Asian Studies Major, B.A.–Japanese Concentration

Japan is a democracy with a robust economy, advanced technology in fields including AI and robotics, and a major role in international relations. Japanese popular culture, from anime to video games, has been influential across the U.S. and across the globe. Friendships with Japanese, travel abroad, enjoying Japanese food locally, as well as the practice of martial arts and the love of Japanese popular media have motivated students to pursue the study of Japanese at Carolina. In the program, students enjoy meeting others with similar enthusiasms and often take part in extracurricular activities such as the Japan Club and the anime club (COUp).

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Asian studies program, students should be able to:

  • Identify or analyze significant aspects of the target cultures by interpreting texts and media
  • Demonstrate proficiency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in the target language
  • Demonstrate experience in the use of the target language outside the language classroom

Requirements

In addition to the program requirements, students must

  • earn a minimum final cumulative GPA of 2.000
  • complete a minimum of 45 academic credit hours earned from UNC–Chapel Hill courses
  • take at least half of their major core requirements (courses and credit hours) at UNC–Chapel Hill
  • earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.000 in the major core requirements. Some programs may require higher standards for major or specific courses.

For more information, please consult the degree requirements section of the catalog.

Core Requirements
JAPN 305Advanced Japanese I 13
JAPN 306Advanced Japanese II3
At least three advanced Japanese courses from the list below9
At least two culture courses from the list below 26
One more course that may be from either the advanced Japanese list or the culture list 23
Additional Requirements
Japanese through level 4 34
Total Hours28
1

Students whose initial language placement is above JAPN 305 should consult the department.

2

No more than one first-year seminar or senior honors thesis course may be included among the culture courses.

3

The first three levels of Japanese (JAPN) can count toward the General Education global language requirement and have not been included as additional hours for the major.

Approved courses taken in UNC–Chapel Hill-sponsored study abroad programs may count in the concentration.

Placement credit (PL) may not be used to meet core requirements for the concentration.

With the approval of the associate chair of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, a student may count a course in directed readings (ASIA 496 or JAPN 496) in the concentration in Japanese. To register for ASIA 496 or JAPN 496, a student must obtain the approval of the associate chair and the faculty member who will supervise the project.

Advanced Japanese Courses

JAPN 401Gateway to Mastering Japanese3
JAPN 408Japanese Journalism3
JAPN 410Topics in Contemporary Japanese Literature3
JAPN 411Food and Culture in Japan3
JAPN 412IDEAs in Action General Education logo Making Music in Japan3
JAPN 414IDEAs in Action General Education logo Manga as a Japanese Art and Culture3
JAPN 415Sports in Japanese Culture3
JAPN 416Understanding Japanese Business Culture and Its Practice3
JAPN 417IDEAs in Action General Education logo Japanese Culture through Film and Literature3
JAPN 418IDEAs in Action General Education logo Service Learning in Japanese Language3
JAPN 490Topics in Japanese Language and Literature3
JAPN 521IDEAs in Action General Education logo Investigating Japanese Culture through TV Dramas3
JAPN 590Advanced Topics in Japanese Language and Literature3

Culture Courses

ASIA 63IDEAs in Action General Education logo First-Year Seminar: Japanese Tea Culture3
JAPN 160IDEAs in Action General Education logo Introduction to Japanese Literature in Translation3
JAPN 162IDEAs in Action General Education logo Japanese Popular Culture3
ASIA 233IDEAs in Action General Education logo Drugs, Sex, and Sovereignty in East Asia, 1800-19453
JAPN 246/HIST 247IDEAs in Action General Education logo Early Modern Japanese History and Culture3
HIST 271/JAPN 231IDEAs in Action General Education logo Ancient and Medieval Japanese History and Culture3
JAPN 277IDEAs in Action General Education logo Empire of Sex: Eroticism, Mass Culture, and Geopolitics in Japan, 1945-Present3
JAPN 375IDEAs in Action General Education logo The Culture of Modern, Imperial Japan, 1900-19453
ASIA/CMPL 379IDEAs in Action General Education logo Cowboys, Samurai, and Rebels in Film and Fiction H3
ASIA/CMPL/WGST 380IDEAs in Action General Education logo Almost Despicable Heroines in Japanese and Western Literature3
JAPN 451IDEAs in Action General Education logo Swords, Tea Bowls, and Woodblock Prints: Exploring Japanese Material Culture3
JAPN 482IDEAs in Action General Education logo Embodying Japan: The Cultures of Beauty, Sports, and Medicine in Japan3
ASIA/CMPL 483IDEAs in Action General Education logo Cross-Currents in East-West Literature3
JAPN/LING 563IDEAs in Action General Education logo Structure of Japanese3
ASIA 692HIDEAs in Action General Education logo Senior Honors Thesis II3
H

Honors version available. An honors course fulfills the same requirements as the nonhonors version of that course. Enrollment and GPA restrictions may apply.

