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Rediscovering the pleasure and challenges of studying the language and society of Japan

"っていうか、この写真、エモくない?" What do you think this phrase means? Even though you have reached an advanced level of Japanese, you are still having trouble understanding some words in videos or SNS that are not in your textbooks, here's some good news for you. In this 5-day course, you will learn various aspects of Japanese spoken language and you can broaden your perspective on alive Japanese society.


1 Subject Rediscovering the pleasure and challenges of studying the language and society of Japan
2 Field Japanese Language
3 Key words Spoken language, SMS language, Abbreviated words, Newly created words, Yakuwarigo(Role language)
4 Unit 0.5
5 Lecturer TBA
6 Period July 25 - 29, 2022
7 Time 10:30am - 12:00 noon (Japan Standard Time)
8 Lecture style Online (live virtual class)
9 Evaluation Criteria Excellent (S) 90 –100%; Very good (A) 80–89%; Good (B) 70–79%; Pass (C) 60–69%; Fail (D) 0–59%
10 Evaluation methods Attendance and Participation 60%, Assignments 20%, Presentation 20%
11 Prerequisites
  • Only students who are registered for one of the non-language GUC courses are allowed to apply.
12 Contents 1) Purpose
This course aims to: (1) enhance knowledge of Japanese spoken language to make use of them in the future Japanese language life; (2) broaden perspective on Japanese society through getting know what Japanese people are interested in today from aspect of language use; (3) become a Japanese speaker who is conscious of role of language while communicating. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to learn the following:
  • Build up new Japanese words and phrases that Japanese people have interest and curiosity about nowadays
  • Get knowledge of common rules about abbreviated or newly created words.
  • Understand the phenomena surrounding language by relating them to society in Japan.
  • Raise awareness of the role of language in communication.
2) Description
There are many varieties of spoken language that are not found in textbooks or dictionaries but are favored by Japanese people. Also, there are a lot of Japanese words that cannot be translated into other languages. By tracing the origins of these words, we can learn an aspect of society in Japan.
Students can get tips on discovering the rules of formation while finding common points from various examples. Students can also listen to the opinion of guests from UTokyo about usage of these words and phrases as one of Japanese speaker. Furthermore, students will discuss with them about the topic offered in the class about Japanese language and society from the perspective on communication.
Based on the above, students will broaden not only their knowledge of Japanese words and phrases that can be applied when they meet new words in the future but also their perspective on communication in Japanese society. Let's rediscover the pleasure and challenges of studying the language and society of Japan together!
*This is an interactive class that simulates face-to-face sessions. In principle, therefore, the students are requested to have their camera on during the class. Active participation is strongly encouraged.
3) Schedules
Session 1 : How would you translate ‘木漏れ日’ into your mother tongue?
Session 2 : What kind of person uses ‘よくてよ’, ‘いいわよ’ and ‘いいよ’?
Session 3 : What is the meaning of ‘チルいね’ in the spoken language?
Session 4 : What are ‘り’, ‘草’ and ‘w’ in the text message of SNS?
Session 5 : Presentation and discussion
4) Assignments
Students are required to fill out a worksheet offered in the class. Students must expect to spend about one hour everyday reviewing the day's lesson.
13 Required readings No textbook will be used
14 Reference readings Will be offered in the class.
15 Notes on Taking the Course  


UTokyo Global Unit Courses
International Exchange Group, Education and Student Support Department,
The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8652 JAPAN

Please send all inquiries regarding the courses to the following email address:

utokyo-guc.adm(at) *Please change (at) to
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