The field of Japanology at UGent comprises the scientific study of the Japanese language and culture and aims to train people capable of understanding and explaining complex structures within Japanese society.


The Japanology programme consists of a Bachelor’s and a Master’s programme, in addition, you will choose from a number of recommended minors that expand the field of study. More information about the programme can be found in the study guides:


The primary languages of this programme are Modern Japanese and Classical Japanese (Bungo) with an emphasis on the study of Modern Japanese.

Although the Ghent programme in Japanology is not a training programme for translator-interpreters, a thorough knowledge of the Japanese language is essential. Throughout the entire programme, much attention is paid to language acquisition. Students learn the basic grammar of standard Japanese (hyōjungo) and the three writing systems used: hiragana, katakana and Chinese characters (kanji). In the third year, the language knowledge is further deepened and students are introduced to the main forms of modern written Japanese. Attention is paid to the reading of Japanese newspapers, scientific articles and literature.

Another objective is to perfect conversational and listening skills. Students are encouraged to speak Japanese as much as possible during class. MA 2 students prepare for successful participation in the official language proficiency examination, the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (Nihongo nôryoku shiken).

In addition, the study of classical Japanese is also covered. In the Bungo courses, the history and structure of the Japanese language and the Japanese writing system are discussed. In the practical exercises, attention is paid to similarities and differences between so-called classic (bungo) and modern Japanese (kougo). Classical Japanese courses aim to sharpen grammatical and linguistic expertise.

It is possible to choose extra languages during the course (e.g. Korean or Chinese).

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Besides the language education component, the programme also includes the Area Studies component: literature, history, society and philosophy are all covered.

The students are introduced to a number of other aspects of Japanese culture: attention is paid not only to modern history but also to classical history since this knowledge is necessary to explain modern trends and developments, a society can only be understood on the grounds of its history after all. Throughout the programme, an overview of the main Japanese literature, a thorough study of Japanese society and religious and philosophical background are provided. Students are also introduced to the main tools of Japanology and, by means of papers, are taught how to independently collect material for scientific research.


You can choose from a number of recommended minors, which add a work-oriented profile to your track. Deviation from this limited list of minors can only be allowed in very exceptional cases, after positive advice from the chairman of the Curriculum Committee following a thoroughly substantiated written request. The minor is chosen in the second bachelor’s and continued in the third BA and the masters.

  • Minor Modern Chinees
  • Minor Klassiek Chinees
  • Minor Society and Diversity
  • Minor Political and social sciences
  • Minor Economics and business studies
  • Minor Education


The internship component is part of the Master’s programme with the objective of acquiring initial pre-professional experience in a practical context. The student does an internship at home and/or abroad and, on the basis of a previously defined package of tasks, is involved in the daily operations of an internship partner of his/her choice. The tasks are determined in consultation with the internship partner and are related to the specific competencies of the students.

Study in Japan

We expect a high amount of self-study from the students and it goes without saying that a study stay in Japan contributes to the acquisition of a thorough knowledge of Japanese. So it is recommended that the students take part in international exchange.

Students of the Japanese Language and Culture department can study as exchange students at one of our partner universities in Japan and/or Korea for one semester in the sixth semester of BA3 and then for one or two semesters during the Master.