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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 2020

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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 2020, the program starts on Thursday, June 11 and ends on Friday, July 24.

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

Wednesday, June 10: Students arrive
Thursday, June 11: Orientation
Friday, June 12: Class begins
Friday, June 26-Saturday, June 27: Overnight trip
Friday, July 17: No Class (Gion Festival)
Friday, July 24: 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 has been taught by renowned scholars of classical Japanese who have researched and taught in higher education in the North America.

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. Students in the KCJS Summer Program in Classical Japanese have the option of joining students in the Modern Japanese program on an overnight trip to Nara. 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

“Professor is one of the most knowledgeable person I have ever met in my life. He demonstrated unquestionable mastery of the content of the course and was able to explicate the nuances imbedded within the lines. He always gives time for students to think and points out the mistakes in a gentle yet uncompromising way. In addition, it is very encouraging to see someone who has so much passion and love for the subject of his study. I think he had not only taught me knowledge of classical Japanese but had also impacted me positively as a scholar.”

“I have never expected to learn so much in a language program. I think reading classical Japanese is an important skill to have for anyone who is serious about pursuing advanced fluency in this language. Learning classical Japanese would help you transition from a foreign Japanese language learner (by this I mean someone who’s able to carry out basic text-book conversations in Japanese) to a person that can gradually use and appreciate the Japanese language and Japanese culture as a native speaker.”

“Kyoto is a very suitable place to learn Classical Japanese since there are a lot of places and activities closely relevant with the materials we’ve covered in class. It’s much more helpful to visit these places/museums to get a better sense of the materials. And the language environment in Japan really helps to improve my spoken language skills.”

“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.”

“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.”

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