Studying Japanese at Drake University is rewarding and productive from the very first day of class. Regardless of the level of study, students work with a native speaker of Japanese and no more than three classmates and use Japanese exclusively to communicate things that are truly meaningful, i.e., not the mindless filler materials found in many current textbooks.  

Through the standard sequence of courses (001, 002, 051, 052, 140, 150), students expand their competencies beyond the initial emphasis on speaking in order to develop skills in listening, writing, and reading.

In each Japanese course, as in every language course in the program, students produce an individual electronic portfolio that normally consists of recordings students make of their own voices following a provided model, samples of videos students make of themselves, writing samples, clips from examinations, etc. This record allows professors and the students themselves to track progress both within a given semester and over several semesters. Students can also use the ePortfolios after graduation to demonstrate to potential employers or graduate schools their ability to function in Japanese.

Culture is not, of course, neglected in these courses. The faculty of World Languages and Cultures is well aware that culture is embedded in every language. The study of culture is additionally enhanced through the use of weblogs that focus the students attention on many important topical, historical, and useful themes. The blogs are utilized in both English and Japanese, depending on the students level of proficiency with the language.

The World Languages and Cultures Japanese program sponsors Japanese cultural learning activities, such as origami workshops, calligraphy workshops and karaoke night every semester for students of Japanese and Japanese speakers in the surrounding community.  One recent karaoke event was featured in a Des Moines Register article with some of our students being interviewed about their interest in perfoming karaoke and learning Japanese. 


We are also happy to announce that as of Fall 2010, Japanese 002 and 052 are available to count toward students requirements for the Areas of Inquiry in the category of International and Multicultural!  Students are able to take language courses to fulfill these university-wide requirements toward graduation. 



Faculty Contact Information

Chinatsu Sazawa
Email: chinatsu.sazawa@drake.edu
Office: 214 Meredith Hall
AIM chinatsusazawa        


Courses Offered

JAPN 001 - Beginning Japanese I

 JAPN 002 - Beginning Japanese II

JAPN 051 - Intermediate Japanese I

JAPN 052 - Intermediate Japanese II

JAPN 140 - Practical Speaking and Writing

JAPN 150 - Japanese Language and Culture

JAPN 160- Japanese Language and Literature