BA Russian and Japanese

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Japanese Language 1

Course unit fact file
Unit code JAPA51011
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Japanese Studies
Available as a free choice unit? No


An intensive foundation course in Japanese for students with limited or no previous study of the language. Based on a core textbook the course requires students to work on acquiring core knowledge of vocabulary, script and grammar and to utilise this in communication.

Note that students are strongly advised to start learning the Japanese syllabic scripts hiragana and katakana before the start of teaching and students will be required to spend a good deal of time learning approximately 150 kanji characters in order to be adequately prepared for JAPA51022.

Please note that there are heavy timetabling requirements for both Japanese and for laboratory-based science subjects. Attendance at dedicated catch-up and/or replacement drop-in sessions on Wednesday afternoons (details to be confirmed) may be required in order to allow students from across the university to cover all the materials adequately.

Classes may be complemented by timetabled support sessions but independent study is also key and students will be required to reflect on their own learning and to improve their language learning skills with the help and support of their tutors. It hoped that all learners will work with a Japanese language partner or partners where possible.


Available on: BA Japanese Studies and other programmes with Japanese as a major or minor component 


To establish the core skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing. The emphasis is on acquiring the grammar, vocabulary and skills for communication and to serve as a basis for further study.

Knowledge and understanding

Students should be able to read and write the hiragana and katakana scripts and approximately 150 kanji characters (by the start of JAPA51022 – see information under ‘content’ below)

Intellectual skills

Students should begin to understand themselves as developing learners and begin to engage effectively with the appropriate resource

Practical skills

Students should begin to interact with native speakers through the medium of Japanese and begin to read and write clear basic text according to standard Japanese conventions. 

Students should begin to develop listening skills

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Students should start to show developing confidence in using Japanese and have established a firm foundation for further study. Students will need to relate themselves and their study methods to those of others in the class and communicate socially and professionally

Employability skills

self-discipline time management working in a competitive yet collaborative environment developing communication skills professionalism about study

Assessment methods

Assessment task  

Formative or Summative 


Weighting within unit (if summative) 

Written exam 




Oral exam 




In-class class written test in week 9 









Resit Assessment

Assessment task  


Written Exam (75%) 


Oral Exam (25%) 


Feedback methods

Feedback on progress with language learning is provided to students through a test of vocabulary and kanji in week 9, through corrected versions of written work, through comments on the workbooks and formative tests and in response to speaking activity in class. Students are also able to consult individually with language tutors in their office hours.

Recommended reading

Set texts: 

Banno E, Ohta Y et al Genki I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese (Tokyo: Japan Times, 2nd revised edition 2011) : ( ISBN-10: 4789014401/ ISBN-13: 978-4789014403) NB we do NOT use the newest 3rd edition – we will start using this in 2021-22 


The workbook for Genki I (: (ISBN-10: 478901441X/ ISBN-13: 978-4789014410) must also be purchased.  


Students are also advised to have: 

1) A bilingual Japanese-English dictionary; the suggested one is: Oxford Beginner Japanese Dictionary 

2) A grammar reference; the suggested one is: Oxford Japanese Grammar and Verbs (Oxford: OUP 2003) ISBN-10: 0198603827 / ISBN-13: 978-0198603825 


Supplementary texts:


Kanji Look and Learn (Tokyo: Japan Times 2009) • ISBN-10: 4789013499 • ISBN-13: 978-4789013499 and the workbook • ISBN-10: 4789013502 • ISBN-13: 978-4789013505 


Japanese Kanji Flashcards: 300 Beginner-Level Kanji Cards: 1 (White Rabbit Press 2010) 


The Japanese Language: An Introduction (OUP 1993) 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 11
Seminars 66
Tutorials 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 101

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jonathan Bunt Unit coordinator
Nozomi Yamaguchi Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Language study is demanding, particularly because of the nature of Japanese script and a likely lack of relationship between Japanese and currently known languages. The study time required in order to achieve the learning outcomes may vary significantly according to individual learning styles. 

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