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Japanese Studies (MA) (120EC)

Leiden University’s internationally-respected master’s in Japanese Studies offers specialised knowledge on the most important aspects of modern and pre-modern Japan.

Please note: The two-year Japanese Studies programme has a maximum of 17 places, depending on available places at our partner universities; the Admissions Board ranks the requests on the fulfilment of the Admission Requirements. The application deadline is 1st April for all students. 

It is also possible to focus on Japanese Studies as part of the two-year Research Master’s programme in Asian Studies and the one-year East Asian Studies programme. East Asian Studies and the Research Master have no restriction on the number of available places.

For students considering to apply for the MA Asian Studies 120 EC specialisation Japanese Studies: 

Please be aware of the fact that due to Covid-19 the study abroad period in Japan will be postponed until September 2022. As a result of this, the structure of the programme will be different from what has been communicated on our website and may cause study delay. We therefore strongly advise students to consider applying for the MA Asian Studies 60 EC - track East Asian Studies instead. 

Why study Japanese Studies at Leiden University?

Leiden University has one of the oldest and most established centres for Japanese Studies in the Western world – building on the country’s long and intimate relations with Japan. The two-year MA Japanese Studies programme, a specialisation of the MA Asian Studies, capitalises on this expertise in every way. Join a state-of-the-art and multidisciplinary programme taught by some of the leading academics in the field.

Learn more about the study programme

Japanese wall poem in Leiden

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There are hundreds of writing systems in the world. Some of these are commonly known, like our Latin alphabet, the Arabic script, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese characters. But what do you know about the Japanese script? Check out Dr. Tijmen Pronk's introduction to the writing system of a poem in Japanese. The poem is part of the famous Leiden Wall Poems.

Customised knowledge and skills

A comprehensive range of topics in modern and pre-modern Japan combined with a flexible programme format mean that you can tailor your studies to your interests and career goals. Alongside your specialised knowledge, you will acquire sophisticated analytical and critical-thinking skills and the ability to independently conduct high-quality research.

Admission and Application

Do you want to find out if you are eligible for this Master's Programme?

Check the entry requirements

Join a competitive programme and international classroom

A limited number of talented and highly-motivated students are accepted into this programme. Learn alongside inspired peers from around the world where small-scale classes allow every individual to share their ideas and engage fully in the content. At Leiden, every individual counts, which is why every student receives one-on-one support and mentoring from lecturers.

Find out more about the career prospects

Study in Japan

Two semesters of your degree will be spent studying at a university in Japan, offering you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in Japanese culture, language, and society. Develop your fluency in Japanese and gain a host of skills and insights that will prepare you for real-world success after your master's degree.

In which sector do students find jobs?

  • 20 Government and semi-government organisations
  • 20 Communication and marketing
  • 10 IT
  • 10 Publishing
  • 10 Business services
  • 10 Education
  • 10 Financial institutions
  • 10 Other

The graphs below are based on alumni data from the MA Japanese Studies 2016-2020.

Japanese Studies Studies degree

Japanese Studies at Leiden University is an accredited degree programme. After successful completion of this programme, you will receive a master’s degree in Asian Studies and the title Master of Arts (MA).

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