre-Modern Japanese

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Module overview

The module will give an overview of pre-modern Japanese grammar and expressions as well as providing an overview of its relevance in the context of contemporary Japan.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • Demonstrate a clear knowledge of pre-modern Japanese in the contemporary context

  • Have a basic understanding of grammatical structures of pre-modern Japanese

  • Be able to read simple pre-modern texts


Total taught hours : 20 hours. 2 hours of lectures per week for 10 weeks.

Independent study : 130 hours

Total hours for module : 150 hours

Scope and syllabus

This module will look at pre-modern texts as well as modern and contemporary texts using pre-modern Japanese. Grammatical structures and differing script will also be introduced.

Method of assessment

  • Grammar Test 30%

  • Translation and commentary (1000 words) 70%

Suggested reading

Core Reading

  • Keene, Donald. World within walls : Japanese literature of the pre-modern era, 1600-1867. New York: Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1976.
  • Katsuki-Pestemer, Noriko. A Grammar of Classical Japanese. Munich Linocom, 2009.
  • Shirane, Haruo. Classical Japanese. A grammar. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
  • Wixted, John Timothy. A Handbook to Classical Japanese. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules