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East Asian Languages & Literatures

Students in Professor Sujane Wu's classroom

China, Japan and Korea have vast histories spanning thousands of years. In the 21st century these countries have emerged as major players in our global economy. Knowledge of Asian languages and cultures is becoming increasingly important for working in many fields in the humanities, social sciences, technology, business and international relations.

Through studying East Asian languages, linguistics and literatures at Smith, you get the exciting opportunity to grasp the culture and impact of one of our world's largest populations. Whether you major or minor in Chinese or Japanese, minor in Korean or take classes to complement another major, you have the chance to study abroad, participate in events, engage in research projects that expand your cultural knowledge, and, most importantly, broaden your view to better understand and explore this rapidly changing region that is influencing the world in new and important ways.

Important Academic Information for Spring 2020

In response to COVID-19, Smith College has implemented alternate modes of instruction for all academic courses for the remainder of the spring semester, as of March 30, 2020. Guidelines and information for academic continuity are available below. For general information, read the college’s FAQ about COVID-19 and visit the digital support for spring 2020 website.

Updates and information will be posted here as soon as they become available.


EAS Merging with EALL in Fall 2020

In the fall of 2020, the Program in East Asian Studies (EAS) and the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures (EALL) will merge into a new department, East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC). Students will be able to pursue both majors (EAL and EAS) within the new department, and there are no changes to major requirements.

Massachusetts Secondary Foreign Language Licensure

Students majoring in the EALL department with a concentration in Chinese can now pursue Mass. Secondary Foreign Language Licensure (5-12) as an undergraduate. For questions about the Chinese major, please contact Sujane Wu or Jessica Moyer. For questions about the education requirements of the Chinese Licensure Program, please contact Nicole Walsh

Master of Arts in Teaching

Chinese majors who do not pursue teaching licensure as undergraduates have the opportunity to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching at Smith following graduation. The M.A.T will allow them to meet the licensure requirements for teaching Chinese at the secondary level (grades 5-12) in various states. For further information, please contact Nicole Walsh

Have A Question? Ask Our Student Liaisons!

Chinese: Bea Hesselbart ’20; Japanese: Cindy Nguyen ’20; Korean: Grace Sambora ’21

Requirements & Courses

To develop linguistic and cultural fluency, students will:

  • Be able to use Chinese, Japanese or Korean to navigate a variety of social and professional situations appropriately and confidently.
  • Grasp of both language and culture will allow them to have nuanced discussions about social and cultural issues, as well as professional and academic topics that are of interest to them, in Chinese, Japanese or Korean.
  • Learn to analyze and interpret texts in an informed and critical way, both orally and in writing.
  • Be able to conduct research on topics of their choice utilizing primary and secondary sources.
  • Have an understanding of East Asian literature and culture—modern and premodern—that will lead them to develop historical and comparative perspectives on the world that go beyond simple East-West binaries.
  • Engage with the international community at Smith and abroad, learning to communicate respect and understanding across cultures, preparing for—and beginning—lives of ongoing influence in today’s global world.


Kimberly KonoYuri Kumagai, Jessica Moyer, Atsuko Takahashi and Sujane Wu


The first year of Chinese (CHI 110 and 111) or Japanese (JPN 110 and 111) is a prerequisite for admission to the major. A language placement test is required prior to registration for students who have previously studied the language.


Students are expected to concentrate in China or Japan and take a total of 11 courses (46 credits), distributed as follows:

Language (four courses in total, 18 credits):
  • Second-year language courses (10 credits): JPN 220 and 221 or CHI 220 and 221 (two courses). Students who place into the third year or above will have this credit requirement waived (that is, such students need only nine courses or 36 credits for the major).
  • Third-year language courses (8 credits): JPN 301 and 302 or CHI 301 and 302 (two courses). In consultation with their major advisers, students whose proficiency places them beyond the third year should substitute advanced language or literature courses for this requirement.
Literature (four courses in total, 16 credits):
  • At least three EAL-prefix courses (12 credits) in the literature or culture of the student's concentration, including a departmental seminar or equivalent. Students concentrating on China are strongly encouraged to take EAL 231, 232 and/or 234 early, and they must take at least one of these three courses. Students focusing on Japan are encouraged to take EAL 241 and 242 early, and they must take at least one of these courses.

  • At least one EAL-prefix course (4 credits) focusing principally on the literature of another East Asian country.

