Welcome to the UC Berkeley Japanese Language Program!

Teaching of all of the three major East Asian languages in the United States commenced in the University of California, Berkeley's Oriental Languages Department: Chinese in 1872, Japanese in 1900, and Korean in 1943.

During the 1960s and 70s, the Japanese Language Programs grew steadily, replenished with three years of instruction. In the 1980s, demands upon the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department were unprecedented, largely due to the rapid economic growth in East Asia.

All three language programs continued to expand during the 1990s and 2000s. The overall enrollment in the Japanese Language Program was 852 in the 2000-01 academic year, and escalated to 1,028 in 2009-10. Its fourth-year course commenced in 1994, and fifth year in 2000. In addition to the regular course offerings, the Program also provides summer sessions for J1A, J1B, J10A, and J10B.

 

New Fall 2021 Placement Test

If you wish to enroll in Japanese 1B, 10A, 10B, 100A or 101 in the fall semester 2021, and you have never enrolled in a course in the UC Berkeley Japanese Language Program, but you have had formal instruction in Japanese elsewhere (or extensive experience living in Japan), you need to take the placement test, which consists of three parts:

1. Online Placement Test

2. Writing test

3. Oral interview

First you must take the Japanese Online Placement Test between 12:01 AM, Friday, August 13 and 11:59 PM, Thursday, August 19, 2021. This test will be open 24 hours/day during this period, and you can take it from anywhere with an internet connection by using your Cal ID. There is only one Japanese Online Placement Test for all levels, so you don’t have to worry about which test you should take. Just log on to the site and follow the instructions. If you have any questions about the Japanese Online Placement Test, please e-mail Konno-sensei.

After taking the Japanese Online Placement Test, you also need to take the writing and oral parts of the placement test. This year, we are going to conduct this assessment online beginning at 10:00 am (Pacific Time) on Monday, August 23. Students who have taken the Japanese Online Placement Test will receive an email from one of the instructors in the Japanese Program by noon (PT) on Sunday, August 22. Please read the email carefully and follow the instructions. If you haven’t finished taking the Japanese Online Placement Test, you will not receive an e-mail. If there is any change in this procedure, we will post it on this webpage, so please check it from time to time. If you have any questions about the writing and oral parts of the placement test, please email the instructor on the e-mail which you will receive after taking the Online Placement Test.

Japanese Placement Test for summer sessions

If you wish to enroll in Japanese language courses in the J1A, J1B, J10A and J10B in summer 2021, and you have never enrolled in a course in the UC Berkeley Japanese Language Program, but you have had formal instruction in Japanese elsewhere (or extensive experience living in Japan), you need to take the placement test. It consists of three parts:

1. Online Placement Test

2. Writing test

3. Oral interview

You must take the online placement test for the summer sessions during the week before the first day of class. If you have any questions, please contact Miyamoto-sensei.

To Prospective J1A Students

If you intend to take J1A in the fall 2021 semester, we recommend that you start learning hiragana and katakana during the summer break. They are collections of characters used in Japanese writing, like the Roman alphabet in English orthography. Unlike the Roman alphabet, however, hiragana and katakana represent syllables (a consonant and a vowel combined). Japanese has a very simple sound structure, so there are not many syllables to remember. The links below will take you to our character pages.

New Fall 2021 Proficiency Test

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures offers a proficiency test in Japanese to students who are seeking to have their foreign language and/or other academic requirement waived rather than taking Japanese courses at CAL. The Proficiency Test is scheduled only twice each year, during the week right before the first day of instruction of the fall and spring semesters. No sample tests are available. Your test scores are interpreted into the equivalent number of semesters of instruction in the UC Berkeley Japanese Language Program (ranging from zero to eight-plus semesters).

The next date for the Japanese Proficiency Test is at 2:00 pm (Pacific Time) on Monday, August 23. You will take the test in the computer lab (B-21) in the Dwinelle Hall.* If you wish to take the Japanese Proficiency Test on that day, please notify Konno-sensei as soon as possible. Even if you have already e-mailed her about this, please email her again between Friday, August 13 and Friday August 19, 2021, so that we can be sure that we have all the students’ names on the list. Konno-sensei will send you instructions by e-mail by noon (PT), Sunday August 22, 2021. If there is any change in this procedure, we will post it on this webpage, so please check it from time to time.

The Proficiency Test will only be available on that day during the fall semester. If you are unable to take it then, you will have to wait until January 2022. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule.

*Note: This arrangement is subject to change depending on public health requirements.

 

New Summer & Fall Career Forums

Students with some degree of both Japanese and English language abilities are invited to come speak and interview with hiring companies for full-time and internship positions at this summer and fall's Career Forums. Positions are located worldwide.

In the U.S.

In Japan

If you have questions about any of the Career Forums, contact cfn@careerforum.net.

 

To Transfer Students in Our Program

Are you a transfer student who is taking, or has taken, our Japanese language course? How was your experience during the transition from your previous Japanese courses to ours? Was there anything particularly challenging? Do you have some ideas that might make the transition smoothier? Please share your advice in writing like that found in the Advice from Senpai section, but target specifically prospective transfer students. If interested in this project, please contact Kayoko Imagawa.

 

51st Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

Naginata Demonstration by Kyung Oh-san from J1B.

Naginata Demonstration

 

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Courses

This section lists all of the courses currently offered.

For Heritage Students

If you can speak casual Japanese but not formal Japanese, consider to take our courses designed for heritage students. Here is some advice.

Bear

Placement Guidelines

If you have studied Japanese elsewhere, read this page and try sample placement tests. If you can answer about 80% of questions with confidence, you are qualified to take the course. Contact the instructor in charge if you are unable to determine your proficiency level.

For Transfer Students

If you plan to transfer to UC Berkeley, this section provides valuable advice.

Advice from Senpai

Senpai means one's senior at school, in his/her work place, or in martial art and other training clubs, where experience is highly regarded. In traditional Japanese culture, a senpai is expected to teach, guide, and support his/her kohai 'new-comers, junior'. Here is valuable advice from your senpai about how to study the Japanese language.

Study Aids

This section provides various instructional materials to aid your study of the Japanese language. The lists of kanji introduced in J1, J10, and J100 are especially helpful for transfer students.

Staff

This page introduces our teaching team.

Links

Useful links, including Errata for Elementary Japanese 1st Printing and the Pan Pacific Foundation-UC Berkeley Homestay Program.