Our Japanese program is very strong and we are proud of what our students accomplish. Our classes meet five days a week and are team-taught: two days a week we explain grammar and Japanese culture in English, and three days a week you’ll be taught by a very experienced, native-speaking drill instructor. We teach you about the language and make sure you get plenty of practice actually using Japanese as well. We want our students to be confident and comfortable when they use Japanese.

We do not offer a major or minor in Japanese but interdisciplinary majors or minors in Asian studies can include a large Japanese language component. For such a major, four language credits are required and up to seven credits may be applied. For an Asian studies minor, two credits are required and up to four credits are possible.

Asian studies has a wide array of courses that deal with Japan, a much better selection than most other liberal arts colleges. For details, please see the Asian studies webpage.

Our program sponsors the student anime (Japanese animation) club, and we encourage our students to become involved. For students who take a lot of Japanese, we have a program in Japan for the fall semester of their senior year. This is a language-intensive program and it dovetails very nicely with our program here at HWS.

After graduation, most of our students either work in Japan, work for a Japanese company in the U.S., or go to graduate school to do more research on Japan. We give them the tools they need to succeed in these areas.

Please note that the Japanese sequence begins with JPN 101 in the Spring semester, followed by JPN 102 the next Fall. If you have already studied a lot of Japanese and believe you should start somewhere other than with JPN 101, please contact Professor Holland as early as possible for a placement interview.


JPN 101 Beginning Japanese I This course provides an introduction to modern spoken Japanese. Open to seniors by permission only. (Holland, Spring, offered annually)

JPN 102 Beginning Japanese II This course is a continuation of JPN 101. Prerequisite: JPN 101 or placement by instructor. (Holland, Fall, offered annually)

JPN 201 Intermediate Japanese I Prerequisite: JPN 102 or placement by instructor. (Holland, Spring, offered annually)

JPN 202 Intermediate Japanese II Prerequisite: JPN 201 or placement by instructor. (Holland, Fall, offered annually)

JPN 301 Advanced Japanese I Prerequisite: JPN 202 or placement by instructor. (Holland, Spring, offered annually)

JPN 302 Advanced Japanese II Prerequisite: JPN 301 or placement by instructor. (Holland, Fall, offered annually)

JPN 450 Independent Study


For more information about the Japanese Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, please contact Professor Holland.