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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



Introduction to Japanese Studies at Cambridge

Japanese is a complex and fascinating language, which allows you to access and fully comprehend the rich culture of a country that plays a considerable role in the international community and that constitutes the world’s third-largest economy.

Our courses offer you the opportunity to learn this language to an advanced level, alongside in-depth understanding of Japan: its history, its culture and its society within the wider region of East Asia.

We also encourage the development of transferrable skills, including the development of​ critical thinking and a variety of written and oral communication skills.

Japanese Studies YouTube Channel


What do you think of when you think about the Samurai? A loyal warrior, bound by a strict code of honour (bushido), armed with the famous katana or Samurai sword? Would it surprise you to learn that the original Samurai were ambitious mercenaries, whose loyalties could shift based on who paid the most and who would sometimes carry out atrocious acts at the orders of their masters? As mounted soldiers, their weapon of choice was the bow and arrows, not the sword. In fact, the myth of the noble samurai was invented in the 17th century, as a PR exercise at a point when their power was starting to wane. A degree in East Asian studies is about far more than learning a language. It's an opportunity to challenge your perceptions and extend your understanding of fascinating cultures.