Japanese Language

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures offers a PhD program in Japanese Language. The department only admits students into the PhD program.

As a rule, students wishing to enter the graduate program should have completed an undergraduate program comparable to the undergraduate major in this department. Students who do not have BA or MA degrees in East Asian Languages and Cultures (or Japanese) or in similar fields can be considered for admission. If admitted, these students are often required to make up deficiencies in their course work. This can result in a lengthening of the normative time to degree (seven years).

The department only admits students into the PhD program. You must indicate that a PhD is your degree goal on the application materials. Students who have not completed an MA degree before beginning study at Berkeley will have to complete the requirements for the MA before proceeding to the PhD program. After completion of the MA requirements (coursework and thesis), students are evaluated for permission to proceed to the PhD portion of the program. Students who have completed an MA degree before beginning study at Berkeley may apply for admission directly to the PhD program. After one year in the PhD program, such students will be evaluated before being permitted to continue in the program.

UC Berkeley graduate students from other disciplines who are considering transferring into the degree program in Japanese language undergo the same faculty review as first-time applicants, however, they do not complete the Graduate Application. Students in this category should contact Graduate Degrees, 302 Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-5900 for a Petition for Change of Major or Degree Goal and the department graduate assistant for a checklist of materials that will need to be submitted.

The length of time needed to complete an advanced degree in the department depends on financial considerations, the extent of the student's earlier preparation, and other factors. Under optimum conditions, the MA can be earned in two years and the PhD in an additional four to five years.

Step by Step. To learn how best to prepare for study at the graduate level in the humanities and the social sciences, current undergraduates may find useful Step by Step, a resource for UC Berkeley students to enrich their undergraduate academic experience and to prepare for graduate school.

Visit Department Website

Admissions

Admission to the University

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant comes from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. If the applicant is admitted, then official transcripts of all college-level work will be required. Official transcripts must be in sealed envelopes as issued by the school(s) attended. If you have attended Berkeley, upload your unofficial transcript with your application for the departmental initial review. If you are admitted, an official transcript with evidence of degree conferral will not be required.
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, not the Graduate Division.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants from countries or political entities in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:
    • courses in English as a Second Language,
    • courses conducted in a language other than English,
    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and
    • courses of a non-academic nature.

If applicants have previously been denied admission to Berkeley on the basis of their English language proficiency, they must submit new test scores that meet the current minimum from one of the standardized tests.

Where to Apply

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page

Admission to the Program

Applications are reviewed and ranked by the entire faculty. The faculty makes its selection on the basis of academic records and on whether or not the applicant's academic goals can be met by the department's programs. Those chosen are recommended to the Graduate Division, which sets the number of students the department can admit, makes a final review of the applications, and issues an official letter of admission to the student. The number of students the department can admit is usually very small and standards for admission are highly competitive.

The graduate application is submitted electronically; the online application becomes available in September for admission effective the following year. See the Graduate Division website for details. All applicants must use the online application.

Transcripts. Applicants will submit unofficial transcripts, GRE scores, and other admissions materials online as part of the application. Admitted students will be required to submit two copies of all official transcripts in envelopes sealed by the issuing institutions at a later date.

Letters of Recommendation. Three letters of recommendation are required. As part of the application you will have to submit the names and contact information for the letter writers. Letters in languages other than English should be translated into English, but the original letter, in the original language, must be included. The department recommends that letters of recommendation come from faculty members who can comment on the applicant's intellectual capacity, analytical skills, ability to write English, and general aptitude for scholarly work. Letters from nonacademic referees are rarely helpful. All letters must be submitted online by the recommenders no later than two weeks after the application deadline to ensure that they are included in the review process.

Academic Writing Sample. A writing sample in English must be included with the online application. The writing sample is intended to gauge an applicant's academic writing ability, and should be a paper that the student feels best represents the quality of his/her work. An ideal writing sample will be around 20 pages on a topic related to East Asian studies, but a paper on another topic or of a different length may be acceptable.

GRE Test Scores. All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Only scores from the past five years are acceptable. Applicants should plan to take the GRE General Exam well before the application deadline. To send an official score to Berkeley be sure to list the institutional code for Berkeley (4833).

Applicants from Abroad. International applicants are urged to examine closely the requirements for certification and translation of records and TOEFL requirements provided in the graduate application and the information on legal residency and fees.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Application to Degree Programs

All prospective graduate students must apply for the PhD program. The department does not offer terminal MA degrees; instead, an MA degree may be earned while progressing toward the PhD.

