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First year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester (Fall semester)

Introduction to Asian Studies 5
Thesis & Methods Classes 5

Advanced Japanese Language

Advanced Reading & Writing in Japanese 1 (120 EC) 10

Elective (select 10EC):

Sociology of Japan 10
Nation, State and Security in Post-war Japanese Political Thought 10
Topical Readings in Classical Japanese 10
Material Culture, Memory and Commemoration along the Silk Roads in Central Asia 10
The Politics of Digital East Asia 10

Second semester (Spring semester)

Advanced reading & writing in Japanese 2 (120 EC) 5

Elective (select 10EC):

Crime and Criminal Justice: East Asian Perspectives 10
Image/Text in Pre-modern Japan 10
Democratizing Histories 5
Democratizing Histories 10
From Buddhānusmṛti to Nembutsu: A History of Buddha Contemplation across Asia 5
Academic Year in Japan A 15

Second year

Course EC Semester 1 Semester 2

First semester (Fall semester)

Academic Year in Japan B 25
Thesis Tutorial 1 5

Second semester (Spring semester)

Academic Year in Japan C 5
Thesis Tutorial 2 5
Advanced Reading & Writing in Japanese 3 (120 EC) 5
MA Thesis Asian Studies (120 EC) 15

more info on year in Japan

All students in the Japan 120 track will spend a year in Japan at one of Leiden’s partner universities.
The Japan year in our programme follows the normal Japanese University year, and runs from early April in the students first year of enrollment – after the first semester and the first period of the 2nd semester – to late March the next year. The last period of the 2nd semester of the 2nd year is again spent in Leiden writing the MA final thesis and taking the highest level of Advanced Language Training.

Currently, Leiden’s partner universities in Japan include: Doshisha University, Keio University, Kobe University, Kyoto University, Kyushu University, Meiji University, Nagasaki University, Rikkyo University, Ritsumeikan University, Sophia University, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, University of Tokyo, Waseda University and Yamagata University. The number of places available varies by year and placement is based on availability and students’ interests. Here you can find more information on the selection process. Students will be assigned to one of the partner universities in early September of their first year, and prepare for departure in March the following year.

During their stay in Japan, students will enroll at the partner university as full-time students. Courses normally include Japanese language as well as content courses of their choice of level 400 or 500. The type of courses available vary by university and program, but always include language courses as well as courses on specific disciplinary topics or Japanese society, culture, and history.

As one of the primary goals of the Japan stay is to improve Japanese language skills, students are required to earn 30 ECTS (or 15 tan’i) in Japanese language courses or other (content) courses taught in Japanese. Students should specify which courses they intend to follow during their stay in Japan, using the form of the Japanese Language Acquisition Plan. The form is due to the Examinations Committee on June 1 (semester 1) and October 1 (semester II). Students may also submit a plan for the entire year on June 1.

During their stay in Japan, students are also expected to complete research and writing for their MA thesis in form of Thesis Tutorials, and regularly report on their progress in form of Thesis Tutorial I and Thesis Tutorial II. The stay in Japan offers a unique opportunity to access Japanese academic literature and primary sources on the topic of interest, and conduct research for their thesis. Students will conduct their research in Japan in consultation with their thesis advisor (who will be assigned in October of their first year); the nature of research and research activities varies by field and topic.