Japanese Culture

The study of Japanese culture, including its art, history and language, may lead to a career in academia, international business or tourism. Continue reading to learn more about degree options, employment outlook and salary potential for Japanese cultural experts.

Is Japanese Culture for Me?

Career Overview

A formal study of Japanese culture typically includes instruction in the Japanese language, as well as topics in art, history and socio-politics. Programs may be found at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and include the option to study or work abroad in Japan. As a qualified graduate, you may be able to find a position in business, education, government or tourism.

Career Outlook and Salary Potential

Translators and interpreters work on behalf of businesses, medical practitioners and the government. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for professionals working in translation and interpretation are expected to increase by 46% nationwide, or much faster than average, from 2012-2022. As of May 2012, the median annual salary for interpreters and translators was $45,430.

An understanding of the Japanese language and culture can also prepare you for a career as a flight attendant. As reported by the BLS, flight attendants earned median annual salaries of $37,240 in May 2012, and can expect a 7% decrease in jobs nationwide from 2012-2022.

You may also find a job teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) to Japanese immigrants or teaching English as a foreign language in Japan. The BLS reports that openings for adult literacy, including ESL, teachers are projected to grow by an average rate from 2012-2022. In May 2012, adult literacy teachers in general earned median annual salaries of $48,590.

Foreign language teachers can also be found at the high school and college levels. According to the BLS, postsecondary foreign language and literature teachers had a median annual salary of $58,670 in May 2012, while high school teachers in general were paid $55,050 a year. Although high school teachers will see a 6%, or slower-than-average, growth in jobs nationwide, college and university professors can look forward to a faster-than-average increase in employment of 19% from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Japanese Culture?

Undergraduate Programs

Although associate's degree programs are available, bachelor's degree programs in Japanese language, culture or literature may be most useful when seeking employment. Undergraduate coursework typically includes courses in linguistics, modern and classical literature, cultural development and interpretive techniques. You may also receive instruction in Japanese etiquette. Minors or joint majors in computer animation or science, business and law may also be available, and can serve as a compliment to your Japanese studies program.

Graduate Programs

Completion of a master's or doctoral program in Japanese language or culture may qualify you for a position as a college professor or university researcher. In addition to an in-depth study of Japanese history, you might learn about common Japanese philosophies or explore Buddhist influences in Japan. A graduate-level curriculum may also include courses in Japanese film, poetry or drama, as well as the study of Japanese graphic novels and video games. Individual programs can show you how to teach Japanese as a foreign language.

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