The Japanese language program at Huron College at the University of Western Ontario is one of the largest Japanese programs in Canada, with over 250 students enrolled at all levels, beginning through advanced. Japanese studies at Huron also offers a range of courses on the culture and society of Japan, as well as exchange opportunities that allow Huron students to study at Japanese universities in Japan.




Huron College
London, Ontario

What's new in Japanese Studies at Huron?
(Updated July 23, 1999)

The Japanese program at Huron has a new coordinator, Dr. Michiya Kawai, who will begin teaching this fall. Prof. Kawai received his Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Connecticut and has taught at both University of Connecticut and Connecticut College, where he also served as chair of the Japanese Department. He is replacing Prof. Martin Holman, who is leaving Huron College to become director of the International Center at Berea College in Kentucky, where he will also be teaching Japanese language, literature, and theatre. Prof. Holman may be reached by e-mail at the following address:

In the 1999-2000 academic year three Huron students and one Western student are scheduled to study at the two universities in Japan with which Huron College has exchange agreements, Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (Kyoto Gaidai) and Kansai Gaidai University They are Adam Goodwin and Matt Lai, who will be studying at Kyoto Gaidai, and Jenn Kennedy and John Macaulay, who will be studying at Kansai Gaidai. Good luck and gambatte ne!

An Overview of Japanese Studies at Huron College

The International and Comparative Studies Program at Huron College offers a full four-year course of study in the Japanese language in one of the largest Japanese language programs in Canada. From beginning through advanced levels, Japanese language courses at Huron College teach all four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Japanese language courses and other Japanese studies courses at Huron College equip students with the linguistic and cultural knowledge of Japan that they will require in such careers as business, law, academics, and others. As a component of the International and Comparative Studies Program at Huron, the study of Japan is enmeshed with studies in other areas that prepare students for a wide variety of careers in the international arena.

Students at Huron College have the opportunity to study in Japan through an exchange agreement with Kansai Gaidai University in Japan. Located in Hirakata City, between the business and industrial centre of Osaka and the ancient capital city of Kyoto, Kansai Gaidai University offers instruction in Japanese language, as well as a full range of courses on Japanese topics taught in English such as history, business, economics, art, literature, religion, theatre, and political science. The program at Kansai Gaidai also provides many opportunities for students outside the classroom: living with a Japanese host family, field trips to cultural and historical sites, study of traditional arts, and visits to Japanese businesses, and others. Credit and grades for courses taken at Kansai Gaidai may be counted toward graduation requirement at Huron.

Huron College has also recently signed an exchange agreement with Kyoto University of Foreign Studies (Kyoto Gaidai), which is located in the city of Kyoto. More information on the Kyoto Gaidai exchange will be posted soon.  Exchange programs are also being developed with other universities in Japan to provide a greater range of  opportunities for students of Japanese at Huron College.

Also, there is ample opportunity for students at Huron to interact with Japanese students from Kansai Gaidai who are studying at Huron and other Japanese students in London, both informally and through the activities of the Canadian Japanese Student Association (an organization for students interested in Japan), the Japanese Speaking Club, and the InterCultural Club at Huron.

Courses offered at Huron College:

(Some course titles are linked to more detailed information.)

Japanese Language

For students with little or no background in Japanese language. Introduces the fundamentals of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Students develop a functional knowledge of the structures of spoken and written Japanese, master the phonetic writing system, and begin the study of Chinese characters as they are used to write Japanese. Beginning Japanese also acquaints students with patterns of Japanese social custom and other cultural phenomena as they pertain to the language use.
  Builds on the fundamentals covered in Beginning Japanese to develop students' skills in spoken and written expression, comprehension of authentic materials, and knowledge of Japanese culture. The course emphasizes the acquisition of communication strategies effective in Japanese contexts.
  Develops spoken language as well as reading and writing ability. The course refines and integrates skills acquired in Intermediate Japanese to allow students to handle more complex oral communications and comprehend more advance readings on Japanese society with the goal of culturally-sensitive communication.
  Integrates further the skills covered in Advanced Japanese. The course emphasizes the refinement of comprehension and expression skills in oral and written Japanese and expansion of knowledge of Japanese culture through reading, classroom discussion, and analysis of works of literature, newspapers and magazine articles, and other significant materials. The course is designed to prepare students to use Japanese effectively in academic, business, and other settings.
  This course is designed to cover topics in Japanese at levels or in areas not covered by regularly offered courses. Content of the course is determined in consulation with the sponsoring faculty member.

Japanese and East Asian Culture and Society

An examination of modern Japanese society through literature, with particularly emphasis on the development of the novel and short story. From the time of Japan's opening to the West in the latter half of the ninteenthcentury to the present, Japanese society has undergone great transformations that are manifested in literature. From early experimentation with forms borrowed from Western literature through the struggle of writers working under the threat of censorship during military buildup preceding the Pacific War to the diverse, often ambivalent reactions of writers to Japan's rapid post-War economic development, the short stories and novels of the twentieth century, in both their content and their narrative structure, offer a window on the range of voices in Japanese society. No knowledge of Japanese is required. All readings are in English.

   Huron College also offers a full series of Chinese language courses.

Courses offered at the University of Western Ontario and Affiliated Colleges: (All are open to Huron College students)

Faculty in Japanese:

Dr. Michiya Kawai, Coordinator

Natsuko Wilson

Keiko Hiro-oka

For more information about Japanese at Huron College please contact

Dr. Michiya Kawai
International and Comparative Studies
Huron College
1349 Western Road
London, Ontario N6G 1H3


Telephone: (519) 438-7224 ext 330            Fax: (519) 438-3938

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