A minor in Japanese studies at Randolph-Macon lets you explore the richness of Japanese society, literature, and cinema on campus and abroad. That study is made richer by meaningful immersion opportunities facilitated by unique partnerships with the Embassy of Japan and three Japanese universities. Through travel, study abroad, exchange, and frequent special events on campus, students interact with dignitaries, exchange with Japanese peers, and immerse themselves in hands-on opportunities to study Japanese history and experience Japanese culture up close. 

Japanese Studies up close In and Beyond the Classroom

BJ Camano ’21 in Japan

Global Education

The Japanese studies program highly encourages its students to participate in study abroad, either through semester or year-long study abroad opportunities with one of Randolph-Macon’s three university partners in Japan or travel courses that help students fully immerse themselves with the people, history and culture of Japan today. 

Japanese studies minor BJ Camano ’21 described his experience in Japan.  “In Tokyo, we explored the sites and I discovered street-side fried octopus, and then enjoyed exploring the historical city of Kyoto where we saw the famous Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), walked through a bamboo forest, and participated in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Almost two years later, what has stuck with me the most is not the great meals we had, or the historic sites that we visited, but the people that I met and friendships that I was able to make while there.”

Hands-on Learning

The College’s special relationship with Japan was strengthened in 2011, when then-recent graduate Taylor Anderson ‘08 was killed in the Great East Earthquake and Tsunami. Her passion for Japanese/American exchange has fostered a special relationship between RMC and the people of Ishinomaki, and more broadly, the nation of Japan. Special funds and partnerships support travel both to and from Japan, student research projects, and virtual exchange. 


RMC Japanese studies faculty guide you through your immersive learning experience. The faculty know you by name and support your academic journey with additional opportunities for student hands-on learning, like mentoring original research.

RMC Japanese studies students smiling together with Kakehashi Project students
Group of officials during the 2021 visit from Japanese Ambassador Koji Tomita who spoke at the Randolph-Macon ceremony celebrating a gift from the Embassy of Japan in remembrance of the Great East Japan Earthquake.


The Randolph-Macon Japanese studies program works directly with partner institutions and organizations. The college has active affiliations with sister institutions Kansai Gaidai University (Osaka); Rikkyo University (Tokyo); and Ishinomaki Senshu University (Miyagi)

RMC’s close relationship with the Embassy of Japan provides many enriching cultural learning opportunities, like the 2021 visit from Ambassador Koji Tomita, who spoke at the Randolph-Macon ceremony celebrating a gift from the Embassy in remembrance of the Great East Japan Earthquake. 

The Japanese studies program also supports the Governor’s World Language Academy in Japanese for high school students across Virginia. Held on campus each summer and led by Randolph-Macon faculty, the program allows high school students to practice Japanese language among peers. RMC Japanese studies students can serve as staff, practicing their own language skills as part of a meaningful leadership opportunity.

  • 2nd
    most popular language at RMC (after Spanish)
  • 200+
    students and counting who have studied abroad in Japan or have taken an RMC Japanese studies travel course
  • 20+
    faculty and staff have traveled to Japan
A Japanese Studies group sitting on the floor with a fan.

Japanese Studies in full Courses You Won’t Want to Miss

(A very small sample)

JAPN 270

Weird Japan

Study the monsters, magic, and horror that haunt Japanese popular culture and tell us much about Japanese society. Starting with Shinto creation myths and traditional ghost tales, learn the Japanese conceptions of the strange and supernatural. Through fiction, film, and art, explore the ‘weird side’ of the Japanese experience. 

JAPN 220

Culture of Japan

Study the popular and mass culture of modern Japan through literature, film, animation, art, and media. Analyze what makes something part of popular or mass culture; how historical, economic, political, and/or societal concerns shape popular tastes; what is represented and  considered permissible to represent; and how Japanese culture circulates beyond Japan and East Asia.


Japanese Film as History: The Works of Kurosawa Akira

Study postwar Japanese films by examining several films of Kurosawa Akira, one of the most celebrated directors in film history. Explore classic samurai dramas including “Rashomon,” “The Seven Samurai,” and other period films. Study the basic theories and concepts in film studies and explore issues of nationalism, gender, war, and cross-cultural adaptation. 

Opportunities Worth Grabbing

Popular activities and programs among Japanese studies minors
Japanese studies students marching in parade while wearing summer yukata

Japanese National Honors Society

Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program

Suzume Odori Dancing Troupe

Started in 2022, this troupe practices a traditional style of Japanese festival dance.

From Here To What you can do with a Japanese Studies minor from RMC.

Elizabeth Simmons '21

Elizabeth Simmons ’21

Senior Coordinator for Student Life
Randolph-Macon College

“My advisor, Dr. Bell actually helped me discover my love for Japanese language and culture by sharing her many travel experiences abroad. After discussing a possible study abroad trip, I decided to begin Japanese language courses and after that I was able to fly all the way to Japan for two courses during J-Term: Comparative Legislatures as well as Film and Music in Japan. My favorite part of the trip was going to Hiroshima Castle! It was snowing and the view from the top of the tower was spectacular.”

Elizabeth Majewski ’20

Academic Administrative Assistant
Richard Bland College

Cam Bell ’19

Technical Recruiter
Broadleaf, Inc.


University of Virginia Law School

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Hand-Crafted Bookshelf to Honor Taylor Anderson ‘08 Installed at McGraw-Page Library

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Andy and Jeanne Anderson, Shinichi and Ryoko Endo, and President Robert Lindgren pose together after the dedication of the Taylor Bunko
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RMC Students Earn Prestigious Scholarships for Study Abroad

Two Randolph-Macon art students have been awarded prestigious scholarships to spend a semester abroad in Japan this fall.  Senior Ashton…

Lauryn McMeans in Japan

Get Ready Discover Japanese Studies at RMC.