Japanese at Bard

Japanese at Bard

Although only spoken widely in one region of the world, Japanese carries a long literary history stretching back over 1,300 years. The Japanese Program at Bard aims to introduce students to the rich cultural history of Japan from the ancient period to the present, with a special focus on the modern period. Language classes offer training in both spoken and written Japanese, and literature courses introduce major texts from Japan while critically addressing issues of gender, urban modernity, nature and the environment, political and intellectual history, film, visual arts, and other forms of popular culture.

Japanese/ Asian Studies

Students who wish to begin their study of Japanese at Bard should take Introductory Japanese 101, which is offered every Fall semester. The sequence continues with Japanese 102 in the Spring, followed by Intermediate Japanese 201 (Fall), Japanese 202 (Spring), and Advanced Japanese 301 (Fall) and 302 (Spring). Japanese 315, Reading and Translating Japanese: Theories, Methods, Practice is offered bi-annually and exposes advanced students to a variety of literary and journalistic writing styles as well as approaches to translating Japanese. Some advanced students also elect to arrange directed reading tutorials with faculty on topics such as Classical Japanese, modern and contemporary literature, manga translation, and so on.

Placement for new students into upper level language courses is in consultation with faculty; students with prior Japanese language experience or ability should contact a faculty member directly to arrange a linguistic assessment and placement meeting. 

An optional intensive study abroad program is offered every other summer (next scheduled for 2020) at Bard's partner institution in Japan, Kyoto Seika University. Students take daily intensive language course work as well as participate in conversation classes and cultural activities while living in Kyoto, one of Japan's oldest and most culturally rich cities. 

Students with an interest in practicing arts and two years of Japanese training also have the option of spending a full-semester at Kyoto Seika to complete coursework through Seika's studio arts programs, including classes on printmaking, drawing, painting, cybergraphics, etc. Other students who wish to spend a full semester in Japan can go through a variety of outside programs, including KCJS (Kyoto), CET (Osaka), Waseda (Tokyo), and JCMU (Hikone).

In addition to courses offered through the Japanese Program, a variety of Japan-related courses are also offered in History, Art History, Religion, Film Studies, and other programs. 

Students who wish to major in Japanese should refer to the information listed under Asian Studies below.


Scott Mehl
Nathan Shockey
Wakako Suzuki
Faculty contact and profile information may be found here.

Sample Courses

Current Course List (click here)
Introductory Japanese I-II
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Intermediate Japanese I-II
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Advanced Japanese I
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Advanced Japanese II
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Advanced Japanese III
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Asian Humanities Seminar
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Reading and Translating Japanese: Theories, Methods, Practice
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Additional Studies

Asian Studies Program

Asian Studies Website

The Asian Studies Program offers courses in anthropology, art history, classical studies, economics, film, gender studies, historical studies, human rights, literature, music, philosophy, political studies, religion, and theater. In consultation with a member of the program faculty, students select a regional and disciplinary focus in order to create a coherent program of study. Although the program focuses on China, Japan, and South Asia, students can investigate bordering regions such as Central Asia, Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, Korean peninsula, and Pacific Islands. Intellectual emphasis is placed on comparative perspectives, both within Asia and with other regions.

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Before Moderation, usually by the end of the second year at Bard, students whose concentration is Japanese Language and Literature will have taken at least 1 year of Japanese (8 credits) and at least 2 courses (8 credits) in Japanese literature and culture. To graduate, students need 44 credits consisting of the following:
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