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Japanese Studies

60 faculty and professional staff teach Japan-focused courses at Columbia University.

Undergraduate Studies

  • A major in East Asian Studies with a focus on Japanese language is offered by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Students choose an Asian language focus, as well as a disciplinary specialty in: history; literature; art history, philosophy, and religion; anthropology and sociology; or political science and economics. Students must also complete a senior thesis research paper.
  • A concentration in East Asian Studies is also available, with either no language focus or no senior thesis requirement.
  • Early admission to the Master's Degree program for a five year, combined B.A. and M.A. program is also available.
  • Study abroad opportunities are available for both undergraduate and graduate students through several programs managed by the department. For more information, please visit the Study Abroad webpage.
  • For admissions information to the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, please visit the Admissions webpage.

Graduate Studies

  • The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures offers a M.A. and Ph.D. in East Asian Studies, as well as the M.A. in Japanese Pedagogy.
  • The Center for Japanese Legal Studies offers a J.D., J.S.D., and LL.M. with a concentration on Japanese law.
  • The Weatherhead East Asian Institute offers the M.A. in Regional Studies—East Asia with a focus on Japan, a certificate program for knowledge of modern Japan, and the INTERACT Postdoctoral fellowship.
  • Application to graduate studies are processed through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For more information, please visit their Admissions webpage.

Other Departments

  • Other departments that offer Japan-focused courses include anthropology, architecture, art & humanities, art history, economics, history, language & literature, political science, religion, and sociology.
  • The majority of these courses are offered in the Department of Language and Literature and the various art departments.

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Institution: Columbia University
Founded: 1754
Type: private university
Location: New York, NY

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About Columbia University:

Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King's College by King George II of England, and was renamed as Columbia in 1784.

The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures dates back to 1901. The Japanese library collection began in 1929 with contributions from the Japanese Imperial Household and Baron Iwasaki of Mitsubishi. Japanese studies were incorporated into the East Asian Languages and Cultures department in 1938.

Other Programs and Collections of Interest

The Weatherhead East Asian Institute, founded in 1949, acts to support modern and contemporary research, studies, and publication covering China, Japan, and other East and Southeast Asian countries.

Established in 1986, the Center on Japanese Economy and Business promotes knowledge and understanding of Japanese business and economics in an international context.

Also founded in 1986, the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture is dedicated to advancing the understanding of Japanese culture in the U.S.

Founded in 1968, the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies is an international liaison and research center supporting scholars focused on medieval Japan.

The Makino Collection(牧野コレクション)was purchased by Columbia University in 2006. The collection is comprised of approximately 80,000 items, primarily print materials relating to Japanese film that were collected by Makino Mamoru(牧野守)who was a documentary filmmaker and film researcher. The collection also includes information from Okinawa, China, Taiwan, the former colony of Machuria, and South Korea. As processing is ongoing, the total collection is not available for use. However, patrons may search the current draft of the finding aid on the collection's website, or speak with the archivist through email, phone, or in person.

Housed in the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, the Japan Art Catalog Western Art Catalog Collection is a joint venture between the NCC and Columbia University. It is a collection of approximately 700 catalogs of Western art catalogs, which are in the process of being cataloged. It is curated by Paula Gabbard, Senior Bibliographer at the Avery Library (, with the assistance of several other librarians. Items that have been cataloged can be found by searching CLIO, Columbia's OPAC, with the keyword "JACWP." As of January 2014, 462 items had been cataloged by the Avery Library.

Tibetan Collection

Housed in the C.V. Starr East Asian Library, the Tibetan Studies Collection is one of the most extensive in the country, number over 12,000 volumes of Tibetan-language print materials. There is also a large number of electronic texts and archival items included in the collection.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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