Japanese Studies Major/Minor

Welcome to Japanese Studies

Japanese is a powerful, challenging, and exciting language that lets you access a world of business, technology, art, pop culture, and history. We are one of only three universities in North Carolina to offer four full years of Japanese language courses. We make it easy to study abroad for a year and still graduate within four years. There are over a hundred students who are majoring in Japanese at UNC Charlotte. It is a dynamic degree to help carry you on your way to future academic and financial success! After graduation, various opportunities await you in academics, business, and more. Whether you are starting your career in Japan, in the US, or in another country, having a degree in Japanese gives you a huge advantage.

Come explore the Japanese Studies Program:

The Japanese Studies program offers you the following opportunities:

The Major in Japanese Studies gives you language training as well as a cultural understanding of Japan. The major is designed to allow you to double major.

The Major in Japanese Studies consists of 35 credit hours. For the Major you need to complete 26 hours of Required Language Courses. The remaining 9 credit hours come from three elective content courses: 6 hours of Cultural Content Courses and 3 hours of Language Content Courses. One of your courses in the major must be a writing intensive course. You will complete the degree with an oral exam based on the ACTFL scale and the JLPT which examines reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.

For more information see the description of the Major in Japanese Studies or contact your advisor, Yokono Sensei.

The Minor in Japanese Studies is an excellent addition to your degree and resume. Since Japan maintains good relationships with several other countries being proficient in Japanese may open many new opportunities in other countries as well.

A Minor in Japanese requires a total of 22 credit hours of coursework. 16 credit hours come from four Language Core Courses with their corresponding labs. The remaining 6 credit hours come from two elective content courses: 3 hours of Cultural Content Courses and 3 hours of Language Content Courses.

For more information see the description of the Minor in Japanese or contact your advisor, Yokono Sensei.

Having a certificate in translation is something recorded on your transcript. You can always list it on your resume. UNC Charlotte is the only school in North Carolina to offer a Translating, Japanese-English Certificate. To earn the certificate, students must complete a sequence of four translation course: one course of theory and history of translation as well as a practica in translation. For those majoring in Japanese, 2 of the 4 courses may be counted toward the major.

For more information see the description of the Certificate in Translating Japanese-English or contact the Coordinator of this program, Boyd Sensei.

Certificate in Business Japanese provides classroom, overseas (optional), and practical training in Japanese for international business, which may also be recognized by international examinations. The certificate requires 15 credit hours. In addition to the two 3000 level language courses, students take an additional course on Business and Culture in Japan as well as two advanced level courses in business language and translation.

For more information see the description of the Certificate in Business Japanese or contact the Coordinator of this program, Banerjee Sensei.

We make studying abroad as easy as possible for Japanese majors so that it fits into your schedule. We have a special partnership with seven universities but can send students to 16 different universities in total, so it is easy to find a school and city that would be a good fit for you. You can study abroad in the Fall or Spring semester or for the entire year. Summer study abroad options and a Spring Break Trip to Japan are also available. Credits you earn in Japan transfer to UNC Charlotte and most count toward the major. Study Abroad experiences provide invaluable insights into a culture and literacy in the Japanese language. On your resume, such an experience sets you apart from other job candidates.

For more information see the study abroad opportunities we offer on the website of the Office of Education Abroad and start finding YOUR PROGRAM now or contact the Japanese Studies Coordinator, Yokono Sensei.

Japanese Study Abroad Scholarship

Read Scholarship

This scholarship honors a UNC Charlotte alum and Japanese major. This scholarship provides financial support for Japanese majors and minors studying abroad. Please contact your advisor for more information and see the NinerScholars Portal.

When you join the Japanese family you will have the chance to participate in our many exciting yearly events. We host a Year-End Presentation Event for all our students from all levels and we also have our students participate in a Speech Contest annually. In addition, we present a Japanese Film Series.

Year-End Presentations

The Annual Year-End Presentations have over 60 performers from elementary through advanced level courses assembled showing off their achievement of the year. A large audience made up of students, faculty, alumni and administrators cheers them on. Every year students present skits and monologues to great applause. The venue always provides a welcoming atmosphere and is filled with positive energy and a lot of laughter.

Speech Contest

The Japanese Studies Program at UNC Charlotte hosted the Annual Speech Contest on campus one year in February. The associate chair, Dr. Anabel Aliaga-Buchenau from the Department of Languages and Culture Studies gave a welcome speech and encouraged students to continue studying Japanese and other languages at the growing programs. More than 50 audience and three judges enjoyed and impressed by 35 passionate speeches in Japanese or English as a second language about their own experience, favorite things, and an original short story.

