Japanese Studies Program @ York University


[cat# H17V02 ~ H17V13]   Web



This is a comprehensive beginner's level Japanese language course enhanced with information 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-narrative 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 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].

Attendance is mandatory and counted toward final grades.

Attendance is mandatory.

- Four tests on Moodle
- Oral presentations
- In-class quizzes
- Written homework assignments are to be submitted in class

Note: 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. Any failure in online Internet connection must be substantiated with a photo that indicates the incident. 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.
Should students miss a test, oral assignment, or homework due to inevitable circumstances (e.g., medical emergency), they are required to notify their instructor within 24 hours and provide her with written proof (e.g., doctor’s note), in order for them to be rescheduled.These policies are observed stringently.

E-office hours or in-person office hours. Each instructor will set up office hours.

JLPT 2023-2 will be held on December 3, 2023 at York University.


DEGREE: This course is 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.

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
* 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] - 30%; Oral assignments - 30%; Quiz - 15%; HW - 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, 2023
Last date to enroll with permission of course instructor: October 28, 2023 (applicable only to those who have attended the class regularly)


Your interim grade will be provided by the end of January, 2024.
Last date to drop a course without receiving a grade: February 8, 2024
Withdraw from a course and receive a grade of “W” on transcript: February 9 - April 8, 2024.


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 class.
* 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 campus.
* 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 Contestto 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
* Japan related exhibitions, film showing, demonstrations, and similar events are easily accessible in Toronto.


* Monbu-Kagaku-shoo Scholarships are available for third and fourth year students sponsored by the Japanese Government.
* 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

CALL [Computer-Assisted Language Learning] / TEL [Technology Enhanced Learning]

Multimedia Language Centre [MLC: S117 Ross]  Not available during the 2023-24 academic year due to the renovation.

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.

Web Sites
https://buna.yorku.ca/                 [Buna site]
http://kusu.yorku.ca/                   [Kusu site]
http://tsuge.yorku.ca/                  [Tsuge site]
https://ume.kmkr.ca/japanese/   [Ume 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
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/lab attendance and participation.
Please note that fractions are not rounded up [e.g. 70.99% is C, and 71.00% is C+].
Grades are NOT negotiable.

Norio Ota
Course Director
Office:   South 532 Ross Building
Phone:  (416)736-2100 x88750 (office)
             (647)500-8089 (mobile)
Fax:       (416)736-5483
E-mail:  OTA