At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of resources inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work.
Language is a tool to obtain new ideas. At Bennington, Japanese courses are designed for students not only to practice and develop linguistic skills, but also to examine and understand various aspects of Japanese society and culture.
In other words, regardless of students’ linguistic levels, all Japanese courses are designed to examine, engage, and research an intellectually stimulating question while practicing Japanese language. Students are greatly encouraged to explore and expand their interests and develop an informed understanding of Japanese culture through their courses. The contents of the courses that students study are literature, history, music, religion, politics, art, and more.
To enrich students’ exploration, artists, writers, and scholars in the field of Japanese studies regularly visit campus, and faculty and students collaborate to organize extracurricular activities. Students are encouraged to pursue Field Work Term opportunities related to their studies, and study abroad is strongly encouraged for students of Japanese. Bennington offers an exchange program with Kansai Gaikokugo University, Osaka, Japan (application).
Ikuko Yoshida teaches Japanese language and culture, and her research interest areas are second language acquisition, pedagogy, critical thinking in foreign language learning, technology, and Japanese aesthetics. She is a certified instructor of ikebana—traditional Japanese flower arrangement.
Visiting Faculty & Technicians
Huang-wen Lai is an author and keen investigator of Japanese literature and culture, especially as it relates to the effect of colonialism on the Japanese in the early 20th century.