College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Japanese Studies Program


NOTE: The Japanese Studies program is scheduled to be discontinued in five years. Students who currently have declared their major in the Japanese Studies program must graduate by May, 2019. No new students will be admitted to the Japanese Studies program. The courses will be offered according to the Catalog schedule. See your program adviser. The program advisers are listed in this Catalog.


What is Japanese Studies?

Japanese Studies is the study of all aspects of Japanese culture, including Japanese language, history, music, religion, philosophy, business ethics, and even tourism. One of the fascinating things about Japanese culture is its extreme syncretism or absorbing and blending of other cultures. Thus, the Japanese written language is heavily influenced by Chinese writing forms with numerous European loan words. For example, Japanese orthography is heavily influenced by Chinese characters. Thousands of characters, known as kanji , are even taken straight from Chinese. Also, Japanese has its own characters, know as katakana , which are employed solely to express numerous European loan words. The same is true for Japanese social ethics, which stress hierarchical familial and social relations. This system is heavily influenced by Chinese Confucianism and its views about the importance of family ties, respect of elders, duties, and obligations. Likewise, Japanese religion and philosophy are a fascinating blend of Indian thought, Chinese Taoism and Buddhism, Western philosophy, and their own indigenous Shinto religion.

Despite this absorption of other cultural ideas, the Japanese have managed to produce their own cultural expressions, each of which displays the well-known Japanese concern for aesthetic quality and natural beauty. The Japanese garden, flower arranging, Zen temples, the tea ceremony, origami, haiku poetry , and No and Kabuki theatre, are but a few of these better known cultural expressions.

In addition, Japan has one of the most important export economies of recent times. This grew out of Japan 's role in the Second World War. Here Japan invaded and occupied most of East Asia and much of the Pacific while attacking the United States . This led to a massive war and finally to Japan's defeat in 1945. From this moment of total economic collapse Japan has steadily risen to the point where, now, high quality Japanese cars, cameras, computers, and numerous other technologies are purchased worldwide in large quantities. This has given Japan an economic presence on the world stage that only a handful of other nations have achieved.


Japanese Studies at the University of Guam

The Japanese Studies Program offers basic knowledge for understanding of and interaction with the people of Japan . To this end the University of Guam is ideally located. Being a major tourist destination for the Japanese, Guam attracts one and a half million Japanese tourists per year. This means that the Japanese language and Japanese culture are readily heard and seen on the streets, beaches, and tourist centres of Guam This gives the University of Guam student of Japanese studies numerous possibilities to interact with Japanese visitors and to observe and participate in their culture.

Also, because Japan is only three to four hours away by air, those taking Japanese studies at the University of Guam have the excellent opportunity to visit Japan , practice their language skills, and explore Japanese culture first hand. Students enrolled in the program study the language, history, politics, culture, philosophy, and other aspects of Japan . This involves acquiring a special knowledge and appreciation of the relations of Japan with other countries of the Pacific basin. Students in the program will also be encouraged to attend, when possible, courses taught in Japan



Degree Program Requirements


Dr. Yuka Iwata
Associate Professor of Japanese
PhD, University of Mississippi


Dr. Toyoko Kang
Professor of Japanese
PhD, University of Texas at Austin


Dr. Masumi Kai
Associate Professor of Japanese
PhD, Osaka University of Foreign Studies
go to Masumi Kai's Page


For further information on Japanese Studies contact

Dr. Masumi Kai
Japanese Studies
College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
University of Guam
UOG Station
Mangilao, Guam 96923
Telephone: (671) 735-2814
Fax: (671) 734-7930

Or contact the Division of Humanities

Secretary Julie Cruz
Telephone: (671) 735-2800