BA Politics and Japanese / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Japanese Language 3

Course unit fact file
Unit code JAPA51031
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? No


This is an intermediate learners’ level language course which teaches the skills of reception (reading and listening) and production (speaking and writing) in Japanese, and translation of the material learned into English. There is a pre-requisite of Intermediate skills (GCSE AS-level and above) in Japanese or equivalent. 
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

For new students starting their degree in September 2022, this unit is compulsory and as such requires a pass mark of 40% or above at the first sitting in order to progress to the next level of language in semester 2.  Students who fail to meet this requirement will be able to discuss their options with their relevant Programme Director and may be able to move onto the non-language degree award of East Asian Studies.


Available on: BA Japanese Studies and Combinations involving Japanese with other languages and area studies degrees and BA Modern Language with Business and Management etc. 

Not available as a free choice – but if the level is appropriate the convenor may exceptionally admit an external student


Building on students’ prior learning, it aims to broaden students’ vocabulary (both spoken and written), hone their translation skills and deepen their understanding of grammar. There will also be translation exercises between English and Japanese.

Knowledge and understanding

•    demonstrate a sure grasp of approximately 560 characters 

Intellectual skills

•    understand themselves as developing learners and be able to engage effectively with the appropriate resources to negotiate understanding

Practical skills

•    express themselves orally in more advanced role-plays and dialogues on everyday matters and on a wide range of  topics relating to Japanese society
•    show developing proficiency in reading Japanese texts and viewing and hearing TV and other audio and video material in standard Japanese
•    begin to write stylistically appropriate Japanese prose, as well as translate Japanese into appropriate English,
•    effectively use standard dictionaries (Iincluding kanji dictionaries) and grammar references 
•    type Japanese using word-processing packages

Transferable skills and personal qualities

•    show developing confidence in interacting with native speakers

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 examination at the end of semester 1 




oral examination at the end of semester 1 




regular coursework and tests (5%)  of grammar, vocabulary and kanji  




portfolio of reading and translation texts 





Resit Assessment

Assessment task  


Written Exam (75%) 


Oral Exam (25%) 


Feedback methods

Feedback method Formative or Summative
Feedback on progress with language learning is provided to students through regular tests of vocabulary and kanji, through corrected versions of written work, and in timetabled drop-in sessions.   
Students are also able to consult individually with language tutors in their office hours.  


Recommended reading


Set texts: 

  1. Tobira Gateway to Advanced Japanese Learning Through Content and Multimedia (Tokyo: Kurosio 2010) (ISBN-10: 4874244475 / ISBN-13: 978-4874244470 

  1. the separate volume of exercises called Grammar Power (Tokyo: Kurosio 2012) ISBN 978-4-87424-570-5 

  1. Power Up your Kanji: 800 Basic Kanji as a Gateway to Advanced Japanese (Tokyo) ( ISBN-10: 4874244874 / ISBN-13: 978-4874244876 


Students require in addition: 

Donna toki  dou tuskau/ Nihongo hyougen bunkei jiten [JLPT N1-N4]  

(Tokyo: Ark 2010) ( ISBN-10: 4757418868 / ISBN-13: 978-4757418868 ) 


Shogakukan Reikaigakushuu kokugojiten (Tokyo: Shogakukan 2011) 


A kanji dictionary that has been approved by the tutors 


Other Recommended Resources 


Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar (Tokyo: Japan Times 1995) 


Japanese Kanji Flashcards: 750 Kanji Cards: 2 (White Rabbit Press 2010) 


Using Japanese: a guide to contemporary usage (Cambridge: CUP 2000) 


The Japanese Language: An Introduction (Oxford: OUP 1993) 


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 88
Independent study hours
Independent study 112

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Jonathan Bunt Unit coordinator
Nozomi Yamaguchi Unit coordinator

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