This minor provides two full years of modern language and culture instruction to prepare students for living and working within an intercultural society both at home and abroad. The minor consists of five courses, either five language courses or a combination of language courses with up to two culture courses. Students with previous language skills must consult the minor adviser for placement evaluation before they register. Part of the requirements for this minor can be fulfilled by courses taken abroad.
Notes about this minor:
This minor is closed to students majoring in applied modern language and culture who have chosen the Japanese language track; students majoring in international and global studies students who have chosen an area of study in Japanese language or a field specialization in Asia; or are native speakers of Japanese.
Posting of the minor on the student’s academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
The program code for Modern Language – Japanese Minor is JAPAN-MN.
This is the first course in the first year sequence designed for students with no prior exposure to Japanese. It provides a sound introduction to the language as it is spoken and written today. A strong emphasis is placed on oral proficiency and the appropriate use of language in Japanese society. Hiragana and Katakana syllabary is also taught for written communication. Not open to students with prior Japanese instruction. Students must take placement exam if this is their first RIT class in Japanese and they have some prior study of Japanese.
Beginning Japanese II
This is the second course in the first-year sequence. It provides a sound introduction to the language as it is spoken and written today. A strong emphasis is placed on proficiency and the appropriate use of language in the Japanese society. Students continue to learn how to use language in real-life situations for different communication purposes. Approximately 120 Kanji characters are also introduced for written communication. Students must have a good command of Hiragana and Katakana and basic knowledge of Kanji to take this course.
Intermediate Japanese I
This is the first course in the second-year sequence designed to give students more advanced instruction and practice in the skills of speaking, reading, writing, and comprehending contemporary Japanese. A strong emphasis is placed on proficiency through reading, writing, and speaking activities. Students learn cultural information and practice using the language in real life situations in Japanese society. Approximately 60 new Kanji are introduced.
Intermediate Japanese II
This is the second course in the second-year sequence designed to give students more advanced instruction and practice in the skills of speaking, reading, writing, and comprehending contemporary Japanese. A strong emphasis is placed on proficiency through reading, writing, and speaking activities. Students learn cultural information and practice using the language in real life situations in Japanese society. Approximately 120 new Kanji are introduced.
Practical Reading and Speaking in Japanese
This course aims to cultivate basic skills that are essential for daily life in Japan. The main focus is on the development of reading skills and oral communication skills with the use of common phrases, expressions, and Kanji characters that are commonly used in the Japanese society today. This course gives students the opportunity to read various practical texts such as signs, advertisements, notes, instructions, notices, and e-mails. The course also provides students opportunities to strengthen practical communication skills through activities and daily life situations such as filling out forms, asking for information, explaining situations in detail, and giving thoughts on daily matters. This course reinforces the materials learned in the beginning level in Japanese. Students need to continue the sequential courses (Intermediate Japanese I and II) in order to advance in the intermediate level.
Practical Writing and Speaking in Japanese
This course aims to enhance basic writing and speaking skills that are essential for daily life in Japan. The main focus is on the development of practical daily conversational skills and writing with the use of common phrases, expressions, and Kanji characters that are commonly used in the Japanese society today. This course gives students the opportunity to practice writing various practical passages and texts such as application forms, advertisements, e-mails, blogs, and letters. The course also provides students opportunities to strengthen practical communication skills through activities and daily life situations such as asking for information, explaining situations in detail, and giving thoughts on daily matters. This course reinforces the materials learned at the beginning level in Japanese. Students need to continue the sequential courses (Intermediate Japanese I and II) in order to advance in the intermediate level.
Advanced Japanese I
This course provides advanced students of Japanese with training in all four language skills. Students will practice oral communication with a high degree of proficiency in various social settings. They will improve communicative skills with discussions and debate. They will also receive training in reading semi-authentic and authentic materials with the help of a dictionary, as well as training in writing for a specific purpose, such as news reports and critical essays.