Normative Time Requirements

Normative Time to Advancement: The total normative time to advancement is five years.
Normative Time in Candidacy: The total time in candidacy is two years.
Total Normative Time: The total normative time of the program is seven years.

PhD Curriculum

Courses Required
EA LANG 200Proseminar: Approaches to East Asian Studies4
Graduate Seminars:
Three (4 units each) in Japanese language field and area electives (8 units) before proceeding to the PhD.
Two graduate seminars and one course (graduate/upper division) outside EALC in cognate discipline after proceeding to the PhD.

Language Requirements

Japanese MA
Fluency in modern Japanese and a year of classical Japanese.

Japanese PhD
Reading competence in a language other than Japanese relevant to the program, chosen in consultation with the primary adviser. Competence will normally be demonstrated by three years of language study at Berkeley or its equivalent (F3.2). (Coursework must be taken for a letter grade.) Native speakers of a language other than English do not automatically fulfill the language requirement; the language must be appropriate to advanced research in the program (F3.2).

MA Requirements

  • EA LANG 200, "Proseminar: Approaches to east Asian Studies" is required, normally in the first year.
  • A minimum of three graduate seminars (four units each) in the Japanese language field in the department will be required, for a letter grade. EA LANG 200 will not count toward the three required seminars. The department also encourages students to take a "Materials and Methods" seminar as part of the MA program.
  • 8 additional units, in consultation with the primary adviser.

All courses required for the degree must be finished by the last day of the semester in which the student expects the degree to be conferred (F2.3).

Students will have the option of taking additional seminars beyond the three required for the MA degree for two units, in which case no seminar paper is required. Each EALC seminar is structured with a 4 unit norm and 2 unit option.

Students who will need to acquire a second language from scratch to satisfy PhD requirements (q.v.) will be advised to begin work on that language as early as possible.

MA Thesis
An MA thesis, usually based on a previous research paper and limited to 50 pages, is required. If the MA thesis involves a translation, the translation may be added as an appendix, which will not count toward the page limit.

Mechanism for Continuation or Termination at the MA Level
A review of graduate students will take place in the middle and at the end of their first year and annually thereafter, and conveyed to the students in writing (E1.8).

At the end of the MA program, a determination will be reached regarding permission to advance to the PhD program.

PhD Requirements

Two graduate seminars for a letter grade in the department are required after completion of the MA, as well as at least one course outside the department in a cognate discipline, also for a letter grade.

Qualifying Examination
The following will be required:

  • Three written examinations on fields within the department.
  • One written examination on a field outside the department.
  • Oral examination.

The purpose of the qualifying examination is to insure that the student possesses adequate breadth and depth of preparation needed to conduct dissertation research and teach. The student will normally choose reading lists in consultation with examiners and then meet regularly to discuss those readings with them. The written examinations will be based on those readings and discussions. The oral examination that follows is not meant to be a separate field of enquiry; instead, it is designed to pursue issues raised in the written segments.

The oral examination will take place one week after completion of the last written examination. It will last three hours and be attended by all four members of the qualifying examination committee. It will be devoted to further investigation of issues raised in the written examinations.

Dissertation Prospectus
The prospectus is defined as a preliminary plan for the dissertation, accompanied by a preliminary bibliography. A document of no more than ten double-spaced pages (excluding the bibliography), it will be written in the semester following the successful completion of the qualifying examination and after the student has advanced to candidacy, and submitted to the primary adviser.

Dissertation
A dissertation is required. Students should meet with their dissertation chairs to decide on appropriate timelines for research abroad and the completion of individual chapters. Students are not required to defend the dissertation once the dissertation committee has decided the dissertation is finished.

Dissertation Colloquium
After the student submits the dissertation, the department may invite him or her to hold a dissertation colloquium on the subject of the dissertation, to be funded by the department.

Courses

Japanese Language

JAPAN C225 Readings in Japanese Buddhist Texts 2 or 4 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2014, Spring 2014
This seminar serves as an introduction to a broad range of Japanese Buddhist literature belonging to different historical periods and genres, including liturgical texts; monastic records, rules, and ritual manuals; doctrinal treatises; biographies of monks; and histories of Buddhism in Japan. Students are required to do all the readings in the original languages, which are classical Chinese
(Kanbun) and classical Japanese. It will also serve as a tools and methods course, covering basic reference works and secondary scholarship in the field of Japanese Buddhism. The content of the course will be adjusted from semester to semester to accommodate the needs and interests of the students.
Readings in Japanese Buddhist Texts: Read More [+]

JAPAN 230 Seminar in Classical Japanese Poetry 2 or 4 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
Topics run from Japan's earliest extant poetic anthologies in Chinese (Kaifuso) or Japanese (Man'yoshu) to medieval linked verse (renga) and Edo haikai.

