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Elementary Japanese/Japanese Culture

JA130/PA130 and JA250/PA250

Block 1: Joan E. Ericson (JA130/PA130: Elementary Japanese)

Block 2: Joan E. Ericson (JA250/PA250: Japanese Culture)

This course satisfies the Critical Perspectives: Global Cultures requirement and one unit of the language requirement.

This course explores the intersection of Japanese language with the concepts that inform Japanese culture, both traditional and modern.  Through an introduction to Japanese, you will have easier access to the underlying aesthetics of literature (from classical poetry and drama to manga) and art forms (from calligraphy and gardens to anime).  By the end of the two blocks you will be able to appreciate recent anime such as “Princess Mononoke” or “Spirited Away” through a better understanding of the cultural and historical referents, as well as catch the excitement through sections of the original dialogue.

Equal time will be spent on learning language (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) and discussing readings and videos about the history, literature (including portions of The Tale of Genji, the world's first novel), and other aspects of Japanese culture. You will have many hands-on opportunities, including calligraphy sessions and cooking Japanese meals. Readings, discussions, and writing assignments on the cultural component will be in English.

Students of this course can continue their language studies by enrolling in the second block of JA101 "Beginning Japanese" in Block 4. This two-block sequence (JA101 in Blocks 1 & 2 and in Block 4) will fulfill the college's language requirement.

You will also be able to continue practicing your language skills by enrolling in the Japanese language adjunct course – a conversation course that meets once a week.

A set of linked one-block courses that must be taken together, with a single instructor; separate grades will be given for the language portion and the cultural portion of this class.


• This course serves as a gateway to the Asian Studies Major or Minor.  Students may also use one of these courses to fulfill one unit of the Japanese Language Minor.

• In Block 1, The 101 level does not directly count towards the Asian Studies Major or Minor, but is the first step towards the 201 Intermediate level, which is a requirement.

• In Block 2, Japanese Culture, students receive one unit of credit towards the Asian Studies Major.

• There will be some afternoon films and library sessions.

• No prior language experience is expected.   Students who have taken Japanese prior to entering Colorado College or who are heritage speakers will take a placement test before the FYE begins to ensure that the Elementary Japanese language level is appropriate.

• There will be one field trip each block to Denver.