Sample Plan of Study

Sample plans can be used as a guide to identify the courses required to complete the major and other requirements needed for degree completion within the expected eight semesters. The actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Students should meet with their academic advisor to create a degree plan that is specific and unique to their interests. The sample plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UNC–Chapel Hill in the fall term. Some courses may not be offered every term.

The Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies requires that all students with prior knowledge of Japanese take a placement test. Their beginning language course at UNC is decided by the placement result (not by test credit or transfer credit).

A student’s initial placement is the most important determinant of how long it will take to complete the major. It’s also important to be aware that almost all Japanese language courses are only offered in fall or spring, but not both.

Sample Plan One

This plan is for a student who either is a beginner in Japanese, or has some background but has placed into JAPN 101

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
JAPN 101 Elementary Japanese I (fall only) 4
JAPN 102 Elementary Japanese II (spring only) 4
Major culture course 1 3
Hours 22
Sophomore Year
JAPN 203 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Intermediate Japanese I (fall only) 4
JAPN 204 Intermediate Japanese II (spring only) 4
Major culture course 3
Hours 11
Junior Year
JAPN 305 Advanced Japanese I (fall only) 3
JAPN 306 Advanced Japanese II (spring only) 3
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Senior Year
JAPN 401 Gateway to Mastering Japanese (fall only) 3
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (Two 4th-year language courses) 6
Hours 9
Total Hours 51
1

Students can also fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the major.

Sample Plan Two 

This plan is for a student who either is a beginner in Japanese, or has some background but has placed into JAPN 101, and who does a summer study abroad program. 

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
JAPN 101 Elementary Japanese I (fall only) 4
JAPN 102 Elementary Japanese II (spring only) 4
Major culture course 1 3
Summer after first year
JAPN 203 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Intermediate Japanese I (in UNC Summer in Tokyo program) 4
JAPN 204 Intermediate Japanese II (in UNC Summer in Tokyo program) 4
Hours 30
Sophomore Year
JAPN 305 Advanced Japanese I (fall only) 3
JAPN 306 Advanced Japanese II (spring only) 3
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Junior Year
JAPN 401 Gateway to Mastering Japanese (fall only) 3
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (4th-year language course) 3
Hours 6
Senior Year
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (Two 4th-year language courses) 6
Hours 6
Total Hours 51
1

Students can also fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the major.

Sample Plan Three

This plan is for a student who has placed into JAPN 102. Note that this scenario will not always be possible as it depends upon the offering of Elementary Japanese in the summer term, which happens in some but not all years

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
Summer before first year
JAPN 102 Elementary Japanese II (in second summer session) 4
First year
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
JAPN 203 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Intermediate Japanese I (fall only) 4
JAPN 204 Intermediate Japanese II (spring only) 4
Major culture course 1 3
Hours 26
Sophomore Year
JAPN 305 Advanced Japanese I (fall only) 3
JAPN 306 Advanced Japanese II (spring only) 3
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Junior Year
JAPN 401 Gateway to Mastering Japanese (fall only) 3
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (4th-year language course) 3
Hours 6
Senior Year
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (Two 4th-year language courses) 6
Hours 6
Total Hours 47
1

Students can also fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the major.

Sample Plan Four

This plan is for a student who has placed into JAPN 203.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
JAPN 203 IDEAs in Action General Education logo Intermediate Japanese I (fall only) 4
JAPN 204 Intermediate Japanese II (spring only) 4
Major culture course 1 3
Hours 22
Sophomore Year
JAPN 305 Advanced Japanese I (fall only) 3
JAPN 306 Advanced Japanese II (spring only) 3
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Junior Year
JAPN 401 Gateway to Mastering Japanese (fall only) 3
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (4th-year language course) 3
Hours 6
Senior Year
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (Two 4th-year language courses) 6
Hours 6
Total Hours 43
1

Students can also fulfill this requirement by taking a first-year seminar in the major.