International Festival

The annual UNC Charlotte International Festival is centered around booths arranged in colorful marketplace style representing the cultures of over 50 nations. The booths are staffed by UNC Charlotte international students and members of Charlotte’s international community and features art, crafts and costumes from each participating country. Many booths offer international food for sale. Throughout the day the music and dance of a variety of nations are presented on indoor and outdoor stages. In addition, the International Festival, which is family-oriented, offers a number of elements such as mimes and face painting designed especially for children. Japanese Studies is always well-represented at IFest.

Join one of our fabulous Student Organizations. Participate in the Japanese Speaking Practice Club or indulge in your love for Anime and Manga in JAMS. Finally, get excited about Japanese culture and food in the Nihon Club.

Nihon Club – Japan Club

Nihon Club strives to be the cultural bridge between America and Japan, and unite students who enjoy the Japanese language and culture. All students are welcome whether they are taking language courses or not. We meet 2-3 times a month, providing students with opportunities to connect with members of the club and visiting exchange students.

JAMS – Japanese Anime and Manga Society

The Japanese Anime and Manga Society is a student club for those who enjoy Japanese animation and Manga to share their love with fellow students, exploring Japanese pop culture. Our goal is to educate those in the medium’s history through film screenings and discussions. Everyone interested in Japanese Anime and Manga is welcome.

Japanese Speaking Practice Club

The Japanese Speaking Practice Club meets frequently to give students the opportunity to practice their speaking skills. Students of all levels are welcome.

Shodō Calligraphy Club

This club is for people who enjoy or simply want to try out the art of Japanese Calligraphy, or Shodō. Spend some enjoyable time with like minded individuals as we improve not only our calligraphy skills, but our knowledge of Japanese as well! Learn more about the club here, or on Instagram.

Japanese Reading Club

In the Japanese Reading Club, members engage in leisurely reading of Japanese texts of various genres and reading levels for personal interest and improved reading comprehension. Learn more about the Reading Club on Facebook here.

For a full list of recent Japanese alumni, click here.

Seniors and Alumni are invited to join the Japanese Studies Seniors & Alumni Facebook group. This is a great resource for hearing about job opportunities and networking.

Featured Alumni

Ryan Spring

Ryan Spring received his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a major in German and minors in both Japanese and Fiilm Studies. After graduating, he worked as a professional translator for about four years. After graduation, he attended the Graduate School for International Culture Studies at Tohoku University, studying cognitive linguistics and second language acquisition there and conducting research that spanned the two fields. Spring obtained his PhD and currently works at the Tohoku University Institute for Excellence in Higher Education in Japan, where he teaches English and linguistics and is vice-representative for exchange programs with UNC Charlotte and Maryland University.

Messages from Current Students and Alumni

“My experience in taking Japanese classes at UNC Charlotte has been fun. Even though we do have to focus on the course work, the classes have an easy-going atmosphere. The teachers have a great sense of humor. I’ve also met some really cool people while taking these classes. (Skyeler, Elementary Japanese)

“My experience in studying Japanese at UNC Charlotte has been very enlightening. The classrooms are very interactive and immerse students in a friendly learning environment. I’m comfortable to ask any questions about any of our learning materials.” (Roger, Intermediate Japanese)

“I chose Japanese not only to learn the language, but also to study the rich history and culture. The professors in this program have been helping me achieve that goal. I hope to eventually serve as a cultural advisor/regional specialist.” (Alette, Advanced Japanese)

“Since I joined the Japanese program, I’ve been fascinated with the language and culture and haven’t looked back! The professors are eager to teach. Having studied abroad, I will return to Japan to work. Without the help of this program, who knows where I would be!?” (Ed, Advanced Japanese)

“Learning Japanese opens up so many more gateways to an already diverse and intriguing culture. My ability to use the language never fails to surprise me. Being able to speak Japanese is something I always take great pride in. I am now working on my J.D. at Law School!” (Eric, Japanese Studies & International Business double major Alum)

Name Job Title Email
Enika Banerjee Lecturer of Japanese
Jordan Bledsoe Lecturer of Japanese
David Boyd Assistant Professor of Japanese
Philip Kaffen Associate Professor of Japanese
Chikako Mori Senior Lecturer of Japanese
Seirin Nagano Adjunct Instructor of Japanese
Yukie Okada MA Fellow in Japanese
Kazue Shamburg Adjunct Instructor of Japanese
Yukiko Yokono Senior Lecturer of Japanese & Coordinator of Japanese Studies
Asa Yoneda Instructor of Japanese

Explore Past Events and News about the Japanese Studies Program