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KCJS Summer Program in Classical Japanese



The six-week Classical Japanese program (O4207& O4208; 8 points of semester credit) is primarily designed for those who have no prior knowledge of classical Japanese. Note, however, that students with some prior coursework in Classical Japanese may apply; depending upon the number of applicants and range of backgrounds, we may be able to accommodate your needs. Classes meet four hours a day, five days a week for six weeks, for a total of 120 contact hours. Field trips and an overnight excursion are also included.

The eligibility requirements are as follows.

  • Open to undergraduates and graduate students in good academic standing. Recent graduates may also apply.
  • Must have completed three years of college-level Japanese or the equivalent.
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Minimum 3.0 average GPA in Japanese language courses.

Classical Japanese Syllabus and Schedule for 2017

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Our summer program in Classical Japanese starts in the middle of June and ends at the end of July (6 weeks). For Summer 2018, the program starts on Thursday, June 7 and ends on Friday, July 20.

Please note that the following calendar is tentative and subject to change.

Wednesday, June 6: Students arrive
Thursday, June 7: Orientation
Friday, June 8: Class begins
Friday, June 22-Saturday, June 23: Overnight trip
Tuesday, July 17: No Class
Friday, July 20: Final exam & Final ceremony

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Highlights of the Classical Japanese Program

Experienced and Professional Instructor. The KCJS Summer Program in Classical Japanese is taught by Professor Anne Commons, a renowned scholar of classical Japanese known also for her excellence in teaching. Professor Commons’ primary research focus at the University of Alberta focuses on premodern Japanese poetry and poetics and their surrounding sphere of cultural activities, including not only the compilation of poetic anthologies and commentaries but also activities such as rituals, performance and portraiture as they relate to poetic thought and practice. She earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University.

imageRapid Acquisition of Classical Japanese. The KCJS Summer Program in Classical Japanese is designed for students who have proficiency in modern Japanese but (usually) have not studied classical Japanese before. Taught in English, the course offers a systematic, intensive introduction to the grammar of classical Japanese, which will enable you to read authentic texts with a dictionary by the end of the term.

Field Trips. As a student in the KCJS Summer Program in Classical Japanese, you can take advantage of our location in the heart of Kyoto near the Imperial Palace grounds and Shokokuji Temple in order to visit places where classical literary works were set. For example, students in previous summers took excursions to Uji and Ishiyama-dera, both of which figure in the Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji).

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Special activities in conjunction with the Gion Matsuri. All students in the KCJS Summer Programs in Modern and Classical Japanese have special opportunities to experience the Gion Matsuri, one of the three major festivals in Japan. The Gion Matsuri takes place during the month of July, and the KCJS Summer Programs will offer:

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Overnight trip to Nara. All students in the KCJS Summer Program in Classical Japanese will take an overnight trip to Nara with the students in the Modern Japanese program. Nara was the capital of Japan for about seventy years in the eighth century before Kyoto became the capital in 794. Nara is full of places of historical significance, including Todai-ji and Horyu-ji, which are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You will be free to create your own plans to stroll through the area and enjoy these beautiful sights. Round-trip transportation, overnight lodging, dinner and breakfast will be provided.

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Comments from alumni about their experiences in the program

“I’ve learned a lot throughout the program, and meeting with other people who share the same academic interest with me (especially many of them are more experienced than me) is really helpful.”

“(The course) was very well organized. Our (Tale of) Genji reading even coordinated with the Genji exhibit in (the Tale of Genji Museum in) Uji.”

“I feel like I learned a lot, and was able to accomplish what I had set out to do: read classical Japanese with the aid of dictionary. Coursework was well-balanced and I felt challenged without being overwhelmed.”

“Professor was just the right balance of serious and funny. She knew her topic extensively and no question or comment was off limits.”

“I liked learning classical Japanese at Kyoto, since it’s easy to go explore the historical sites mentioned in the texts we read in class, which deepens my appreciation/understanding of classical Japanese texts and Japanese history/literature in general.”

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Office of Global Programs

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Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies 京都アメリカ大学コンソーシアム

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Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8580 JAPAN

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