The study of Japanese at Waikato involves the acquisition of Japanese language and the study of the history and culture of Japan.
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Why study Japanese?

Japan's 2000 year old civilisation boasts such achievements as the world's first novel and other rich contributions to the fine arts. Japan ("Nihon" – the Land of the Rising Sun) was the first Asian country to modernise, rivalling the West just forty years after making the decision to do so. It made remarkable recovery after World War II and has developed into one of the world's dominant economic forces. While this growth has been driven largely by the Japanese capacity for technological development, Japan is increasingly influential in international politics and the arts.

Japan is a major trading partner of New Zealand and there is a large Japanese business community here. New Zealand is a popular Japanese tourist destination and many of our more advanced students have been able to get holiday jobs tour-guiding. Studying Japan's fascinating culture and language continues to provide a valuable basis for a career and a stimulating insight into an important Asian country.

Career Opportunities

  • Diplomat
  • Hospitality Operator
  • International Lawyer
  • Tour Guide
  • Translator or Interpreter
  • Travel Agent


Enrolment into the PGCert, PGDip, BA(Hons) and MA in Japanese will be suspended from 2022.

At undergraduate (Bachelors) level, a Japanese specialisation is offered through a major in International Languages and Cultures.

Scholarships and prizes

Visit our Scholarship Finder for information about possible scholarships

Subject Requirements

Japanese is available as a specialisation within the International Languages and Cultures major for the BA and the BGS, and as a supporting subject within other undergraduate degrees, or as a minor in any other degree, subject to academic approval of the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology, and Social Sciences in which the student is enrolled.

The aim of the specialisation is to provide students with an element of linguistic and cultural competence that better equips them for the professional and personal challenges of a globalised environment; as well as to encourage the study of languages.

International Languages and Cultures major with a specialisation in Japanese

International Languages and Cultures is available as a major for the BA and the BGS, and may also be taken as a second major or as a supporting subject within other undergraduate degrees. A major in International Languages and Cultures with a specialisation in Japanese requires a total of 135 points and students must complete  JAPAN131, JAPAN231, JAPAN232, JAPAN331 and JAPAN332.

For more information about subject requirements please refer to the Catalogue of Papers for the most up to date information.

Japanese in other majors

A minor, or specialisation in other majors requires 60 points above 100 level in Japanese, students must complete JAPAN231, JAPAN232 and JAPAN331. Within the BSc and BSc(Tech) a specialisation in Science International in Japanese is available.


The point of entry into the Japanese programme depends on previous experience. Students with little or no previous experience will start with JAPAN131. Students with 14 credits in NCEA Level 3 Japanese, or good results in NCEA Level 2 Japanese should start from JAPAN231. Students who are uncertain about where to start should contact the Convenor of Japanese.

If you have any questions and need more advice contact one of our friendly student advisors phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4080 or email: alpss@waikato.ac.nz

Please note: For all graduate subject requirements check the information provided in the papers section above.

Japanese papers

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