Japanese Studies Program @ York University  ヨーク大学日本研究科


[cat# R90N01 ]



This course is to provide post-intermediate level language instruction for those who have completed the second-year Japanese course AP/JP2000 6.0 (or AS/JP2000 6.0) at York University or an equivalent course at other institutions, or those who have acquired comparable knowledge of the Japanese language elsewhere [e.g. high school credit course or living in Japan]. The knowledge assumed consists of basic [simple sentence based] and intermediate [complex sentence based] grammar, vocabulary for daily use, communicative competence enhanced by various sociolinguistic and pragmatic information, and approximately 480 Kanji and two Kana systems.

The main focus of this course is on the communicative use of coherent paragraphs in continuous texts. Thus, discourse structure and phenomena will be emphasized in the four skill areas. Edited texts will be read, summarized, translated and discussed. Films will be shown for listening comprehension, discussion and writing assignments. Synergy, Empathy and Communicative Approach are the guiding principles of the language instructions. Parallel to language instruction, students will deepen their understanding regarding various aspects of Japan in the context of cross-cultural communication. The modular approach enhances the four skill areas with enriched instructional materials. Students are expected to work on the self-study materials on the web, whenever and wherever they have access to the Internet. It is strongly recommended to review and study ahead during the winter and summer holidays.

A distance education format has been developed to participate in this course on-line via video-conferencing. This format creates multi-dimensional class atmosphere for the participants and instructors. Instructors at local sites will be involved in on-line teaching and presentations as well. The availability, however, depends on the number of participants.

Upon completion of the course, with the help of dictionaries, students should be able to function in sophisticated conversational situations such as discussions, debate and interviews, understand TV programs and films, read books and newspapers, write short essays, E-mail messages and letters, and give presentations with PowerPoint. 

Instructions for students on-line


A grade of at least "B" in AS/JP2000 6.0 or an equivalent background is strongly recommended, although "C" is the minimum requirement. Students who have not taken AP/JP2000.06 (or AS/JP2000.06)but have studied Japanese elsewhere must arrange an interview with the staff before registration. [Call (416)736-5016]


The course is semi-intensive in nature and rather demanding. In addition to the main reading materials, supplementary reading, writing, reporting and discussion sessions are scheduled. Approximately 20 Kanji will be covered per week to target Kyooiku Kanji + [ Kanji for Educational Use - 881 characters + 40]. As oral assignments, each student is required to report on the assigned topic, and class discussions follow.


Two on-line tests (Moodle-based) are scheduled, based on the main and supplementary reading materials. One on-site essay (Moodle) is required to be written based on the web presentation. Oral and written assignments will be given regularly involving reporting, summarization, translation, interpretation, and web presentation. Short Kanji quizzes will be administered regularly.

No make-ups except in case of emergency such as severe illness [supported by a medical certificate], automobile accidents, death in the family [a letter is required from an appropriate person], and other similar situations. If you miss a test or quiz without any reasonable explanation, you will receive a grade of zero. Written assignments must be handed in by the due day. No late assignments will be accepted except in case of emergency stated above. If you come in too late for the test or quiz, you may be asked by the instructor to leave. These policies are observed stringently.


Each class will be conducted in a seminar style in order to enhance students' active and creative participation and involvement. Students are strongly encouraged to take the initiative in communicative interactions in class. Use of the Internet and other IT-based materials and facilities is strongly encouraged to enhance language acquisition and learning about culture and society of Japan.


No textbook is used. All the materials are either provided or printed from the Japanese web site.


As stated above, the main focus is on paragraph units in the four skill areas. In speaking, various speech acts which involve cohesive discourse, such as reporting, discussion, summarization, expressing opinions and so on, are emphasized. In listening comprehension, students will learn how to capture the content of each paragraph unit. In reading, it is important to try not only to understand but also to remember the content of each paragraph, so that students can present it in their own way. Writing exercises aim for cohesive discourse involving the use of pronominals and conjunctions, ellipsis, topic changes, styles, presupposition, writer's intention and purpose, discrepancies between the content and linguistic expressions, and Japanese-like expressions and structures based on the contrastive approach between Japanese and English.

When reading Japanese materials, it is helpful to itemize the content and remember it. For listening comprehension develop a strategy for understanding the gist of each paragraph and gradually try to increase more detailed information. The use of more sophisticated vocabulary is required in various activities. Students will learn to use vocabulary learned through reading in conversation, so that they will be able to express abstract and complicated ideas. Learning about Japan by reading various sources should also help students understand the Japanese psyche and perceptions. Combined with this, students will have an opportunity to watch current TV programs and films.

A new approach in instruction is the need-to-know strategy. Students are expected to overcome their weaknesses by identifying them through exposure to various materials. Instructors, to be sure, will give necessary explanations and practice, but they are given based on students' need.

