Through the Japanese Course at Westminster School, students will be able to develop proficiency of the Japanese language, gain an insider view of the culture, and to increase the opportunities of future employment and business opportunities. In addition, studying Japanese will be a way to obtain another stepping stone to other Asian languages and cultures and to be better equipped in the Asian Century. 

The Year 8 and 9 Japanese Course is designed for study at a Basic Level by students with a minimum 2 years of study or the equivalent of 400 or more hours over that period. The main focus is on language acquisition and development. It aims to equip students with plenty of useable language and to provide them with numerous opportunities for use. Carefully thought-out structures are designed to bring learners to an understanding of how the language works, the links between spelling and sounds and how learnt language can be combined with new concepts to speak or write a short sequence of sentences in Japanese.

The Year 10 Japanese Continuers Course is designed for study at an Intermediate Level by students with full year of Year 10 Study or the equivalent of 200 or more hours over that period. The main focus is on the ability of expressing/analysing/processing information, opinions and experiences in Japanese, and understanding aspects of the language and culture of Japanese-speaking communities. This course will consolidate and extend what was achieved in the Basic Level and should motivate students to continue their study of the Japanese language and culture into their senior years of secondary schooling.

The Year 11 and 12 Japanese Continuers Course is designed for study at a High Level by students with two years of Study or the equivalent of 400 or more hours over that period.  

This course consists of four designated learning requirement outcomes:

  • Interact with others to exchange information, ideas, opinions and experiences in Japanese
  • Create texts in Japanese to express information, feelings, ideas and opinions
  • Analyse texts in Japanese to interpret meaning
  • Examine relationships between language, culture and identity, and reflect on the ways in which culture influences communication.
There are three prescribed themes:
  • The Individual – aspects of one’s personal world such as sense of self, aspirations for the future, personal values, opinions, ideas, relationships with others
  • The Japanese-speaking Communities – exploring topics from the perspective of groups within those communities or the communities as a whole, reflecting also upon one’s own culture
  • The Changing World – exploring change as it affects the world of work, considering topics such as technology, trade and tourism as well

Japanese grammar is very similar to that of Korean grammar, and the Japanese kanji writing system is from the Chinese system of ideographs. Therefore, students who have studied Japanese for more than 5 years, have lived in Japan, China, or Korea for an extended period, or are from a Japanese, Chinese, or Korean background may take the Higher Level or Advanced Course after consultation with the Head of LOTE.