Department of Asian Languages and Cultures
Kresge Hall 4-400
1880 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-2209
Phone: (847) 491-5288
Fax: (847) 467-1097



News General Info Faculty Placement Test
Course Information Course Resources Study Abroad Opportunities Language Table
Minor in Japanese Language & Culture Job/Internship Opportunities Useful Info


Last updated: 04/16/14



The application deadline for all 2014-15 Japan Study at Waseda University programs is January 8th, 2014. The NU Study Abroad application deadline for the Waseda programs is December 15, 2013.


Japanese Language Proficiency Test 2013 (JLPT 2013) will take place at various test sites on December 1, 2013 (De Paul University Lincoln Park Campus will be a host for Chicago test site.) Registration will end on September 27, 2013. For more information please check the American Association of  Teachers of Japanese website.

General Information

The Japanese language program was established in 1975. Japanese courses are offered through the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures (DALC) of Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS). The Japanese language program currently provides four levels of practical language training for students in all fields of study. All four skills are taught: speaking, reading, listening and writing. Students may begin with no prior knowledge of Japanese; subsequent levels of study extend to low-advanced proficiency. By the fourth level, students will be using authentic (non-textbook) printed and visual materials and doing various forms of expository writing. Study abroad in year-long, semester and summer programs in Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Hokkaido are available. Students may also use their language study to add the minor in Japanese Language and Culture.




          Second-Year Japanese Level Coordinator


Placement Test

Students who know some Japanese and who are planning to take Japanese at Northwestern must take the placement test. This rule applies to ALL students in ALL schools and programs, including Graduate School and Professional Schools. Please read the following information and take the placement test. Contact Junko Sato, the placement test coordinator, if you have any questions.

* Japanese Language Placement Test 2013 *

Description of Japanese Language Placement Test

Course Information for Fall 2013-Spring 2014

JAPANESE 111-1, 2, 3 (Formerly AAL 115-1, 2, 3): Japanese I

Course Description

This is a year-long elementary Japanese course. In this course, students will develop four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) through communicative activities. Various functions of grammar patterns will be introduced in order to develop practical communication skills. The students are expected to solidify their knowledge of basic Japanese grammar and to fully master Hiragana, Katakana and basic Kanji. The students will also learn various aspects of Japanese culture and society. Upon the satisfactory completion of the course, the students will be able to greet, introduce themselves, discuss their daily routines and experiences, and write letters to teachers and friends.


Banno, Eri et al. (2011). Genki I. Tokyo: The Japan Times.
Banno, Eri et al. (2011). Genki I Workbook. Tokyo: The Japan Times.













        AJALT (2012).  Japanese for Busy People Kana Workbook.  Kodansha USA.


None for JAPANESE 111-1. For JAPANESE 111-2 and -3, successful completion of a preceding course (JAPANESE 111-1 and -2 respectively) or permission from the program (a placement test will be given) is required.

        For more information

Contact Junko Sato, the first-year Japanese coordinator


JAPANESE 121-1, 2, 3 (Formerly AAL 116-1, 2, 3): Japanese II

Course Description

This year-long course is sequent to Japanese I (JAPANESE 111 / AAL 115) and covers the second half of basic Japanese grammar. In this course, the students continue developing the four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) through various communicative activities and tasks. The emphasis will be on developing accuracy (appropriate to the given contexts) and developing skills to use complex sentences to express subtle differences in meaning. Upon the satisfactory completion of the course, the students will be able to handle various types of more complex conversational situations and passages.


ICU (1996). Japanese for College Students vol. 2 & 3. Tokyo: Kodansha.


Successful completion of JAPANESE 111-3 / AAL 115-3 or permission from the program (Placement test will be given)

        For more information

Contact Yumi Shiojima, the second-year Japanese coordinator


JAPANESE 211-1, 2, 3 (Formerly AAL 217-1, 2, 3): Japanese III

Course Description

This is a year-long intermediate Japanese course. The students will develop their oral and written communication skills with appropriate styles for different settings. They will learn and discuss various aspects of Japanese culture and society. Japanese word processing will be introduced and the students will master typing short written assignments by the end of the course. The students will be eventually exposed to authentic written materials toward the end of the course. Upon the satisfactory completion of this course, the students will be able to summarize passages, exchange opinions and get involved with discussions.


Miura & McGloin (2008). An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese.
Tokyo: The Japan Times.


