Students will stay in a hotel near Doshisha University, one of Japan’s most distinguished universities. In addition to two courses in linguistics (see below), the program will take advantage of Doshisha’s excellent location to explore several aspects of Japanese history and culture, guided by Doshisha faculty. Kyoto was the capital of Japan and the heart of its cultural life for a millennium, until 1868. Students will visit many important local sites, as well as take excursions to Tokyo and Hiroshima.

One important feature of the seminar is that there will be a group of Doshisha University students, the Doshisha Peers, who will be a part of the program. Together, the two groups will have academic and social events, and the Japanese students will also serve as informal guides to Kyoto and introduce Carleton students to various aspects of Japanese society, as seen by university students.

The program begins with a three-day orientation in Tokyo, intended to introduce students to important aspects of Japanese society.

During the orientation, students will acquire skills for handling day-to-day situations in Japan through learning basic Japanese and Japanese etiquette and developing skills for exploring unknown areas. Students will learn useful phrases for greetings, table manners, and managing Japan’s elaborate subway systems, and how to behave in an izakaya, a popular type of gathering place for college students.

The main academic focus of the seminar is on linguistics. There will be two required courses in this area. One, taught by the director, will be on the linguistics of the Japanese writing system, which is surely one of the most complicated and controversial systems in the world. The second linguistics course will be on the structure of Japanese. It will be taught by Doshisha faculty and will include an examination of several aspects of the language, including phonology, morphology, syntax, and pragmatics. The lone prerequisite for the seminar is at least one course in linguistics.