Seminar in Classical Japanese Poetry: Read More [+]

JAPAN C231 Japanese Studies: Past, Present... and Future? 2 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2015, Spring 2014
Offers an overview of the history and current state of the field in Japanese studies, with faculty presentations, selected readings, and orientation sessions with East Asian Library staff to acquaint participants with relevant resources for research. Requirements will include completion of course readings and preparation of a research prospectus.

Japanese Studies: Past, Present... and Future?: Read More [+]

JAPAN 232 Japanese Bibliography 2 or 4 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2016, Spring 2010, Spring 2006
An introduction to research tools for Japanese studies. The course gives primary consideration to literary sources but also presents an overview of basic texts and web sites dealing with bibliographical citation, lexicography, history, religion, fine arts, geography, personal names, biographies, genealogies, and calendrical calculation. Internet access is required.

Japanese Bibliography: Read More [+]

JAPAN 234 Seminar in Classical Japanese Drama 2 or 4 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2013, Fall 2004, Fall 2002
Topics may include examples from the Noh, Kyogen, Joruri, or Kabuki theaters.

Seminar in Classical Japanese Drama: Read More [+]

JAPAN 240 Seminar in Classical Japanese Texts 2 or 4 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Fall 2017, Fall 2010, Fall 2008
Topics may include works of Heian fiction such as The Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari) and memoirs such as The Pillow Book (Makura no soshi).

Seminar in Classical Japanese Texts: Read More [+]

JAPAN 255 Seminar in Prewar Japanese Literature 2 or 4 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2017, Fall 2016, Spring 2016
Reading and critical evaluation of selected texts in prewar (roughly the 1860s though the 1940s) Japanese literature and literary and cultural criticism. Texts change with each offering of the course.

Seminar in Prewar Japanese Literature: Read More [+]

JAPAN 259 Seminar in Postwar Japanese Literature 2 or 4 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2015, Fall 2014, Spring 2014
Reading and critical evaluation of selected texts in postwar (roughly the 1940s through the present) Japanese literature and literary and cultural criticism. Texts change with each offering of the course.

Seminar in Postwar Japanese Literature: Read More [+]

JAPAN 298 Directed Study for Graduate Students 1 - 8 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Summer 2015 10 Week Session
Special tutorial or seminar on selected topics not covered by available courses or seminars.

Directed Study for Graduate Students: Read More [+]

JAPAN 299 Thesis Preparation and Related Research 1 - 8 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015

Thesis Preparation and Related Research: Read More [+]

JAPAN 601 Individual Study for Master's Students 1 - 8 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
Individual study for the comprehensive or language requirements in consultation with the graduate adviser. Units may not be used to meet either unit or residence requirements for a master's degree.

Individual Study for Master's Students: Read More [+]

JAPAN 602 Individual Study for Doctoral Students 1 - 8 Units

Offered through: East Asian Languages and Cultures
Terms offered: Spring 2016, Fall 2015, Spring 2015
Individual study in consultation with the major field adviser, intended to provide an opportunity for qualified students to prepare for various examinations required of candidates for the Ph.D.

Individual Study for Doctoral Students: Read More [+]

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.

Faculty

Jinsoo An, Assistant Professor.

Robert Ashmore, Associate Professor. China, lyric poetry, Chinese literature, Chinese culture, poetic theory.
Research Profile

Weihong Bao, Assistant Professor.

Mark L. Blum, Professor. Buddhism, Japan, culture and society, modernization.
Research Profile

Mark Csikszentmihalyi, Professor. Early China, Confucianism, Taoism, Daoism, Comparative Religion.
Research Profile

Jacob Dalton, Associate Professor. Religion, ritual, Tibet, Buddhism, Tantra, Dunhuang.
Research Profile

Yoko Hasegawa, Professor. Pragmatics, syntax, east asian languages and cultures, acoustic phonetics, semantics, sociolinguistics of Japanese, cognitive linguistics.
Research Profile

+ H. Mack Horton, Professor. Performativity, east asian languages and cultures, classical poetry, diary literature, cultural context, anthology of vernacular poetry, Man'yoshu, poetry and poetics.
Research Profile

Andrew Jones, Professor. East asian languages and cultures, Chinese popular music, sonic culture, media technology, modern Chinese fiction, children's literature, literary translation.
Research Profile

Youngmin Kwon, Adjunct Professor. Korean literature.
Research Profile

Ling Hon Lam, Assistant Professor.

