Why study Japanese?

  • Knowing the Japanese language will enable you to immerse yourself in the country’s rich culture. Anime, manga, history, martial arts, fashion and entertainment are more enjoyable if you can appreciate them in Japanese. Japanese is also vital in AI/robotics, IT and gaming.
  • Japanese is spoken by 120 million people and is the language of the world’s third largest economy. Opportunities are becoming increasingly available for non-Japanese people to work in Japan. There are also about 1 000 Japanese companies in the UK that offer opportunities to people who know some Japanese.
  • Japanese is the gateway to other East Asian languages. When you know Japanese characters, you can understand a lot of written Chinese and learning Korean will be easy because the grammatical structures of Korean are similar to Japanese.

What we offer in Languages

We offer Japanese at two different routes. You will study two language modules per academic year. As a minor subject, Japanese will serve as an excellent complement to various fields. You will acquire additional employability skills (communication skills, intercultural awareness, resilience, time management, etc.) that will widen your opportunities and enhance your salary prospects.


Japanese language requirement

Beginner – Route A

No prior knowledge or GCSE grade 5 or below

Intermediate – Route B

GCSE grades 6 to 9 or AS grade D or E or equivalent

You will normally be required to study at a level commensurate with your prior knowledge or qualifications. For example, if you have a GCSE grade 6 in Japanese, you cannot choose the beginner route.

If you have an A-level in Japanese or a very high level of proficiency (e.g. you are a native speaker or you have lived in Japan), you are not eligible to study Japanese. In this case, choosing an alternative language would be an excellent option for you.

If you are unsure about your level or eligibility, please contact us at languages@herts.ac.uk and we will be happy to advise.

We may decide to informally assess your level when you arrive and, if appropriate, place you on an alternative route.


Whether you are a complete beginner or looking to build on prior knowledge, you will learn Japanese in a friendly environment. Our modules build confidence in communication from day one. We run a series of lectures, seminars and language lab sessions so that you can practise the reading, listening, writing and speaking skills. You will also gain a greater understanding of Japanese society and culture.

As well as being enjoyable and useful, studying Japanese can prepare you to spend one or two semesters at one of our partner universities in Japan. Students who have taken up this opportunity have found their experience thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening, and that it provided them with a bonus when applying for jobs after graduation.

We look forward to welcoming you!