About Japanese

Our Program and Courses

With small class sizes and close collaboration between students and professors, you will develop the tools to reflect critically on the cultural practices, products, and perspectives of the Japanese-speaking world and your own. Through intensive language training in the classroom, you will grow your confidence and fluency in Japanese, including mastery of the Hiragana and Katakana Japanese writing systems and an introduction to Kanji characters.

Wondering what a Japanese course is like? Take a look at our course catalog to explore what’s available to you.

Our Faculty and Staff

Ken-Ichi Miura

Director and Senior Teaching Professor of the Japanese Language Program

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Yumiko Naito

Adjunct Instructor, Japanese

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Shari Vegso

Academic Department Coordinator

Chinese Language Program; Comparative Literary Studies; French; German and Russian Studies; International Studies; Italian Studies and Hebrew; Japanese Language Program; Latin American Studies; Spanish

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Learning Outside the Classroom

Off-Campus Study

When learning a foreign language, it’s important to experience its use in communities that speak it natively. Studying in Japan lets you experience the Japanese language, culture, and people first-hand. The six-week summer program at Tohoku Gakuin University in Sendai, Japan, includes homestays with Japanese families. You may also choose to participate in off-campus study programs in Japan for a semester or year.
Explore off-campus study at F&M

Research Opportunities

Every student at F&M has extraordinary opportunities to engage in independent or faculty-led research
Explore research at F&M

Success Beyond F&M

The interpretive skills, practical skills, cultural knowledge and awareness, and the intellectual connections you gain by studying Japanese at F&M are valuable for any post-college plan.

Alumni Spotlight

Chilamo Taylor ’24 Forges Unique Path to Japan

Chilamo Taylor ’24 is embarking on a prestigious postgraduate fellowship in Japan — a dream that has been years in the making. An exchange student opportunity in high school first piqued Taylor’s interest in Japan and his desire to learn more about the language and culture. “I immediately began trying to find ways to get back to Japan when I started at F&M,” Taylor said. With support from his professors, Taylor designed a special studies major in business, Japanese, and history in an effort to create an academic experience that would prepare him for his postgraduate goal of living in Japan. “I have always had an interest in business, but I wanted to create a major that included my Japanese language studies and also a more cultural approach to learning about Japan through history,” he said. This summer, Taylor will move to Miyagi for a yearlong Princeton in Asia (PiA) fellowship at Niizawa Brewery to learn all aspects of the sake brewing and production process.

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Event Spotlight

Japanese Tie-Dyeing

In collaboration with the F&M Japanese program and the Japanese Club, F&M’s Joseph International Center hosted an event featuring "Aizome," the practice of traditional Japanese indigo dyeing. This is not the first time the practice has been demonstrated on campus; Ken-ichi Miura, director and senior teaching professor of the Japanese language program, previously organized an event in collaboration with Brooks College House, as part of the Japanese Program's fall celebration.

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Related Fields of Study

Art History

What does art of the past tell us about the transformation of visual and material experience over time? By studying art history at F&M, you’ll actively engage with this living dimension of the past through its artifacts, images, architecture, and relevant texts.


Embark on an enriching journey through time, exploring a vast range of geographic regions, topical themes, and time periods. By studying history at F&M, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of history and historical processes, and develop keen insight into how they have shaped the present and will influence the future.

International Studies

International studies is an innovative program that combines off-campus study in a non-English-speaking location with on- and off-campus coursework. As a student of international studies at F&M, you will develop a global perspective and immerse yourself in the languages and cultures of non-English-speaking countries and regions.

F&M Japanese in the Spotlight

May 1, 2024

Chilamo Taylor ’24 Forges Unique Path to Japan

How did football and fashion lead Franklin & Marshall senior Chilamo Taylor to a prestigious postgraduate fellowship in Japan? Learn more about his upcoming Princeton in Asia fellowship.

November 3, 2021

Dye Magic Changes Yellow to 'Japan Blue'

On a cool autumn afternoon outside Franklin & Marshall's Brooks College House, dozens of students gathered around as Ken-ichi Miura explained shibori, a Japanese tie-dyeing technique. Miura, senior teaching professor and the director of the Japanese Program, said the practice of traditional Japanese indigo dyeing is called "Aizome," which he demonstrated for students before they began turning their fabric tote bags and T-shirts in various designs of blue.

February 7, 2020

Speaker Argues for Dual Language Education So No Child Is Left Monolingual

Although 31 states have declared English as their native tongue, and roughly 21 percent of the population is, at various degrees, bilingual, the United States has no official language. Meanwhile, 75 percent of the world's 7.7 billion people do not speak English. That, according to Kimberly Potowski, professor of Spanish linguistics in the Department of Hispanic & Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, reflects a problem with American education policy, particularly considering an estimated 60 percent of the world's population is bilingual or multilingual.