SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Projects by Language Centre Students of Japanese

Most of these texts are written in Japanese so your browser needs to be capable of displaying Japanese text.

Lower Advanced Japanese class Projects 2013

From April to June 2013, the Language Centre’s Lower Advanced students of Japanese produced essays on Japan-related matters.

Alisa describes how and why Japanese computer games captivate western audience, including herself. Esteban wonders how Japanese manga emerged from Japanese traditional media. Giorgio praises the wax work display at Japanese restaurants and delves into its history. Natalie investigates how Japanese TV programmes reflect its culture and offers her insights through their recent changes. Peter identifies and offers solutions to the problems Japan currently faces.

 Previous years 

Higher Advanced Japanese Class Projects 2005

Japanese Who’s Who

Students from Higher Advanced courses wrote essays on people of historical, cultural, and personal interests -- from a Chinese monk who fathered Japanese Buddhism to a musician who invented Karaoke.

Ruselle Meade:
  • Shigeru Ban : World-renowned architect, creator of the Pompidou Centre
  • Akira Kurosawa: Everyone’s favourite film director, the creator of Seven Samurai
  • Ganjinwajou: The father of Japanese Buddhism, risked his life to come to Japan
Abigail Rayfield:

Advanced Class Projects 2005

My favourite Japanese places
John Chisholm:
  • Okayama: Birthplace of MOMOTARO - Japanese hero.
Juliet Downing:
  • Okinawa: Juliet daydreams about the day she can finally visit Okinawa, where the tradition of the mysterious and attractive Ryuukyuan culture flourished and still carries on today.
Kata Gregory:
  • Niigata: Our own ex-diplomate, ex-JLPT preparatory course participant Kata reveals Niigata, where romance can be found among the northern natural beauty.
Peter Maksym:
  • Fukushima: The entrance to the sacred Japanese Alps, where the first mythical emperor praised its beauty in his poem. Peter goes on an arduous trek through the dynamic scenery that will remain with you forever.

Lower Advanced Japanese Class Projects 2006

From April to June 2006, The Language Centre's lower advanced students of Japanese produced essays on Japan-related matters.

Robert Corlett expresses his view on the Japanese and their health awareness. He argues that the Japanese take particular care of their health and this is reflected in their philosophy and daily routines. Julia Curry explores why Japanese designs have become very popular worldwide, pointing out that the Shinto principle of “spirits within everything” has a direct bearing on how functions and appearances are combined in Japanese designs. Ada Ng researches into the best invention in Japan. Is it Karaoke, or is it Walkman? Bill Pohl relates the history of our beloved Bullet train - Shinkansen from its conception to today, touching on what initial and subsequent challenges the Japanese had to overcome for its realisation. Juemin Xu provides a detailed history of the Japanese habit of bathing, touching on how it came about, its cultural significance, and its non-human fans, of course.

Japanese Culture:

Lower Advanced Japanese Class Projects 2005

From April to June 2005, The Language Centre's LAJ students produced essays on Japan-related matters.

Cheryl Aldridge takes you to a brief tour of Japanese baths, decribing their history and cultural significance. Leana Coyle gives you an interesting insight into "Maneki Neko", colourful cats on display in many shops. Colin Keatinge talks about a Japanese literature giant, Kenji Miyazawa and his less-known works, while Daniel McDonald passionately argues for some restraint on the ever-increasing number of Katakana words. Finally Sharon Rapose admits that, before she visited Japan, she imagined the Japanese still wearing kimonos while working in skyscrapers.

The texts are written in Japanese, so your browser needs to be capable of displaying Japanese text.

Japanese Culture:

Lower Advanced Japanese Class Projects 2004

In April - May 2004 our LAJ students conducted their own research into Japanese history (term 2) and Japanese objects of interest (term 3).

In Japanese history, Chris Burke presents theories of the origin of the Japanese, where they come from and who they are, and Peter Maksym investigates how, despite its humble origin, Samurai managed to be so powerful in Japan .

In Japanese objects of interest, students are asked to research into the socio-historical aspects of Japanese objects of their choice. Sharon Chou and Kata Gregory introduce “koinobori”, a set of carp shaped banners. Waiwa Young and Robin Harding delve into “okonomiyaki”, often refered to as “Japanese pizza”, while Christine Tseng writes a full report on Japanese traditional sweets “wagashi” and their development from 1,000AD. Katherine Churcher reports on a love hotel in Japan in a great “tongue-in-cheek” style. Peter Maksym describes the origin and the fate of “ukiyoe”, and Ian Rapley explains what is really going on in “sumo” wrestling.

Japanese History:
Objects of Interest:

Diploma Projects 2005

Diplomates 2005

Haiku with Tominaga sensei

This second instalment of Haiku by the 2005-06 Diploma students boast 7 highly evocative pieces. The readers will enjoy the visual impressions, symbolic meaning between the lines, and the emotion the students are feeling at the time of writing.

Diploma Projects 2004

俳句 Haiku

“Haiku” refers to a subset of Japanese poem styles. Its simplicity and elegance - 3 simple lines with a seasonal reference - was developed hand in hand with Zen, where life is but a collection of fleeting moments. Hence the impression evoked by Haiku is highly visual, almost photographic in that it is the immediate physical surroundings that authors are trying to convey to the readers, and a seasonal reference provides context to enhance empathy between the writer and the reader.

The 2004-05 Diploma students produced high quality Haiku in term 2

Upper Intermediate Japanese Class Projects 2005

From October to December 2005, the language Centre’s Upper Intermediate students worked on creative writing projects. The topics are “A place of fond memories” and “My invention”.

Students are expected to further polish their writing skill when they go on to participate in Lower Advanced Japanese after this course.

Clare Spright describes a Japanese town, where she spent her third year abroad for her degree, while Glenn Murphy reminisces about his childhood in the seaside. Majid Riaz on the other hand claims to have invented “chopstick-friendly rice ball”.

Creative writing: