With over 1600 enrollments each year, the Japanese language program in the Department of Asian Studies at UBC is the largest such program in North America.


Our program, which comprises a diverse student body from Canada and many other countries, including new learners, learners with prior knowledge of Japanese, and heritage learners, provides students at all levels a friendly environment in which to learn Japanese and cross-cultural communication. Our courses focus on communicative competencies with an emphasis on developing reading, writing, listening and speaking skills for active use of language in real-life situations, while also raising awareness of the sociolinguistic and cultural differences between Japanese and other languages.

In addition to the core language skills, students at more advanced levels study Japanese historical, cultural and social topics in order to gain a better understanding of the country while reflecting on and evaluating their own culture for genuine cultural understanding.

Placement Tests

All incoming students who wish to take any Japanese (JAPN) course are required to complete an online placement questionnaire to obtain a placement approval for registration, unless you are one of the following:

  • A continuing UBC student who has successfully completed a Japanese prerequisite course
  • A transfer student from a post-secondary institution with Japanese language transfer credits
  • A new student that has studied Japanese in high school
  • A new student with no prior Japanese language background

Once you’ve completed the online placement questionnaire, you will receive one of two possible next-steps:

1) If you receive a certificate for a specific course, you don’t need to attend the interview. You can register for the course at any time.

2) You will be asked to attend an in-person placement interview to determine your appropriate course level. You must attend your interview before the first day of class.

First complete the online portion of the placement test (link here). No appointment is necessary to attend the advising session. Inquiry: JAPN.placement@ubc.ca

Japanese Test For Language Exemption (UBC Faculty of Arts only)

Date Time Location
Friday, September 9, 2022 3pm-5pm BUCH B306
Monday, September 12, 2022 3pm-5pm BUCH B304

For all questions specifically for Japanese courses (JAPN) please email Ms. Ihhwa Kim directly at ihhwa.kim@ubc.ca.

Emails should include your full name and student number in the title. If your inquiry is about a certain course, add the course code in the title as well. You may experience delays if the email title convention is not followed.

Please allow between 2 -5 business days before sending in another email with the same inquiry.

Students in one of the following categories are recommended to register for the following courses:

UBC Continuing Students

Students who have successfully completed a modern Japanese language course should proceed with the next level course(s). We strongly recommend taking the following pairs of courses consecutively in the same academic year:

JAPN 160/260, JAPN 100/101, JAPN 200/201, JAPN 360/361, JAPN 320/321, JAPN 322/323, JAPN 400/401.

Transfer students with Japanese language transfer credits

Based on your qualified transfer credits, enroll in the next level. Please bring a record of UBC transfer credits and your transcript for the first day of class.

New students who have studied Japanese in high school

If you have taken Japanese 9, 10 and/or introductory 11 in secondary school (in BC), please register for either JAPN 100/JAPN101 (we recommend you take both courses as a pair) or JAPN160.

If you have taken Japanese 11 in secondary school (in BC), please register for JAPN101.

If you have taken Japanese 12 in secondary school (in BC), please register for JAPN200/JAPN201 (we recommend you take both courses as a pair) or JAPN260.

New students with no prior Japanese language background

Enroll in one of our two streams of beginner courses:

Intensive: JAPN160/ JAPN260

Non-Intensive: JAPN100/JAPN101