Electives (three courses in total, 12 credits):
  • Three additional courses (12 credits) may be chosen from other advanced language, literature and culture courses in the department, or, with the approval of the adviser, from East Asia-related courses in other departments.

Transferring Credit

Of the 11 required courses, no more than five normally shall be taken in other institutions, such as the Five Colleges, Junior Year Abroad programs or summer programs. Students should consult their advisers prior to taking such courses. S/U grading options are not allowed for courses counting toward the major. Native speakers of a language must consult with the major adviser regarding the language requirement.

The course requirements are designed so that a student will concentrate on one of the East Asian languages but will have the option of being exposed to other courses in the department.


Kimberly Kono, Yuri Kumagai, Jessica Moyer, Atsuko Takahashi and Sujane Wu


The first year of Chinese (CHI 110 and 111), Japanese (JPN 110 and 111) or Korean (KOR 101 and 102) is a prerequisite for admission.


The minor consists of a total of six courses in the following distribution:

  1. Chinese II (CHI 220 and 221), Japanese II (JPN 220 and 221) or Korean II (KOR 201 and 202)

  2. Four courses, at least two of which must be EAL-prefix courses in the literature and culture of the student's concentration (see course offerings)

Transferring Credit

In addition to the courses offered at Smith, courses offered at the other four colleges or through the Junior Year Abroad program may be taken for credit toward the requirement, with the restriction that only three courses (counted toward the minor) taken outside of Smith are allowed. Students planning on spending their junior year abroad should consult the department and get approval for courses that will be credited toward the East Asian languages and literatures minor. They must also seek final approval for those courses upon their return. Some EAL courses not listed in the course offerings may be eligible.

Director: Kimberly Kono

430d Thesis (8 credits)
Full year course; Offered each year

431 Thesis ( 8 credits)
Offered each Fall


Same as for the departmental major plus the thesis, normally written in both semesters of the senior year (430d), with an oral examination on the thesis. In special cases, the thesis may be written in the first semester of the senior year (431).

The courses within the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures are designed to introduce you to the spoken and written word in the Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages. Students progress to greater proficiency in speaking, reading and writing as they continue in advanced courses, building on their skills and vocabulary. In addition to our languages courses, we offer a variety of classes to explore the literature, history and culture of these fascinating countries. All EAL courses are taught in English unless otherwise noted.

Search the Smith College Course Catalog for current course offerings. You can also find courses within the Five Colleges.

Fall 2019 Courses

EAL 233 01 Chinese Travel Writing 
Sujane Wu

EAL 235 01 Class, Gender and Material Culture in Late Imperial China 
Jessica D. Moyer

EAL 242 01 Modern Japanese Literature 
Kimberly Kono

EAL 253 01 Korean Cinema: Cinema and the Masses
Irhe Sohn

EAL 292 01 Topics in Japanese Popular Culture
Japanese Popular Culture and its Traditional Context
Joannah Peterson

CHI 110 01 02 03 Chinese I (Intensive)
Yalin Chen, Lu Yu, Ling Zhao

CHI 220 01 02 Chinese II (Intensive)
Lu Yu, Ling Zhao

CHI 301 01 Chinese III
Yalin Chen

CHI 352 01 Food for Thought: Chinese Language, Culture, Environment and Health
Sujane Wu

FYS 150 01 Writing and Power in China
Jessica D. Moyer

JPN 110 01 02 03 Japanese I (Intensive)
Joannah Peterson, Atsuko Takahashi

JPN 220 01 02 Japanese II (Intensive)
Maki Hirano Hubbard, Yuri Kumagai

JPN 301 01 Japanese III (Intensive)
Yuri Kumagai

JPN 350 01 Contemporary Texts I
Kimberly Kono

KOR 101 01 02 Korean I
Suk Massey

KOR 201 01 Korean II
Irhe Sohn

KOR 201 02 Korean II
Shihyun Kim

KOR 301 01 Korean III
Suk Massey


Spring 2020 Courses

EAL 234 01 Self and Society in Chinese Fiction and Drama
Elena Chiu

EAL 241 01 Literature and Culture in Premodern Japan: Court Ladies, Wandering Monks and Urban Rakes 
Joannah Peterson

