[cat# E55Q02 ~ E55Q10]



This is a comprehensive beginner's level Japanese language course enhanced with a modular approach and technology. It provides those who have no knowledge, or minimum knowledge of the Japanese language with the basic training and information concerning the language, culture, and society. To learn Japanese in the context of cross-cultural communication is one of the main objectives. The communicative-empathic approach enhances each learner's communicative competence and performance. The course is fully web-based: no textbook is used, all the instructional materials are available on-line, the modular approach strengthens the four-skill areas synergistically with enriched information and materials, tests are on-line via Moodle, and lectures and one of the tutorials are video-streamed for real-time participation (distance education mode) and for review. Students are expected to study the self-study interactive materials on the web, whenever and wherever they have access to the Internet. Self-study materials have been developed and made available for  students to review and study ahead to ensure that they do not forget what they have learned and prepare for the next-level courses during the summer and winter holidays. Needless to say, students are encouraged to proceed to the next level, but this course is designed to be self-contained and partially for general education purposes, so that it accommodates those who may not continue to study Japanese further as well. The class atmosphere is very congenial and anxiety-free because students with various backgrounds study together.

Upon completion of the course, students should be able to function in Japanese in daily conversational situations such as greetings, giving and receiving instructions, eating and drinking, shopping, talking about hobbies, studies and holidays, etc., understand very simple TV programs, and read and write basic Japanese sentences with limited Sino-Japanese characters [Kanji].


DEGREE: required for the honours minor degree in Japanese Studies


The course is semi-intensive in nature and moves fast: one lesson per week. Twenty lessons of the Lecture Notes will be completed and the two Kana systems and 120 Kanji [Sino-Japanese characters] will be introduced.


Four written tests are scheduled for six to seven lessons of the Lecture Notes, each of which contains the relevant reading and writing material. Four oral assignments will be given: two in each term, and short written quizzes will be administered regularly according to the schedule. 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 a test or quiz, you may be asked by the instructor to leave. These policies are observed stringently.


The Tuesday lectures will cover most of the important grammatical items, the relevant background information, and socio-cultural and cross-cultural aspects of communication. The information provided will facilitate the needs of those who may visit Japan in the near future. The Lecture Notes is available at the Japanese web site for students to have a quick overview of the focal points of each lesson. It is augmented by new information, up-to-date explanations and examples, and practical, usable items. Video-streamed lectures are available on the web for distance education format and review. Video files are available on the web to augment information on culture and society.
Attendance is mandatory.


Two 1.5-hour tutorials per week. Students engage in active communicative interactions to put knowledge into practice in tutorials.      
Attendance is mandatory.

The following are useful rules of thumb.

* Be well prepared for the class. You are expected to have done the self-study materials for each lesson before you come to class.
* Do not skip classes.
* Be on time for the class.
* Participate actively in tutorials.
* Do not look at the instructional materials during the oral sessions.
* Use Japanese in class as much as possible.
* Get to know your section members and study together.


Please obtain the course outline and syllabus for your tutorial from the following sites.

Course Outline


Please copy the Lecture Notes from the Japanese web site. 


Tests [online - Moodle] - 50%; Oral assignments - 25%; Quizzes - 15%; Class attendance and participation - 10%.
Please refer to the grading scheme given on the separate sheet. An overall grade of "B" is strongly recommended to advance to AP/JP2000.06 ["C" is the minimum requirement.]


Students who have missed class three consecutive times without any reasonable explanation to the instructor, and those whose absence is frequent 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.


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


As for general questions and problems please feel free to consult your instructor. Please observe office hours; otherwise make an appointment. Time-consuming questions and individual questions should be addressed during the office hours. Inquiries by E-mail should be kept minimal. Do not expect your instructor to reply to your inquiries on the weekend.


Last date to enroll without permission of course instructor: September 20, 2017
Last date to enroll with permission of course instructor: October 18, 2017


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


Language study involves not only passive aspects [memorization, recitation, drills, pattern practice and so forth] but also active and creative aspects [analysis and comprehension of what is said or written, synthesis of what is learned, and communicative application of the language in actual situations]. In this course communicative aspects are strongly emphasized so that students will be able to function in actual conversation. Therefore, tutorials will not be conducted in such a way that the instructor gives lectures and drills and the students respond to him/her, but instead the students are encouraged to interact with both the instructor and other students in the class in actual communication [active participation]. Those who are not familiar with this type of individualistic, heuristic, and creative language study are expected to modify their views and learning strategies.