New Kanji characters learned are constantly reinforced by repetition in various materials. Students must spend much time for learning them. Targeting the ones which are difficult to remember would be helpful.

Pay attention to newspaper articles that deal with Japan for topics of conversation. Current affairs are always good topics.

Take advantage of TEL (Technology Enhanced Learning] facilities, the Internet and multimedia software available on campus.


Please refer to the grading scheme given on the separate sheet. An overall grade of "B" is strongly recommended to advance to AS/JP4000 6.0. "C" is the minimum requirement.

Tests                                        :      35%
Oral assignments                     :      25%
Written assignments & quizzes:      20%
Essay                                       :      10%
Attendance & participation       :      10%


Students who missed the class three times consecutively without any reasonable explanation to the instructor may receive a warning, and if attendance does not improve immediately, further action may be taken by the course director.

Academic dishonesty such as cheating and plagiarism will be penalized severely according to university regulations. Those who are accepted to this course provisionally may receive a recommendation from the instructor as to whether or not s/he should continue the course.


* Any form of abuse, physical, psychological, or verbal, will not be tolerated.
* 'Political Correctness' should be adhered to as a guiding principle.
* Private talking should be kept minimal.
* Cellular phones and pagers must be turned off except for emergency situations.
* Only drinks are allowed, no eating or chewing gum.


As for general questions and problems please feel free to consult your instructor. However, please observe the office hours; otherwise make an appointment. Time-consuming questions and individual questions should be addressed during office hours.


Last date to enroll without permission of course instructor: September 20, 2017
Last date to enroll with permission of course instructor: October 18, 2017 (applicable only to those who have attended the class regularly)


Your interim grade will be provided by the end of January, 2017. If you should decide to drop the course, the deadline is February 9, 2018


Ontario Japanese Speech Contest

The annual Ontario Japanese Speech Contest will be held at the beginning of March. Third year students are eligible for the intermediate category. York students have been doing extremely well in the past. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in this event.

National Japanese Speech Contest

The first prize winners of the regional speech contests are eligible to compete in the Canada-wide National Japanese Speech Contest to be held at the end of March.

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test

The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is hosted by and held at York University on the first Sunday of December. Students are strongly encouraged to take part in the test.


Monbu-Kagaku-sho Scholarship

There are opportunities to apply for scholarships sponsored by the Japanese Government.

Exchange Program

The one-year exchange programs with Meiji University in Tokyo, Dokkyo University in Saitama, Keio University, Waseda University, Hitotsubashi University, Ayoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo and Nagoya University in Nagoya are available for those who (will) have completed AP/JP3000 6.0 (or AS/JP3000 6.0) with good standing not only in Japanese but also in GPA [B or above]. Applicants must apply to York International and be recommended by the selection committee through an interview and a test. Up to three students are recommended per institution annually. Official inter-university exchange students may be eligible for JASSO [Japan Student Services Organization] scholarship.

JET Program

The job prospects in Japan-related areas look very promising not only in Canada and the U.S. but also in Japan. The JET [Japan Exchange and Teaching] Program, which is sponsored by the Japanese Government, gives opportunities to work in Japan as either an assistant English language teacher [ALT] at a local school or a co-ordinator for international relations [CIR] at a local government office. Consult with the Japan Information Centre [ph. (416)363-5488] for further information.

CALL [Computer-Assisted Language Learning]

Multimedia Language Centre [MLC: S117 Ross]

E-mail account

Every student must activate his/her E-mail account as soon as possible in order to log in at MLC.

E-mail list


Students in jp3000 will be automatically put on the jp3000 list above. Only York addresses are used. 

Nihongo list has been set up to improve communication among students and instructors by exchanging ideas and information, posting questions, announcing special events, and discussing issues. Every student must be on the lists. To subscribe to the lists, send the following messages:

subscribe nihongo (E-mail address) [E-mail address is necessary only when you use a non-York account.]

to: majordomo@tsuge.yorku.ca

Web Sites



100 - 95 A+ 9 EXCEPTIONAL
94 - 89 A 8 EXCELLENT
88 - 83 B+ 7 VERY GOOD
82 - 77 B 6 GOOD
76 - 71 C+ 5 COMPETENT
64 - 59 D+ 3 PASSING
46 -  0 F 0 FAILING

Your final grade will be given based on the above grading scheme. A grade of "B" or above is strongly recommended to advance to the next level, although "C" is the minimum requirement.
Please note that the grading percentages are set higher than in the standard grading scheme because 10% of the total grade is allocated for class attendance and participation.
Fractions are not rounded up. [e.g. 70.99% is C, and 71.00% is C+.]
Grades are NOT negotiable.

Noriko Yabuki-Soh
Course Director
DLLL, York University


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