Creative Writing and Performance in Japanese
This course provides advanced students of Japanese with training in spoken and written production. Students will learn the different writing styles and style in speech in Japanese that range from casual to formal, and will apply them to differentiate the speaking and writing as they engage in spoken and written productions. Production activities include, but not limited to, creative, expository, and persuasive writing and speaking, and some short visual performance such as play.
Japanese Culture in Print
Through selected readings of essays, novels, biographies of historical figures, and contemporary manga (Japanese comics), this course gives students the opportunity to learn about Japanese culture, society, and history, in the Japanese language. Also, through discussing and writing as well as reading, this course refines students' language skills with the aim of expressing their thoughts. Furthermore, through individual readings selected by the student and based on their area of interest and ability, this course provides the opportunity to develop expressive skills in Japanese.
Advanced Speaking in Japanese
This course is designed to establish speaking proficiency at an advanced level by expanding students’ understanding of the socio-cultural knowledge necessary for communication. Readings concerning such topics as recent social developments and traditional culture in Japan will provide the basis for students’ discussions in class as well as writing assignments. Students will also master both formal and informal interactions in Japanese in various contexts by practicing dialogues and creating role-plays on situations associated with the topics and skills required for advanced speakers. Moreover, each student will conduct research on a topic related to Japan and give a presentation in Japanese in class. With these kinds of activities, students will not only improve such practical communication skills as expressing their thoughts and giving explanations, but also acquire vocabulary, expressions and kanji characters at a more advanced level, and deepen their understanding of Japan.
Japanese for Science and Technology
This course teaches specialized terminology and linguistic structures important for communicating scientific and technological knowledge in the target language. The focus is on developing students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in interpreting technical Japanese. Students will learn science and technology terms and structures in a broad range of technical areas via experiential learning activities. In addition, students will research and present topics of their own interest or beyond their disciplines. Students will expand their knowledge of the target language to include technical terms/structures and prepare themselves to better apply their language skills in internships, research, and work while exploring and understanding the culture in professional workplaces.
The course gives students an opportunity to study professional language and culture as well as to practice presentation and negotiation skills, especially in professional and formal contexts. Students will improve speaking, listening, reading and writing skills developed in the elementary/intermediate sequence to master formal interactions in Japanese. They will learn professional vocabulary, expressions, and grammatical structures through readings, conversation, and discussion. They will cultivate expressive skills through discussion, writing assignments, and a video tutorial project. This course will be useful for students who are planning to seek employment in international companies or in companies doing business abroad, and also for students who want to learn more about business in Japan. This is a language class; proficiency equivalent to Intermediate Japanese II is required.
Students can take up to two culture courses as part of the Japanese minor. In addition to culture courses listed for the minor, other courses from other departments dealing with aspects of Japanese culture, society, history, and art may also be approved by the faculty adviser.
Since the first humans set out from Africa nearly two million years ago, our ancestors and relatives managed to settle in almost every continent. Wherever they went, they left traces of their lives that are tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years deep. We call these traces the archaeological record. Almost everywhere our ancestors settled, they did many of the same things, such as inventing agriculture, cities, writing, and state-level societies. However, they did this in ways unique to each region and time. This course examines the archaeology of a specific region, such as the Middle East, Mesoamerica, North America, or East Asia, in detail. We examine the geography, culture, archaeological record, and significance of the region to various key themes in archaeological research with respect to other world regions.
This introductory survey course examines the history, aesthetics and style of Japanese animation or anime. The course provides a vocabulary for the analysis of anime as well as the critical and analytical skills for interpreting anime as an art form. This course will develop students' skills in viewing, analyzing, interpreting and evaluating the art of anime. Students will learn to analyze important series and films, and connect anime with contemporary and historical trends in Japan. Emphasis will be placed on the analysis of works by major directors and studios including: Tezuka, Sugii, Miyazaki, Oshii, Kon, Takahata, Shinkai, Watanabe, Studio Ghibli, Studio 4C, and Madhouse. Background knowledge of animation, film or anime is helpful but no specific knowledge is required or expected.
