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University of Cambridge


This course combines the intensive study of spoken and written Japanese to an advanced level and the study of Japanese history, religion, literature, society, politics and international relations. Papers in Classical Japanese and classical Japanese culture are also offered. The course is four years long and all students continuing to Part II are required to spend at least eight months in Japan in their third year. Part II student dissertations, based mainly on Japanese sources, are due in Easter Term of the fourth year.

Year One

The first year is devoted to an interdisciplinary introduction to Japan and East Asia, providing both a far-ranging historical overview as well as a broadly defined cultural framework intended to give you a foretaste of the more methodologically distinct approaches that we introduce in the second year. This part of the first year course is deliberately wide-ranging, covering the East Asian region. Much of the first year is also taken up in laying a firm foundation for the detailed study of modern spoken and written Japanese which continues throughout the four years. The Faculty offers the opportunity for a brief summer visit to Japan in between the first and second year for those students who have never been.
Non-language courses: East Asian Studies

Year Two

In the second year, there is flexibility to focus study in a particular direction. There is a choice from four specialised courses dealing with politics, sociology, literature and culture, and classical Japanese. Intensive language training continues throughout this year.
Non-language courses:Modern Japanese history, Modern Japan 1, Modern Japan 2

Year Three

Study Period Abroad

Year Four

The final year involves further advanced-level language work, a special paper in a field of your interest, and the writing of the dissertation in close consultation with your supervisor.
Non-language courses:Topics in Japanese history: Social and cultural history of Japan in War and Peace, Topics in Japanese society, Japanese Politics & International Relations: Aspects of post-war foreign policy

Study Period Abroad

Part II Japanese Studies (whole subject) students must spend a period of at least 8 months in Japan in their third year. At present this is arranged with Doshisha University.


Japanese Studies MPhil (thesis only)
This is not at the moment a 'taught' course. Depending on the candidate's experience, qualifications and proposed subject, he or she may be granted special permission to offer a thesis of not more than 25,000 words in length, including footnotes and appendices but excluding bibliography. An oral examination on the thesis and on the general field in which it falls will be required. The successful applicant is assigned a supervisor upon entry and thesis topics must be discussed with the supervisor as early as possible in the academic year.

Japanese Studies PhD
As a minimum requirement, PhD work at Cambridge requires that you have a strong foundation in the Japanese language and a clear idea of the research you propose to undertake. The doctorate is not a 'taught course'. The topic should be in a subject area which a member of staff can realistically supervise, but all enquiries are welcome and students are advised to write in the first instance to discuss their research proposal with a member of the teaching staff. Recent topics have included womens' writing in the Meiji period, Koyasan shoen and a study of foreign communities in Japan.

Address Sidgwick Avenue
Cambridge CB3 9DA
Telephone 01223 335106 Fax 01223 335110 School E-mail address admin@ames.cam.ac.uk Website www.ames.cam.ac.uk/