At a Glance

Japanese has become one of the most widely taught foreign languages in the United States, reflecting its importance in politics, business, education, and technology. Guided by dedicated professors and native-speaking Target Language Experts, Carthage students go beyond reading, writing, and speaking Japanese to understand the nation’s history and culture. All majors study abroad in Japan for at least six months.

Major

  • Japanese

Minor

  • Japanese

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You’ll be immersed in Japanese culture and language from the first day of your first Japanese course. Courses stretch beyond vocabulary and grammar to explore literature, architecture, art, politics, film, economics, and everyday life, so you’ll develop a critical understanding of Japanese culture and language.

The core of the Carthage Japanese program is the four-year language curriculum. The goal of the Japanese program is to help students develop proficiency in Japanese in a socio-cultural context. Students not only gain fluency in reading, writing, and speaking Japanese, but they also acquire a deep understanding of Japanese people and culture.

Many students combine Japanese with a major or minor in another field, allowing them to combine their interests and prepare for various futures — even some they might not anticipate.

  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,899,1164/37744_8231_163701665847155.rev.1683847595.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,899,1164/37744_8231_163701665847155.rev.1683847595.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,899,1164/37744_8231_163701665847155.rev.1683847595.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,899,1164/37744_8231_163701665847155.rev.1683847595.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,899,1164/37744_8231_163701665847155.rev.1683847595.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,899,1164/37744_8231_163701665847155.rev.1683847595.jpg" alt="Tyler Hunter" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,899,1164/37744_8231_163701665847155.rev.1683847595.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,899,1164/37744_8231_163701665847155.rev.1683847595.jpg 3x" data-max-w="899" data-max-h="1164" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “I chose Carthage because I really loved the atmosphere of having close relations with the professors and feeling more involved in the classroom and on campus. The other main reason is for the reputation of Carthage’s study abroad and Japanese programs.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2417-tyler-hunter">Tyler Hunter</a> ’25</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/64/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,689,689/38361_9946_163701665847155.rev.1693880001.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/64/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,689,689/38361_9946_163701665847155.rev.1693880001.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/64/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,689,689/38361_9946_163701665847155.rev.1693880001.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/png" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/64/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,689,689/38361_9946_163701665847155.rev.1693880001.png 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/64/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,689,689/38361_9946_163701665847155.rev.1693880001.png 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/64/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,689,689/38361_9946_163701665847155.rev.1693880001.png" alt="Jose Antonio ?Tony? Lule" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/64/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,689,689/38361_9946_163701665847155.rev.1693880001.png 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/64/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,689,689/38361_9946_163701665847155.rev.1693880001.png 3x" data-max-w="689" data-max-h="689" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “Students in the Japanese program at Carthage are really close with each other across all levels. Many of my first friends I made at Carthage were other students in the program.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2505-">Jose Antonio Lule</a> ’26</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,16,300,316/37709_8215_163701665847155.rev.1683639836.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,16,300,316/37709_8215_163701665847155.rev.1683639836.JPG 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,16,300,316/37709_8215_163701665847155.rev.1683639836.JPG" alt="Kristeria Wolf ?24" width="183" height="183" data-max-w="300" data-max-h="300" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “I received the Japanese Language Scholarship. When I got the letter, I was ecstatic. It meant to me I could go to a school with professors that cared, and I had opportunities to learn as much as I wanted.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2411-kristeria-wolf">Kristeria Wolf</a> ’24</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>
  • <div class="lw_widget lw_widget_type_blockquote"><blockquote class="blockquote"><div class="blockquote__image"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1008,1014/39113_Isabelle-Hunter-24_2.rev.1707775307.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1008,1014/39113_Isabelle-Hunter-24_2.rev.1707775307.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1008,1014/39113_Isabelle-Hunter-24_2.rev.1707775307.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1008,1014/39113_Isabelle-Hunter-24_2.rev.1707775307.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1008,1014/39113_Isabelle-Hunter-24_2.rev.1707775307.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1008,1014/39113_Isabelle-Hunter-24_2.rev.1707775307.jpg" alt="Isabelle Hunter ?24" width="183" height="183" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1008,1014/39113_Isabelle-Hunter-24_2.rev.1707775307.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/74/width/183/height/183/crop/1/src_region/0,0,1008,1014/39113_Isabelle-Hunter-24_2.rev.1707775307.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1008" data-max-h="1014" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </div><div class="blockquote__content"><div class="blockquote__quote"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="icon icon-round-left-quote" width="48" height="33"><use xlink:href="#icon-round-left-quote"/></svg><p> “The Japanese program has a very close-knit community, and I love knowing almost everyone in the major.”</p></div><footer class="blockquote__footer"><span class="blockquote__author"><a href="/live/profiles/2614-isabelle-hunter">Isabelle Hunter</a> ’24</span></footer></div></blockquote></div>

Courses You’ll Take

All classes in the major are taught in Japanese. Here’s a sampling of required and elective offerings:

  • Japanese Literature and Culture
  • Calligraphy
  • A Social History of 20th Century Japan Through Film
  • Issues in Asian History
  • East Asian Religions

Japanese Course Descriptions

RETROACTIVE CREDITS

If you test into a course and then earn a “C” or better, you can earn up to 12 free retroactive credits. That’s three times more than you’ll get from any AP or college-level class that offers college credit!


Beyond the classroom

Students learning how to wear Japanese Yukata (for females) and jinbee (for males).

Student Organizations

Japanese Club and the Japanese Lunch Table give students more chances to build cultural and linguistic fluency. Top scholars can join Alpha Mu Gamma, a national honor society for foreign languages.

Cultural Events

On campus, faculty periodically offer Japanese cultural workshops on kimonos, calligraphy, sushi, and tea ceremonies. The annual Bunkasai Cultural Festival lets students showcase their Japanese speeches, dances, songs, skits, and martial arts. Off campus, the Japanese Club organizes regular field trips.

Study Abroad

Besides the required semester-long immersion (typically at one of Carthage’s two exchange partner universities), faculty periodically lead short-term study tours to Japan and other parts of East Asia during the J-Term.

More Student Opportunities


Popular minors & second majors

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After Carthage

Studying Japanese at Carthage leads to jobs in business, marketing, healthcare, computer science, recruiting, teaching, art, and more. Carthage’s alumni work in a variety of settings and hold positions with employers such as:

  • Chief chemist at Racine Industries, Inc.
  • Sales coordinator at Nippon Steel Trading Americas, Inc.
  • Senior consultant in the software industry in Tokyo
  • English teaching assistant under the JET program in Saitama-ken
  • Japan English lecturer at NOVA Holdings Co. Ltd. in Tokyo
  • Senior trade compliance analyst at Life Fitness
  • Children’s book author and illustrator

Learn more about Japanese Careers