Why study Japanese?
Japan is one of New Zealand’s major trading partners and one of the world’s richest and largest markets, therefore your knowledge of Japanese language and culture will be highly valued by many New Zealand or overseas employers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, primary and secondary schools, tourism industries, research institutes, law firms and translation services, and the many New Zealand businesses that trade with Japan, all require university graduates not only proficient in Japanese language but familiar enough with Japanese customs and culture that they are able to interact successfully with Japanese people.
Your study of Japanese language and culture will also be immeasurably enriching to you on a personal level. Whether you’re interested in anime cartoons or Zen meditation, in the novels of Haruki Murakami or the films of Hayao Miyazaki, in the high aesthetics of Japanese food or Tokyo fashion, in flower arrangement, rock gardens, martial arts, tea ceremony, or all of the many other fascinating aspects of Japanese culture, this culture has so much to offer. It will enrich you intellectually and spiritually for the rest of your life.
Japanese at Otago
Japanese is a major of the Bachelor of Arts (BA), a three-year degree programme. BA Honours in Japanese requires an extra year, and students are usually required to complete an ‘in-country study’ programme in Japan. We also offer the Diploma in Language or the Diploma in Language and Culture for students who major in other subjects. Minors in Japanese Language or Japanese Culture are available too. Students who are interested in conducting further research on Japanese language and culture can join our MA or PhD programmes.
Diploma in Global Cultures
The Diploma in Global Cultures (DipGlobalC) prepares students for the pressing need to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for intercultural communicative competence and responsible, global citizenship.
The DipGlobalC is a separate qualification normally completed alongside a degree programme and replaces the Diploma in Language and Culture.
No former training is required, because we offer introductory Japanese for absolute beginners. If you have studied Japanese at secondary school for several years, you can enter our Intermediate Japanese papers directly, and study toward advanced levels.
There are many opportunities open to students who major in Japanese. While some opt for careers in foreign relations, trade, commerce and tourism, others choose an academic path, such as teaching Japanese at schools in New Zealand or going on to MA and PhD degrees at Otago or elsewhere. A number of our graduates have also spent time in Japan under the Japanese government’s JET Programme. They work as assistant language teachers at Japanese schools or as coordinators for international relations at local government offices.
In order to maximise students’ contact with the language, culture and society of Japan, Otago University has established exchange relationships with seven Japanese universities. They are Bunkyo Gakuin University, Hirosaki University, Ochanomizu University, Otaru University of Commerce, Rissho University, University of Tokyo, and Yokohama National University. If your marks average B or better, you may qualify to attend one of these institutions for one or two semesters. You pay only your New Zealand fees, and complete your qualification within the same timeframe as if you had never been away. Competitive scholarships from the Japanese government, the Japanese universities and Otago University are also available to support students on exchange.