Japanese students on Zoom call showing their work.

A structured sequence of courses in Japanese language and culture prepares our students for international careers or graduate study. The program emphasizes all four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students learn to use Japanese in a variety of environments and become confident speakers, readers, and writers.

Most students begin Japanese in their first year at Middlebury and progress through four levels in the modern language (Tokyo common/standard speech). Advanced courses are available for students who enter with prior training in the language or for those who accelerate their study by attending the summer School of Japanese and studying abroad in the C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in Tokyo. Middlebury is one of the few colleges to offer an advanced seminar in Japanese language.

Cultural fluency is an essential part of our program. Courses taught in English on modern and classical Japanese literature, linguistics, gender, and society provide cultural breadth and disciplinary depth. Seniors have the opportunity to work closely with faculty advisers on an independent project, translation, or honors thesis.