American and Japanese students in a field of flowers. Image courtesy of George Northen.

When you study Japanese you are not just learning new characters or words. You will explore a country with an ancient and rich culture that has one of the largest economies in the world. Japan is a center of technological and cultural innovation, and Japanese speakers are the Internet’s third largest language group. Need other reasons?

Here are a few:

  • Japanese cultural exports are exploding — anime and manga, Nintendo games, karaoke, bonsai, and origami have universal appeal around the world.
  • The Japanese are innovators and are known as high tech leaders.
  • Speaking Japanese can enhance your future career and business opportunities, and it will set you apart from the crowd.
  • Japan is a gateway to other Asian cultures, and Japanese is a stepping stone to learning other Asian languages.
  • Japan is an ideal study abroad destination. It is one of the safest countries in the world and there are many academic opportunities for UAB students.

When you study Japanese you will be exposed to multiple perspectives and learn how to effectively relate to people different from yourself.

Why Study at UAB?

At UAB our emphasis is on communication. That means that instead of just learning grammar rules and vocabulary lists, you will learn to use Japanese as a tool of communication — communicating with other students, with your instructors, and with other Japanese speakers both locally and in Japan. At UAB, learning Japanese helps to bridge the linguistic and cultural gap between Japan and the US, and you will find many opportunities to be that bridge.

Messages from Alumni

John SaddekniAlumni Spotlight - John Saddekni Zach KovakasAlumni Spotlight - Zach Kovakas
Video Message - John Saddekni

"A little culture" in Japanese script.  — A Little Culture

Toshinan at the Japanese Gardens. The Japanese gardens at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens stand out among such gardens outside of Japan, so much so that the Japanese government has designated it a Japanese Cultural Center. The Garden's teahouse is called Tōshin'an, written with the Chinese characters for “light” (tō), “heart” (shin), and “retreat” (an), meaning “the retreat for lighting understanding in each other’s hearts.” It was built by famed master miyadaiko (temple and shrine builder) Kazunori Tago from Maebashi, an official Japanese friendship city of Birmingham. Image courtesy of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.