Faculty of Arts


Classical Language and Culture


This course introduces classical Japanese language (known as kobun or bungo) by examining the classical grammatical forms and their use in a range of texts from different eras. While Classical Japanese is no longer spoken, it is still alive in the language of today, especially in more formal situations.

Learning the classical language opens the door not only to better literacy in modern Japanese, but also to a whole world of Japanese history and culture. This course provides a basic introduction to classical Japanese grammar, and an exploration of the historical and cultural backgrounds of a number of texts.

By the end of this course you should be familiar with aspects of classical grammar including the ability to identify parts of speech, and be able to conjugate verbs and adjectives in their classical forms. You will recognise the basic vocabulary used in the premodern texts, understand the historical spelling conventions and be able to pronounce texts written in premodern orthography.

You will also have a knowledge of aspects of the historical and cultural contexts for the texts, with themes including Buddhist thought and attitudes, the usage of the lunisolar calendar and various literary devices and genres.


Coursework + exam

Availability 2021

Not offered in 2021; planned for 2022


Coordinator(s) Dr Ellen Nakamura


Coursework + exam


JAPANESE 307: 15.0 points


45 points at Stage II in Japanese


JAPANESE 331 or 332

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