Asian Studies

Undergraduate study | Japanese

Learn the Japanese language and explore Japan's place in East Asia, including its relations with China and Korea.

Why study Japanese in Edinburgh?

Over the past 150 years, Japan has experienced change at breakneck pace but has nevertheless retained its fascinating cultural heritage.

Study with us and you will develop the linguistic and analytical skills to engage critically, and in a truly interdisciplinary way, with this dynamic society.

Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer undergraduate honours programmes in Japanese. It is also one of the few in the UK with integrated course offerings in China and Korea. This enables you to learn about Japan's place in East Asia - one of the world's most important and influential regions.

All our four-year honours programmes include a year abroad studying in Japan.

No prior knowledge required

We specialise in teaching students with little or no prior knowledge of Japanese. 

Helping you bridge the gap between school and university learning, we introduce skills and knowledge step-by-step, encouraging you to see the connections between language, history, politics, culture and international relations.

Classes are active, inclusive, and always informed by the best practice in the field. We have received Edinburgh University Students' Association awards for innovative teaching, use of student feedback, and overall course excellence.

Our final year students regularly pass the Japanese Language Proficiency Test at N2 and N1 level.

On campus and in the city

You will study in the heart of a world-leading festival city filled with cinemas, theatres, galleries, libraries and collections. These include the University’s East Asian Studies Collection, of which over 5,000 holdings are in Japanese.

There's lots going on in our tightly-knit community, from our Japanese Studies Peer Support Group to film screenings and an Anime Society. We organise performances and workshops with visiting Noh masters and a regular Asian Studies seminar series featuring visiting speakers from around the world.

Discover more about resources and facilities in Asian Studies

Studying Japanese at the University of Edinburgh is so rewarding. Even though I already had a keen interest in Japanese culture, there is always more to learn. The teachers and lecturers are all very down-to-earth people so, even though learning the language can be challenging, they are always there to support you through it and help you reach your potential.

Gavin, Year 3, Japanese MA (Hons)

Get to know us better

QS World Rankings by Subject 2022

Rocket graphic with 3 UK and World Top 10 in bubbles

The University of Edinburgh is ranked 3rd in the UK for Modern Languages.

We are also 3rd in the UK in the broad subject area of Arts & Humanities.

Globally, we’re in the World Top 10 for Arts & Humanities (9) and Modern Languages (10).

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings are based on the results of major global surveys of employers and academics, along with research citations.

They are International Ranking Expert Group (IREG) approved.

The Complete University Guide 

The University of Edinburgh is ranked fourth for Asian Studies in The Complete University Guide  - Subject League Table 2022.

The Complete University Guide ranks the best 130 universities in the UK in 74 subject areas. 

Other ways to learn Japanese at Edinburgh

Graphic for languages as an outside subject

If you're not on one of our degree programmes, you can still learn Japanese with us!

As an undergraduate student of most subjects at the University of Edinburgh, you can take Japanese as an outside subject in one or both of Years 1 and 2 of your programme, depending on your timetable.

Find out more about outside subjects 

Japanese is also available to all students (undergraduate and postgraduate) as an Open Language Course and - through the Centre for Open Learning - as a Short Course, with options for complete beginners.

Browse Open Language Courses