Student sits on a bench in SF's Chinatown.

Japanese Studies, BA

Explore and understand Japanese language, culture, literature, linguistics, art, history, religion, and business. Prepare for a successful career in one of the world’s largest economies.

The four-year curriculum develops your Japanese language proficiency from the novice to intermediate and advanced levels (based on the ACTFL standards). You'll explore the diverse regions of Japan in light of their distinctive histories and cultures in Upper-division courses. Classes are also complemented by Robo-Sensei, an award-winning artificial intelligence program that allows you to practice your language skills and receive immediate feedback.

Why study Japanese Studies at USF?

San Francisco’s location on the Pacific Rim puts Japanese culture within your reach. The Japanese Studies program at USF offers you courses covering Japanese language, culture, literature, linguistics, history, religion, and business. Come learn in small, intimate classes. Come work with native-language tutors. Come make the city your classroom.

Learn about the curriculum

Amanda Tsuhako

Amanda Tsuhako '15

Medical Student

Use Your Skills in the Real World

My Japanese language training has been invaluable in medical school in Hawaii. I’ve been able to help serve the elderly Japanese population and put them at ease when they’re staying in the hospital.”

Amanda Tsuhako '15

Medical Student

Get the San Francisco Advantage

Japantown, Buddhist temples, the Asian Art Museum, the Asia Foundation, the Japan Society of Northern California, and the Japanese Tea Garden are just a bike ride or bus ride away from campus. Japanese foods, groceries, books, calligraphy and bonsai supplies, kimonos, and other goods are all available to you. Come do research, engage with the community, and enrich your knowledge of Japanese culture.

Pagoda in the tea garden

Think Beyond the Classroom

Join the Japan Club

Expand your knowledge of Japanese culture and society. This club sponsors a range of cultural events, including kimono-wearing, tea ceremony, and flower-arrangement demonstrations. Club members also volunteer for community activities such as assisting with the annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown and guiding college students from Japan to attractions in San Francisco.

Learn Japanese Culture

The Japan Studies program holds many cultural demonstrations such as naginata and kenpo swordsmanship, noh theater, bizen pottery, shakuhachi flute, kodo incense, and Japanese calligraphy. These demonstrations are open to the USF community and the general public.

Visit the Japanese Writing Center

The Japanese Writing Center at USF works with you on your writing. There is an annual Japanese Speech Contest run by the Japanese American Association of Northern California and the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco. You receive extra credit for participating. In Advanced Japanese, you write a four-page research paper about Japanese culture. All writing projects are facilitated by the writing center, in which you meet with a tutor once a week for 30 minutes throughout the semester.

Thomas Flippin

Thomas Flippin '16

Peace Corps Volunteer

Broaden Your Perspectives

My time studying with Professor Nagata not only deepened my relationship with Japan, but also opened me up to the broader East Asian sphere. I earned my MA from Columbia University in East Asian languages and cultures, lived in Japan for three years, and am now working in Mongolia.”

Thomas Flippin '16

Peace Corps Volunteer

Study Abroad

At USF you may participate in an exchange program at Sophia University in Tokyo or Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, two of the top universities in Japan. Study abroad, together with the rich Japanese cultural assets of the San Francisco area, gives you the communication skills and real-world experience you need for a successful career. 

Student leans on a railing and looks over the bay at sunset.

Japanese Studies, BA

Noriko Nagata, Program Coordinator
2130 Fulton St.
Kalmanovitz Hall 333
San Francisco, CA 94117-1080