Minor in Japanese Language and Literature (1108)

Required courses: six LJ courses numbered 240 and above, including LJ 303 and 304 and at least one course in literature. Up to four courses taken at Boston University’s program in Kyoto may count toward the minor. Students may include up to three transfer courses from other colleges, universities, or non-Boston University study abroad programs and must take a minimum of three courses (or a minimum of two, if they have four courses approved for credit toward the minor from Boston University’s program in Kyoto) on the Charles River Campus. Internships taken through Boston University or other study abroad programs may not be credited toward minor concentrations offered by the department. A grade of C or higher is required in all courses taken toward the minor.

Major in Japanese Language and Literature (1108)

The Japanese Language & Literature major provides students with an appreciation and critical understanding of Japan’s rich literary and cultural traditions and contemporary culture along with a high level of proficiency in the Japanese written and spoken language.  The program also enables students to function effectively in cross-cultural contexts and to contribute meaningfully to the global challenges of today’s world. Students are encouraged to study abroad in Kyoto at the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies or in Tokyo at Keio University.

Like all WLL majors, Japanese Language & Literature majors begin with XL100: Leaving Home: Explorations in World Literature, a team-taught course in which students meet the WLL faculty through guest lectures and are oriented in the rich diversity of the world’s literary traditions. They begin Japanese language study as early as possible and complete at least two language courses beyond the fifth-semester level (LJ303). Students also have the option of taking classical Japanese, as well as classical Chinese as it was used in Japan until the mid-20th century. Masterpieces of Japanese Literature (LJ250) introduces students to major texts in English translation and can be taken early on in the student’s program. Four additional courses in Japanese language, literature, and/or culture provide greater depth in areas of special interest to the student. One elective chosen among all WLL courses on languages, literatures and cultures from around the world outside of Japan enhances understanding of Japan’s place in the world. Students wishing to explore more of WLL’s course offerings outside of Japan may substitute an additional elective for one of their four courses in Japanese language, literature, or culture.  Majors reconvene with all WLL majors in the senior capstone seminar XL 479, where they work with a faculty mentor on a final project using Japanese language materials.

A total of 11 four-credit courses is required, all completed with a grade of C or higher.

  • XL 100 Explorations in World Literature: Leaving Home
  • LJ 250 Masterpieces of Japanese Literature
  • 3 advanced Japanese language courses above LJ 212:
  • LJ 303 (Third-Year Modern Japanese I) and two from:
  • LJ 304 Third Year Modern Japanese II
  • LJ 314 Classical Chinese I for Students of East Asia
  • LJ 316 Classical Japanese
  • LJ 320 Conversational Japanese
  • LJ 350 Readings in Modern Japanese Fiction
  • LJ 385 Intensive Kanji
  • LJ 386 Japanese Translation/Interpretation Workshop
  • LJ 441 Japanese Press
  • LJ 445 Readings in Japanese Culture
  • LJ 450 Topics in Advanced Japanese
  • 4 courses in Japanese language, literature, and/or culture above LJ250. With advisor approval up to 2 of these may be Japanese studies courses taken outside the WLL department, e.g., in History, History of Art and Architecture, Pardee, or Anthropology.
  • 1 WLL elective, chosen with advisor’s approval. Chosen from all courses in WLL excluding those with focus on Japan. May also be satisfied by taking both CAS CC 101 and CAS CC 102, by LX250 Introduction to Linguistics or a higher-level linguistics course, or by a literature course in Romance Studies, English, or Classics. Students wishing to do more comparative work may count an additional WLL elective in place of one of the four courses in Japanese language, literature and/or culture.
  • Capstone XL 479 Senior Seminar: Seniors majoring in WLL come back together in XL 479, the senior capstone Students use this course to produce a substantial project in their major and share their work with other WLL seniors working in other languages. The course provides students with structure and research guidance for developing and discussing their projects, while meetings with a faculty language mentor hone students’ advanced language skills as applied to the area of their research. Student presentations build oral communication skills and the ability to describe one’s work to others. Possible final projects could include a research paper on literature, film, or popular culture; an annotated translation or work of subtitling; a video essay; or an interactive map, timeline, or other digital humanities project. Students producing excellent capstone projects will be encouraged to develop them into senior honors work.


To graduate with honors, students will maintain a GPA in the major of at least 3.4 and will take two additional courses beyond the 11 required for the major:

  • one additional LJ or XL course chosen with approval of the advisor.
  • either XL 540 (translation seminar) or LJ 401 or 402 (continuation of the thesis begun in the capstone seminar).

Current students who declared a major in Japanese Language and Literature prior to the Spring 2017 semester have the option to continue with the former Major requirements. Click here for previous major information.