Students in an English Literature class read their research and analysis papers to a packed room of classmates, faculty and staff. #

Majors & Minors



Mat Ryohei Matsuda

Associate Professor in Asian Studies (Japanese Studies)

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Learning about Japanese language and culture is not only a path to broader cultural understanding, but is also a valuable skill in the job market in an increasingly globally connected world.

Studying Japanese at Knox will not only help you gain language and composition skills in a foreign language, but will also introduce you to Japanese cultural life through events on campus, cooking, visiting Japanese businesses, and Japanese literature. And while many students who study Japanese at Knox come from business, economics and computer science programs, students from all backgrounds have been successful in the program.

As a student in the Japanese program at Knox, you will have the benefit of small classes, courses that include research opportunities, and access to numerous off-campus programs. Knox offers courses in Japanese conversation and composition through the intermediate level, and the opportunity to minor in Japanese.

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Print rollers on the wall in the print making room.
Cultural showcase in Kresge Hall - Japanese Club Dance: Lauren Bird, Elisabeth Zarnoti, Jessica Chrzan, Phillip Chau, Rebecca Eckart, Chisato Kojima, Yuta Aoshima, Hisanori Goto, Yuta Saitoh, Ayami Watanabe, Sakiko Nomura. #

Japanese Cultural Showcase at International Fair 2014.

The Program

The minor in Japanese focuses on Japanese literature, composition and conversation. Requirements for the minor include taking two 300-level courses, such as:

  • Japanese Literature I, which focuses on antiquity to the early Meiji era
  • Japanese Literature II, focusing on the Meiji era to the present
  • And/or an independent study course

The minor is specially designed to allow for substituting Japanese courses you may take while on an off-campus study program. The minor allows for substitution of appropriate 200-level or 300-level courses in Japanese language or area studies from Waseda University, Kansai Gaidai University, or an accredited Japanese college or university, including summer schools. In addition, you have the opportunity to conduct an independent study course as part of pursuing either minor in Japanese.


If you study Japanese at Knox, you're likely to meet Doraemon, who is quite literally the teacher's pet."Japanese is very different from English and learning it is very hard," says Professor Mat R. Matsuda. To make it more fun -- and hopefully, a little easier -- Matsuda uses a basket full of Japanese toys, including the stuffed blue Doraemon doll, the blue cat from the 22nd century whose cartoon program is watched by millions on Japanese TV. It's one of the many ways Matsuda introduces Japanese culture into the lives of Knox students of Japanese.Aside from "tools" like the Doraemon doll, there are other resources essential to the Japanese program at Knox:

  • The Dorothy Johnson '39 and Richard Burkhardt '39 Language Center includes a projection equipped classroom space located in the heart of George Davis Hall. The Center contains an instructor station, 24 advanced Macintosh workstations, and professional photo-flatbed scanning capabilities. The Language Center also houses two workgroup rooms equipped with individual computer workstations for small group sessions or individual privacy. The viewing room is capable of seating up to 20 people accommodating large-screen computer output and video viewing.
  • The campus cable TV system carries three foreign language channels, including SKOLA 1, a news network, and SKOLA 2, an entertainment network.
  • Seymour Library subscribes to a variety of publications from other countries, including both mass circulation and scholarly journals.
  • Japanese Club works to introduce Japanese culture to the Knox campus through cultural events and Japanese cooking.
  • Language Table offer a chance for students taking Japanese courses to gather once a week over a meal and practice their language skills by communicating in Japanese.
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Printed on Saturday, December 20, 2014