Successful completion of JAPANESE 121-3 / AAL 116-3 or permission from the program (Placement test will be given)

For more information

Contact Noriko Taira Yasohama, the third-year Japanese coordinator

JAPANESE 311, 312, 313, 314 (Formerly AAL 318-4, 1, 3, 2): Japanese IV

Course Description

Japanese IV is a series of four advanced Japanese language courses. Each course is designed to provide the students with opportunities to further develop their overall Japanese language proficiency, to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and socio linguistic elements and to be familiarized with various styles of the language use. Each course prepares the students to be more autonomous learners.

JAPANESE 311 (Formerly AAL 318-4) (Reading Modern Japanese Literature in Japanese): Through reading of original texts of modern short stories, focus on learning pre-1946 orthography. Translation skills are emphasized; Discussion in English; Fulfills WCAS Ares VI distrubution requirement.

JAPANESE 312 (Formerly AAL 318-1) (Contemporary Japanese Literary Works for Reading and Discussion): Focus on reading contemporary Japanese poems, essays, non-fiction, and novels through various reading methods; Discussion in Japanese; Fulfills WCAS Area VI distribution requirement. (This course will not be offered in 2013-14.)

JAPANESE 313 (Formerly AAL 318-3) (Japanese Newspaper Reading and News Listening): Focus on reading Japanese newspaper articles and debating in Japanese the issues discussed in the articles. News listening skills are also developed.

JAPANESE 314 (Formerly AAL 318-2) (Japanese Essay Writing): Focus on refining writing skills: narrative, descriptive, persuasive and argumentative. Review of grammar and expressions through writing clinics.

Students who have successfully completed JAPANESE 211-3 / AAL 217-3 are qualified to take any of the above Japanese IV courses.

In the 2013-2014 academic year, JAPANESE 311 will be offered in the fall, JAPANESE 314 in the winter and JAPANESE 313 in the spring. (The time of the course offerings might change during the academic year. Please check CAESAR for the up-to-date information.)

Prerequisite Successful completion of JAPANESE 211-3 / AAL 217-3 or permission from the program (Placement test will be given)

For more information

Contact the course coordinators:
       JAPANESE 311: Phyllis Lyons
       JAPANESE 312: Junko Sato
       JAPANESE 313: Noriko Taira Yasohama
       JAPANESE 314: Yumi Shiojima


JAPANESE 399-1, 2, 3 (Formerly AAL 399-1, 2, 3): Independent Study
(Offered upon the availability of the instructors and the approval of the Program.)

Course Description

(Independent Study is designed by students.)


Those who have successfully completed all four courses of  Japanese IV or equivalent are qualified to design an independent study. Students must submit a proposal and obtain approval from the Japanese program before registration.

To obtain approval for Independent Study

Please refer to the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures website for detail.



Course Resources

Click the course number that you are enrolled and download course resources. Some of the download sites are password-protected. If you have any questions regarding the passwords and the course resources, contact your instructor.




Study Abroad Opportunities

Study Abroad in Japan Information Session 2014-15

There are a variety of programs that NU students can participate -- one-year, two quarters, one quarter, summer abroad programs. Programs are listed in alphabetical order.

HIF (Hokkaido International Foundation) Japanese Language and Japanese Culture Program, Hakodate, Hokkaido*

ICU (International Christian University) Summer Courses in Japanese, Tokyo*

IES-Nagoya Summer - Language and Culture at Nanzan University, Nagoya**

Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies: Summer Program in Advanced and Classical Japanese, Kyoto**

Princeton in Ishikawa Program, Kanazawa, Ishikawa*

The Yamasa Institute, Okazaki, Aichi*

Since this is a private language school not affiliated with a university, student will not earn any Northwestern Univrsity  through this program.


For information on NU's affiliated and non-affiliated study abroad application procedures, contact the Study Abroad Office.


Scholarships for Studying in Japan

Bridging Scholarship, American Association of Teachers of Japanese

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Boren Scholarship

Critical Language Scholarship

Freeman-Asia Award

Sion Asia-Sion Asia-related Research Grants, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University

Undergraduate Language Grants, Northwestern University for summer intensive language study



Japanese Language Coffee Hours

If you want to practice Japanese in an informal setting or if you want to discuss various cultural and social issues in Japanese, come to our language coffee hours! Anyone with Japanese proficiency (beginning through native speaker levels) is welcome! The schedule for the Coffee Hours for 2012-13 is as follows:

Day and Time: every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (There will be no Coffee Hour on January 8, April 2.)

Location: Kresge Hall 4-350


Job/Internship Opportunities


Teaching English in Japan

Job/Internship Opportunities For Japanese-English Bilinguals:



Useful Information

Japan Related Organizations at NU



Japan Related Organizations in Chicago


Japan Related Web Sites