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Thread: Asian/Oriental Studies - Japanese Studies

  1. #1
    Nebiki's Avatar The Wonderer
    Join Date: Jun 27, 2005
    Location: Scotland
    Posts: 29

    Asian/Oriental Studies - Japanese Studies

    Tokyo International Party

    Sorry if this is the incorrect place to post this but I am new so please try and forgive me.
    I am thinking of taking Japanese Studies under the Asian/ Oriental Strudies department at any particular university that I am granted access to.
    If I did choose to make such a decision I would most likely be specialising in the Japanese language with a BA.
    I was wondering if anybody had done a smilar thing and whether it payed off in terms of employment prospects and opportunities in Japan.
    Even if you took Korean or Chinese studies I would be appreciative to hear from you.
    Once again sorry if this is in the wrong forum

  2. #2
    GaijinPunch's Avatar 遠いから行きません Male
    Join Date: Nov 25, 2004
    Location: Tokyo
    Posts: 1,205
    I got a Japanese major and the required Asian Studies minor. In all honesty, it didn't really help me get a job. Keep in mind I graduated, moved to Japan, taught for a year and a half, then realized what I wanted to do (IT) and went from there. If you live in Japan, speaking the langauge obviously helps your job prospects, but I've always felt like Japanese is a complementary skill.


  3. #3
    Kinsao's Avatar
    Horizon Rider Female
    Join Date: May 8, 2005
    Location: England
    Posts: 8,321
    UK - England
    I would imagine, though, that it would be really difficult to get a job in Japan if you didn't speak Japanese (unless you were specifically employed as gaijin host/ess)?

  4. #4
    Emoni's Avatar My dirty underwear 900¥!! Male
    Join Date: Sep 20, 2003
    Location: Tokyo
    Posts: 1,762
    Asian/Oriental studies tends to focus on teaching types of jobs from what I have seen. However, there are business routes that exist they are just harder to find from what I hear.
    "Been there, done that, came back, going again."

  5. #5
    lexico's Avatar Male
    Join Date: Dec 22, 2004
    Location: Sunny South Korea
    Posts: 2,335
    South Korea
    Some things I've heard in the School of Oriental Languages an Literatures:

    Q: If I took a single major in one language and literature, and I work real hard at it, will it give me a stable job ?
    A: (from one of the TA's) This is a competitive field; nothing guarantees anything.

    Q: Why are you taking a double major ?
    A: (from one of the students) A degree in language really doesn't mean much because there are so many native speakers. That's why I'm doing double major.

    I guess the general message boils down to: If you are willing to stay in an academic career (research & teaching) for the rest of your life then no problem. But if you're going out there for an employment in the real world, you might want to have at least one practical skill/field of expertise besides language & literature. (If you like teaching English to Japanese students, a degree in EFL/TEFL might give you more choices, but Japanese wouldn't even be necessary.) I hope that helped.

  6. #6
    lonesoullost3's Avatar Economist in Residence Male
    Join Date: Jul 1, 2005
    Location: Chofu
    Posts: 200
    I'm double majoring in Economics and Asian Studies (focusing on Korea and Japan). Everyone tells me I should focus on China - the whole new market thing . But for me, I'm focusing on Japan because that's what I'm passionate about. I say learn what you want to learn. I used to be in engineering - and as much as I like science and I'm fascinated by flight (I was in aeronautical) I decided that engineering wasn't for me. I absolutely love my majors because I get to study what I'm passionate about - and I think that's the only way to go. I've always been one who doesn't care how much money I earn in the end as long as I'm loving what I'm doing. I want to do the JET program when I graduate, and I wouldn't be surprised if I find that I absolutely love teaching English to kids and try and find a permanent job in Japan doing so.

    As far as getting a job in a business corporation in Japan, you'll have to have a very good degree of fluency. There are tests that the foreign ministry gives out to test your fluency in Japanese. I can't remember which grade you must receive, but to have any chance at all you need to be at least at the 2nd best level. Cornell has the FALCON Program (Full-year Asian Language CONcentration) which is a program for either Japanese or Mandarin. It goes a full year (obviously ) 8hrs/day, 5 dys/week in complete immersion in Japanese/Mandarin with lectures in English explaining grammar and such inbetween sections. It's one of the best language programs for Japanese or Mandarin in the world. I've spoken with the director a lot because I really want to do it (though I don't think I can do it during my stay at Cornell...I'd have to graduate in 5 years and chuck in another $40,000....). He says that he's only had very few people come out of the program with Japanese good enough to warrant a job in a Japanese company. But when they did get jobs it was with financial companies - quite a job indeed ^_^. My bottom line is - study what you love, you'll thank yourself later for it (and I'm only going to be 2nd year next year). I hope this helps ^_^.
    Create Possibilities.

  7. #7
    Mike Cash's Avatar
    Delusions of Adequacy Male
    Join Date: Mar 15, 2002
    Location: Japan
    Posts: 9,769
    Quote Originally Posted by lexico
    Some things I've heard in the School of Oriental Languages an Literatures:

    Q: Why are you taking a double major ?
    A: (from one of the students) A degree in language really doesn't mean much because there are so many native speakers. That's why I'm doing double major.
    In other words....For the Japanese workers in the Japanese work environment, Japanese ability is a given. They bring some other marketable skill with them, or they wouldn't get hired. The foreigner who expects to move into that environment had better bring marketable job skills too.

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