Language Centre

Japanese Beginners Course

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Key information

1 term per sub-level; 10 weeks per term
Attendance mode
Part-time: online/on campus

Course overview

The course introduces basic grammatical forms and essential frequent vocabulary and establishes a solid foundation in all four key language skills. Participants on the course will have opportunities to practise communicating in Japanese in class on daily topics, such as routines and activities, hobbies and habits, etc. The course provides complete beginners of Japanese with a basic grounding in in Japanese pronunciation and in the Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries. By the end of the course, participants are expected to be able to and read and write short simple texts in the appropriate script.

Students who complete this course are able to progress to Japanese Elementary, or A1 level in Common European Framework (for more details please see language proficiency levels CEFR). This course is delivered by the Language Centre


The course is taught in English and Japanese and includes coverage of the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing and a good balance between understanding the systems of Japanese grammar and vocabulary, developing the skills of comprehending and producing Japanese in speech and writing, guided practice in language usage and use and authentic communicative activities.

Online course 

This will be achieved through 20 hours of blended learning: this is composed of 15 hours of online structured lessons with the teacher. This is supplemented by a minimum of 5 hours of guided independent learning supported by complementary material and regular feedback from the tutor. The course objective will be achieved within the 10-week course. Please ensure you have checked the learner support page.

On campus course

The location will be SOAS, University of London. See SOAS Campus Maps

Room details will be provided once the enrolment period for the course has closed.


Our course materials page shows you what you need to buy for this course.

Entry requirements and progression route

For the first stage of Japanese Beginners (i.e. Japanese Beginners 1), no previous knowledge is required. To be able to join Beginners 2 or 3 you should have completed Beginners 1 and 2 respectively at SOAS Language Centre or have an equivalent knowledge of guided learning hours (20 hours per each sub-level). The progression route from Japanese Beginners 1 is to Japanese Beginners 2; from Beginners 2 to Beginners 3. Upon successful completion of Japanese Beginners 3 you will be able to progress to an Elementary level course in Japanese.

Please note, that each term, courses are subject to quorum requirements.

For course dates and information, please see our timetables


    Japanese Beginners 1 online/on campus

    In this course you will:

    • exchange greetings
    • recognise Japanese characters
    • get used to the sounds of Japanese
    • use basic classroom expressions
    • write name and country in Japanese
    • give simple self-introduction
    • read prices
    • go shopping
    • recognise opening and closing times of a shop
    • talk about routine activities

    Japanese Beginners 2 online/on campus

    In this course you will:

    • talk about daily life
    • say what they did on their days off
    • invite others for a drink
    • talk about means (equivalent of by or with)
    • describe things and people
    • give opinions on simple matters
    • ask for preferences
    • ask for and state reasons
    • write simple sentences

    Japanese Beginners 3 online/on campus

    In this course you will: 

    • ask for directions
    • read a menu
    • order food and drinks
    • talk briefly about your family 
    • count objects
    • talk about what you want to do
    • talk about what you did and how it was
    • express your intention
    • write a short essay on familiar topics

    The above is an indication of content that may be covered over the duration of the course but it could vary depending on the level and progress of students in the class.


    Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules

    See the full list of Language Centre short courses in Japanese on the Japanese language homepage

    Related information

    Back to the Language Centre