There is no one way to acquire a language; every person has a different learning style and strategy. Try out various ways and find the best method and system for you as soon as possible. The following are some suggestions.
* Preparation and review:
  Always read the explanation of the Lecture Notes and do the self-study materials in order to familiarize
   yourself with the dialogues, important grammatical items, and new vocabulary before you go to the
* Creative application:
   Try to use what you have learned in your own way. Repeating the utterances presented on the web
   alone is not sufficient. Think of situations where you can say what you want to say and how the other
   party may respond to you.
* What you are saying with what purpose:
   Think of what you wish to convey for what purpose.
* Steady accumulation:
   Do not try to review everything at once. You cannot cram everything overnight for the test.
* Focus on the difficult items:
   Make use of weekends for review focusing on the items difficult to understand, and make sure you
   understand all the important items covered.
* Review missed lessons:
   If you should miss a class, make sure you get all the information by watching the video-recorded
   lectures (and tutorials).
* Study with your friends:
  Oral performance will benefit greatly from practicing with your friends and other Japanese students on
* Audio-visual materials and IT:
   Viewing Japanese TV programs, movies, video files and playing video and online games may be helpful for
   listening comprehension and understanding of socio-cultural aspects of Japan. Take advantage of IT facilities
   available on campus.


* Informal get-together may be organized by volunteer students [you included] who are studying Japanese at
  York University to get to know each other, students from Japan and faculty.
* Various academic, cultural and social events are planned and organized by the Japanese Section and the
   Japanese International Students' Association of York University [JISA], of which you can be a member.
* The annual Ontario Japanese Speech Contest will be held at the beginning of March. First-year students are
   eligible for the Beginners' Category. York students have been doing extremely well in the past. Students are
   strongly encouraged to participate in this event. First prize winners are eligible for the annual National
   Japanese Speech Contest
to be held at the end of March.
* The Japanese Language Proficiency Test is hosted by and held at York University on the first Sunday of
   December annually.
* Japan related exhibitions, film showing, demonstrations, and similar events are easily accessible in Toronto.


* Summer internship positions at Mitsui & Co. (Canada) Ltd. are available in Toronto (on-the-job training in
   Japanese companies).
* Monbu-Kagaku-shoo Scholarships are available for third and fourth year students sponsored by the Japanese
* The one-year exchange programs are available with Meiji University in Tokyo, Dokkyo University in
   Saitama, Keio University, Waseda University in Tokyo,  Nagoya University in Nagoya,  Hitotsubashi University
   and Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo are mainly for those who have completed AP/JP3000 6.0 (or AS/JP3000 6.0)
   or AP/JP4000 6.0 (or AS/JP4000 6.0) with good standing not only in Japanese but also in GPA [B or above].
   Applicants must apply to York International and go through the selection procedure (tests and interviews).
   Up to three students are recommended per institution annually. Official inter-university exchange students may be
   eligible for JASSO[Japan Student Services Organization] scholarship. Some universities allow students to start either
   in April or September. Please consult with the York International. 
* Advanced knowledge of Japanese can further facilitate your academic career such as International MBA
   programs, East Asian Studies, Teaching of Japanese as a Foreign Language, etc.
* 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 at a local school [ALT] or a
   coordinator 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] / TEL [Technology Enhanced Learning]

Multimedia Language Centre [MLC: S117 Ross]

MLC provides PC lab sessions. All these sessions are on a walk-in and first-come-first-served basis. Orientation is scheduled.

Students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with Moodle and the word processing program.

E-mail account

Every student must activate the York E-mail account as soon as possible in order to log in at MLC and for the Moodle sites.

Tutorial E-mail lists
Registered students are automatically on one of the following tutorial lists (York E-mail accounts only). Please check your E-mail on a regular basis.
jp1000-10 (N/A)

Nihongo E-mail discussion and information list

An automated E-mail list called Nihongo is set up to improve communication among students and instructors by exchanging ideas and information, posting questions, announcing special events, and discussing issues. Please subscribe to it in the following way.
Email to: majordomo@tsuge.yorku.ca
Message: subscribe nihongo (your E-mail address) [E-mail address is necessary if you are not using a York account]

Web Sites
http://buna.yorku.ca/     [Buna site]

GRADING SCHEME  (Please note that the grading scheme is different from the one for the university.)   

 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
  70 - 65       C       4         FAIRLY COMPETENT
  64 - 59       D+      3         PASSING
  58 - 53       D       2         BARELY PASSING
  52 - 47       E       1         MARGINALLY FAILING
  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 York grading scheme, because 10% of the total grade is allocated for attendance and participation.
Please note that fractions are not rounded up. [e.g. 70.99% is considered C, and 71.00% is C+.]
Professor Kiyoko Toratani
Course Director/Coordinator
office:   South 546 Ross Building
phone:  (416)736-2100 x20766
fax:       (416)736-5483
e-mail:  ktora