Sample Plan Five

This plan is for a student who has placed into JAPN 305.

Plan of Study Grid
First YearHours
First-Year Foundation Courses
IDST 101 IDEAs in Action General Education logo College Thriving 1
ENGL 105
IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric
or IDEAs in Action General Education logo English Composition and Rhetoric (Interdisciplinary)
3
First-Year Seminar or First-Year Launch 3
Triple-I and Data Literacy 4
Major Courses
JAPN 305 Advanced Japanese I (fall only) 3
JAPN 306 Advanced Japanese II (spring only) 3
Hours 17
Sophomore Year
JAPN 401 Gateway to Mastering Japanese (fall only) 3
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (4th-year language course) 3
Major culture course 3
Hours 9
Junior Year
JAPN 4--- JAPN 400-Level Elective (Two 4th-year language courses) 6
Hours 6
Senior Year
Major culture course 3
Hours 3
Total Hours 35

Special Opportunities in Asian Studies

Honors in Asian Studies

A candidate for honors in Asian studies will write a substantial paper under the guidance of a faculty member. While researching and writing the honors paper, the student will enroll in ASIA 691H and ASIA 692H. ASIA 692H may count as one of the interdisciplinary courses for the major; ASIA 691H will count for elective credit only. In the case of the concentrations in Arab cultures, Chinese, Japanese, Korean studies, and South Asian studies, ASIA 692H may count toward the major in the concentration.

A committee composed of at least two faculty members will examine the candidate. To be accepted as an honors candidate, a student must meet the University’s requirement of a minimum overall grade point average of 3.3, secure the consent of a faculty member in the Asian studies field to act as advisor for the project, and submit a proposal to the associate chair of Asian studies for approval.

Departmental Involvement

The department sponsors a variety of cultural events — lectures, film series, performances, and more — as well as social and informational events where students can get to know each other and faculty members in an informal setting. Faculty members in the department serve as advisors to some of the many Asia-related student organizations on campus, such as the Japan Club, Chinese Conversation Club, Hebrew Table, and more.

Languages across the Curriculum

The department participates in the Languages across the Curriculum (LAC) program, offering a one-credit-hour discussion section that is conducted in Arabic, Chinese, or Hindi-Urdu but associated with a variety of courses offered in English, both in Asian studies and in such other departments as history or religious studies. This LAC recitation section offers students the opportunity to use their Arabic, Chinese, Hindi-Urdu, or Korean language skills in a broader intellectual context.

Libraries

The University has rich collections of books and periodicals on Asia in the relevant Asian languages, as well as in English and other Western languages. Experts in the collection development department for Davis Library are available to help students locate the materials they need. The University also has an outstanding collection of Asian films and other audiovisual materials, housed in the Media Resource Center at House Library.

Speaker Series

The department sponsors an annual speaker series. These events include lectures by prominent artists, scholars, and writers and are often cosponsored by other units on campus.

Study Abroad

UNC–Chapel Hill sponsors several study programs (summer, semester, and yearlong) in China, Egypt, India, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam. Asian studies majors are strongly encouraged to take advantage of these opportunities to live and study in an Asian setting; UNC-approved study abroad programs also satisfy the experiential education requirement. For further information on these programs and other study abroad opportunities in Asia, contact the UNC Study Abroad Office.

Undergraduate Research

The department actively encourages undergraduate student research. Through classes, advising, and office hours, faculty members guide students toward defining areas of interest, conceptualizing research questions, identifying sources, and writing academic papers. Students may pursue research through independent studies, the senior honors thesis, and study abroad research opportunities such as the Burch Fellowship. Asian studies students have received a variety of competitive research support and travel awards, won regional contests for undergraduate papers, published papers in academic journals, and presented their work at such events as the Senior Colloquium in Asian Studies and the campuswide Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research in the spring.

Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Visit Program Website

New West 113, CB# 3267

(919) 962-4294

Japanese Program Advisor

Dwayne Dixon

dedixon@email.unc.edu

Chair

Morgan Pitelka

mpitelka@unc.edu

Director of Undergraduate Studies

Robin Visser

rvisser@email.unc.edu

Student Services Specialist

Ash Barnes

wow@unc.edu