History of Modern East Asia
Understanding the history of East Asia is integral to understanding the complex world that we live in, and will help us to understand that no single nation can live in isolation. One cannot endeavor to understand limited national entities alone; rather one must understand the interactions between cultures and across borders that help to define the world. Japan, for example, cannot be adequately understood without reference to China, Korea, and one might argue, the wider world. Therefore, we will undertake in this course to examine the region of East Asia historically from about 1600 to the present, paying special attention to interactions between the cultures and people of the region.
The United States and Japan
This class examines the U.S.-Japanese relationship from the perspectives of diplomacy, economics, and culture. Fluctuating sharply during its 150 years, this relationship has featured gunboat diplomacy, racial conflict, war, and alliance. The course investigates U.S.-Japanese relations in the contexts of modernization, imperialism, World War II, the cold war, and the 21st century.
History of Modern Japan
This course will seek to examine critically the history and culture of Japan and will address many of the stereotypes and misunderstandings that are an inevitable part of Japanese studies. We will do this by examining a number of materials such as primary documents in translation, Japanese films, and art such as woodblock prints. In doing so, I will try to present as complete and balanced a picture of Japan's history and culture as possible. This will not only be useful in understanding Japan and its past, but will also help in understanding many of the important regional issues that are confronting us here in the modern world.
History of Premodern Japan
This class will introduce students to the history of Japan from the earliest times to the opening of the country in the mid nineteenth century. Through a variety of readings, discussions, and lectures, we'll tackle issues such as the origin of the Japanese people, early state formation, Japan in the larger East Asian context, and the rise of the warriors. We'll also examine the unique dual form of government that existed in Japan from the twelfth century, consisting of rule by the imperial court as well as by the warrior class in Japan, the well-known samurai. And finally, we'll look at several of the modern myths of Japanese history and try to address them in a balanced, historical manner.
Modern Japan in History, Fiction, and Film
This course offers an introduction to modern Japanese history, highlighting social and aesthetic traditions that have formed the foundations for Japanese literature and cinema. It explores how writers and directors have drawn on this heritage to depict historical experiences.
Samurai in Word and Image
One of the most enduring images of premodern Japan in the samurai, replete with sword and armor. This course will seek to examine the role of the samurai in Japanese history, examining popular perceptions in Japanese film, woodblock prints, and texts. We will also use a variety of secondary sources to critically examine some of the portrayals of the samurai and how they stand up to historical reality. Students will be encouraged to participate in extensive discussions as we deal with a great variety of media and try to arrive at an image of the samurai that is historically accurate. And finally, we will examine issues such as feudalism and the warrior code and how those historical concepts relate to the west at about the same time period.
Language in Japanese Society
This course aims to introduce students to modern Japanese society, its rich cultural heritage, and the use of Japanese language that reflects the societal norms. It provides students with a fundamental yet diverse knowledge of Japanese culture and Japanese language use. Course work will include lectures, readings, discussions, and working with multi-media resources. Knowledge of Japanese helpful but not necessary.
Structure of the Japanese Language
This course aims to increase student understanding of basic characteristics of the Japanese language. Topics include the genetic affiliation of the Japanese language, sound system, word formation, syntactic structures, socio-cultural factors in language use, and historical development of the writing system. Students will become acquainted with the language from a linguistics perspective and develop analytical skills by solving linguistic problems pertinent to Japanese language.
East Asian Philosophy
This course is an introduction to the origin and development of the philosophical traditions of primarily China and Japan through a consideration of selected thinkers, schools, and classic texts of Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Zen. Questions of metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics are emphasized with reference to the nature of reality and the person, social harmony and self-realization, causality, right action, and enlightenment. Comparisons may also be made with Western philosophers, both contemporary and classical.
Politics of East Asia
This course examines the East-Asian countries using the following comparative criteria as the organizing guidelines: modern political history of the country, political economy and development, governance and policy making, representation and participation, as well as major domestic and foreign policy issues. The political prospects of the countries for the 21st century will be analyzed and discussed.
* Course may be used when topic focuses on East Asia.