University Of Canterbury Japanese

Japanese at UC offers courses that cover a broad range of subjects, including language, literature, culture, geography, history, sociology, gender studies, film and theatre studies, at both undergraduate and graduate level. Japanese language courses are offered from beginners to postgraduate levels.

Undergraduate and postgraduate study

  • Explore your undergraduate and postgraduate study options in Japanese at UC.

Consolidate your language skills

  • Find out about student exchanges and opportunities to take to learning to the next level.   

Staff contact and research profiles

  • Contact us for advice and inquiries, and link to our full research and publications profiles.


Japan is one of the most influential nations in the Asia-Pacific region – culturally, diplomatically, and economically. It is a key player in Aotearoa New Zealand’s import and export, tourism, and education markets, and continues to be an attractive destination for graduates.

Aspects of Japanese culture have become popular in much of Asia, Australasia, and America. These include animation, video games, fashion, art, sport, and spirituality.

Learning the Japanese language helps you to do business with Japanese people and multinational companies, equips you for a job in Japan and opens up an understanding of a proud people with a long history and fascinating culture.

Why study Japanese at UC?

  • The Japanese programme at UC offers a wide range of courses in Japanese language and related subjects up to Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)level.
  • It is supported by a strong team of staff specialising in linguistics, literature, theatre, society, tradition, and modern culture.
  • In language classes, equal emphasis is placed on the four key language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Communicative and cultural competency in Japanese is developed through regular interaction with native speakers and practice communicating in a range of real-life situations.
  • Courses in the programme are complemented by a number of specialised courses on Japanese history, art, political science, and music offered through various schools in Te Rāngai Toi Tangata | College of Arts.


UC offers a major and a minor in Japanese as part of the Bachelor of Arts.

You can also study this subject as a minor within the Bachelor of CommerceBachelor of ScienceBachelor of Sport Coaching, and Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership.

Japanese major

To complete a major in Japanese within the Bachelor of Arts, you will need to take the following courses throughout the degree:


  • JAPA 108 Introduction to Japanese Culture
  • One 100-level JAPA course


  • JAPA 208 Japanese Society or JAPA 212 Japanese Society and Culture in Film and Literature
  • Two 200-level JAPA courses


  • JAPA 326 Advancing Japanese B
  • One 300-level JAPA course

It is highly recommended that students complete some Japanese language courses during their major study. The 100-level language courses are for absolute beginners or those with very little previous experience in Japanese language. Students with a high level of Japanese language proficiency may be given direct entry to 200-level language courses.

JAPA 326 is an advanced language course required for all Japanese major students.

Japanese minor

For the Japanese minor in the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of CommerceBachelor of ScienceBachelor of Sport Coaching, or Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership, you will need to take these courses throughout your chosen degree:

  • 75 points in 100 to 300-level JAPA courses, with at least 45 points at 200-level or above, and including at least one Japanese language course

Career opportunities

A degree in Japanese can lead to a variety of career options.

Some graduates have been awarded prestigious Monbukagakusho (Japanese Ministry of Education) Scholarships for study and research in Japan. Many have joined the Japanese Government’s Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. Others have been employed by the Japanese Embassy or Consular Office, Manatū Aorere | Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Government Communications and Security Bureau in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

There is a demand for teachers of Japanese in secondary schools, and some graduates have joined the teaching staff of Japanese departments at tertiary institutions.

Other graduates enter banking, import/export, and legal industries, or find jobs in multinational companies that have links with Japan. Some become freelance translators or enter the tourism and travel industry.

Contact us

Department of Global, Cultural and Language Studies

Phone +64 3 369 3377 
Email [email protected]

Level 5, Logie Building – see campus maps

Postal address 
College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata 
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha 
Private Bag 4800 
Christchurch 8140 
New Zealand