Daniel C. O'Neill, Associate Professor. Modern Japanese Literature, East Asian Cinema, Global Modernism, visual studies.
Research Profile

Lanchih Po, Associate Adjunct Professor.

Robert Sharf, Professor. East asian languages and cultures, medieval Chinese buddhism, Chan buddhism, Japanese buddhism, Zen buddhism, Tantric buddhism, buddhist art, ritual studies, methodological issues in the study of religion.
Research Profile

Alan Tansman, Professor. Modern Japanese Literature, literary and cultural theory, aesthetics and politics, Comparative Responses to Violence, literary history.
Research Profile

Paula Varsano, Associate Professor. Phenomenology, translation, comparative literature, aesthetics, epistemology, classical Chinese poetry and poetics (3rd-11th centuries), traditional Chinese literary theory.
Research Profile

Sophie Volpp, Associate Professor. East asian languages and cultures, history of performance, gender theory, the history of sexuality, material culture, material objects in late-imperial literature.
Research Profile

Lecturers

Yasuko Konno Baker, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Brian Baumann, Lecturer. Mongolian language.
Research Profile

Weisi Cai, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Yuriko Caltabiano, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Seung-Eun Chang, Lecturer. Korean language.
Research Profile

Damien Donnelly, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Kayoko Imagawa, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Wakae Kambara, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Minsook Kim, Lecturer. Korean language.
Research Profile

Kyung-Ah Kim, Lecturer. Korean language.
Research Profile

Jiyoung Kim, Lecturer. Korean language.
Research Profile

Noriko Knickerbocker, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Kijoo Ko, Lecturer. Korean language.
Research Profile

Yumi Konishi, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Meehyei Lee, Lecturer. Korean language.
Research Profile

Soojin C. Lee, Lecturer. Korean language.
Research Profile

I-Hao Li, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Hsin-yu Lin, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Pei-Ying Lin, Lecturer.
Research Profile

Li Liu, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Sanjyot Mehendale, Lecturer. Near Eastern studies, Central Asia, Central Asian studies, archaeology and art history.
Research Profile

Junghee Park, Lecturer. Korean language.
Research Profile

Jann M. Ronis, Lecturer. Buddhist studies.
Research Profile

Chika Shibahara, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Maki Takata, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Chen-Hui Tsai, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Noriko Komatsu Wallace, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

John R. Wallace, Lecturer. Japanese language.
Research Profile

Xianghua Wu, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Chunhong Xie, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Lihua Zhang, Lecturer. Chinese language.
Research Profile

Emeritus Faculty

Haruo Aoki, Professor Emeritus.

Cyril Birch, Professor Emeritus.

James E. Bosson, Professor Emeritus.

Kun Chang, Professor Emeritus.

Hung-Nin Samuel Cheung, Professor Emeritus. East asian languages and cultures, East Asian studies, vernacular Chinese literature and linguistics.
Research Profile

John C. Jamieson, Professor Emeritus.

Lewis Lancaster, Professor Emeritus. East asian languages and cultures, East Asian studies, east asian buddhism.
Research Profile

Susan Matisoff, Professor Emeritus. Japanese literature, performing arts and folklore.
Research Profile

Jeffrey Riegel, Professor Emeritus. East asian languages and cultures, ancient Chinese poetry and prose, early Chinese thought, Confucian classics, paleography, recently-excavated manuscripts.
Research Profile

Pang-Hsin Ting, Professor Emeritus.

Stephen H. West, Professor Emeritus.

Contact Information

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

3413 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-3480

Fax: 510-642-6031

ealang@berkeley.edu

Visit Department Website

Department Chair

H. Mack Horton, PhD

3407 Dwinelle Hall

hmhorton@berkeley.edu

Director of Graduate Studies

Paula Varsano, PhD

3325 Dwinelle Hall

pvarsano@berkeley.edu

Student Services Adviser

Jan Johnson

3414 Dwinelle Hall

Phone: 510-642-4497

jmj@berkeley.edu

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