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Communication Strategy in Japanese Conversation (Advanced Level)

When making a request, is it "polite" as long as we use an expression with many honorifics, for example, "...ていただいてもよろしいでしょうか"? Also, we often say, "よろしく," at the end of a conversation, but to what do we say "よろしく" and with what kind of intention?
For advanced students who have already mastered these various Japanese expressions, why not join students from around the world in considering the characteristics of Japanese society and culture as reflected in these expressions and word selection?


1 Subject Communication Strategy in Japanese Conversation (Advanced Level)
2 Field Japanese Language
3 Key words Communication, Strategy, Requesting, Human Relationship, Territory, High Context Culture
4 Unit 0.5
5 Lecturer TBA
6 Period June 26 - 30, 2023
7 Time 8:30-10:00am (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 40%
11 Prerequisites
  • Only students who are registered for one of the non-language GUC courses are allowed to apply.
  • This course is suitable for advanced level learners who have been judged to be “Level 5 Advanced” or above in the level check test which is offered on the Center’s website:
The level is about the equivalent to JLPT N1.
* Even if a student has attained the prerequisite qualifications above, they should be fully aware of the aim of the course to be admitted to this program.
12 Contents Purpose
This course is designed for advanced level students to look at the Japanese society and culture behind the Japanese language through an examination of oral expressions and their usage that are preferred in daily life in the Japanese language. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to: (1) make requests in Japanese more naturally, (2) understand what the speaker considers important in oral communication in Japanese, and (3) become aware of how it is the same and different in their own mother tongue and in communication in other languages.
Although the priority of the class is not to "speak freely and at length about your favorite topics", learners will be given time to create their own dialogue and make sample conversations strategically.
This course is offered as online (live virtual class). In the class, we will focus on "Requests" as an example of an everyday situation in Japanese, which requires a high degree of consideration of the other person's intentions and personal relationships. While observing examples of Japanese language use, such as video clips of actual conversation and international students' experiences, we will observe and discuss what kind of expressions native Japanese speakers prefer and how they develop topics, as well as what kind of ideas are behind such expressions. There will also be activity sessions in which you will make various requests to Japanese speakers in situations that you might actually encounter, and test the effectiveness of these requests. 
Through these learning activities, students are expected not only to be able to communicate better with Japanese speakers, but also to learn about the differences in communication styles and ways of thinking in their own mother tongue and other languages. Students will be assigned homework to organize such perspectives, and there will be a session for class discussion based on these homework assignments.
*This is a combination of lecture and interactive class that simulates face-to-face sessions. In principle, therefore, the students are requested to have their camera on during the class.  Active discussion with your classmates is strongly encouraged.
Session 1:Opening the conversation - How do the first few words of a conversation affect the rest of the communication?
Session 2:Requesting (1)  - What kind of "politeness" is hidden in various request expressions?
Session 3:Requesting (2) - What does it mean to make a request "without” using a request expression?
Session 4:Giving a reason - What reasons and what expressions can you use to make a conversation successful?
Session 5:Closing the conversation - What kind of relationship with the other person is implied in the expression at the end of the conversation?
Students are required to complete a worksheet provided everyday (1-2 pages). Students are expected to spend about one hour everyday reviewing the day's lesson.
13 Required readings Center's original materials
14 Reference readings Will be offered in the class.
15 Notes on Taking the Course N/A


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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