The goal of the Japanese program at Kenyon College is to help students effectively pursue their intellectual interests through verbal and written communication in Japanese.The program balances linguistic competence with cultural literacy by instructing students not only the four skills of language (reading, writing, listening, speaking), but also socio-cultural concepts essential to understanding Japanese culture. Instructors are highly qualified, having advanced degrees in language pedagogy, as well as extensive teaching experience beyond their classes at Kenyon.
The program is uniquely designed to encourage all students to regularly display and share their original Japanese work on individual websites that are given to them at the beginning of their study. To facilitate this method of learning, students in their first year of language study are taught useful computing skills and strategies that enable them to easily integrate their Japanese language study with the use of technology.
Three levels of courses are offered: Elementary (J111-112), Intermediate (J213-214) and Advanced (J321). After the intermediate level students can either take the advanced course or study in Japan during the junior year. In the past 10 years, 37 students have taken this study-abroad option, choosing to stay for either a semester or a year at one of Japanese institutions such as Waseda, Rikkyo, and Sophia universities in the Tokyo area as well as Kansai Gaidai and Nanzan universities in the western provinces of Japan. For students returning to Kenyon from study abroad in Japan, a fourth-year course on a special topic in Japanese language or culture is possible, depending on the availability of staff.
Students can minor in Japanese within the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures (MLL). MLL offers the language major, which requires the study of two foreign languages. Japanese can be the secondary language or, in special cases, the primary language.
Existing Japanese student organizations include the Anime Club and the Japan Club, the latter of which organizes sushi parties and regular cultural trips to Columbus.