EAL 245 01 Writing, Japan and Otherness 
Kimberly Kono

EAL 254 01 Modern Korean Literature in Translation
Irhe Sohn

EAL 262 01 Representation of Women in Chinese Culture
Lingqian Kong

EAL 273 01 Women and Narration in Modern Korea
Irhe Sohn

EAL 281 01 Colloquium: Revising the Past in Chinese Literature and Film
Sujane Wu

EAL 291 01 Writing Empire: Images of Colonial Japan
Kimberly Kono

EAL 360 01 Topics in East Asian Languages and Literatures
Honglou Meng: The Dream of the Red Chamber
Sujane Wu

CHI 111 01 02 Chinese I (Intensive)
Yalin Chen, Lu Yu

CHI 221 01 Chinese II (Intensive)
Lu Yu, Ling Zhao

CHI 302 01 Chinese III
Yalin Chen

CHI 351 01 Advanced Readings in Chinese: Modern and Contemporary Texts
Ling Zhao

JPN 111 01 02 Japanese I (Intensive)
Joannah Peterson, Yuri Kumagai

JPN 221 01 Japanese II (Intensive)
Atsuko Takahashi

JPN 302 01 Japanese III (Intensive)
Yuri Kumagai

KOR 102 01 02 Korean I 
Suk Massey, Shihyun Kim

KOR 202 01 Korean II
Shihyun Kim

KOR 302 01 Korean III
Suk Massey


Participating Faculty

Sabina Knight
Professor of Chinese and of Comparative Literature


There are a number of Smith-approved programs in Asia. Learn more about study abroad on the Office for International Study website.


Associated Colleges in China
Smith Consortium Program


Associated Kyoto Program
Smith consortium program


CIEE: Yonsei University
Summer Program at Ewha Woman's University, Seoul

The Taiwan Scholarship Program and the 2020 Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES)

The Taiwan Scholarship Program is designed for outstanding American students undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Taiwan; while Huayu Enrichment Scholarship sponsors students interested in short-term Mandarin studies in Taiwan. Application deadline is March 31, 2020.

Guidelines and application form can be found by clicking on the links below:

Taiwan Scholarship Program

Huayu Enrichment Scholarship

The Research Grants Council of Hong Kong offers the Hong Kong Ph.D. Fellowship Scheme. This program aims to attract top international students to pursue doctoral studies in Hong Kong's world-class research universities. The fellowship provides a monthly stipend and a conference and research-related travel allowance per year for a period of three years. For further information, contact

Intensive Summer Language Study Grant

The application form for this program is available on the class deans website.

TUSA Ambassador Scholarship

The Taiwan-United States Sister Relations Alliance (TUSA) Summer Scholarship Program is an ambassador program—a unique program designed for students who will be representing their state, as well as the United States, and acting as ambassadors to Taiwan. The guidelines and application forms are available on the the Taiwan-United States Sister Relations Alliance website.

Blakemore Fellowship

The Blakemore Foundation was established in 1990 by Thomas and Frances Blakemore to encourage the advanced study of Asian languages and to improve the understanding of Asian fine arts in the United States. Since 1990, the foundation, with the support of The Freeman Foundation, has awarded over $17 million in grants to college graduates and young professionals for an academic year abroad in full-time intensive language study. The fellowships cover tuition and a stipend for related educational expenses, basic living costs and transportation.

Asian Studies Grants and Fellowships

The Association for Asian Studies offers a listing of grants and fellowships.

Critical Language Scholarships

A program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is an intensive overseas language and cultural immersion program for American students enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities. The program includes intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences designed to promote rapid language gains. The application and further information can be found on the Critical Language Scholarship website.

Boren Scholarships and Fellowships

Boren Awards provide funding opportunities for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to study in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America and the Middle East, where they can add international and language components to their education. Boren scholars and fellows represent a variety of academic backgrounds but all are interested in studying less commonly taught languages, including, but not limited to, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili.

Study Abroad in Japan

The United States-Japan Bridging Foundation offers scholarships to American undergraduate students participating in study abroad programs in Japan. Scholarships assist students with the travel and living expenses they will incur while studying abroad in Japan for a semester or an academic year. Applications are accepted twice a year.


East Asian Languages & Literatures
18 Henshaw Avenue B1-204
Northampton, MA 01063
Phone: 413-585-3591

Administrative Assistant: Kathleen Gauger
Office hours are Monday–Friday,
8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

Department Chair: Kimberly Kono

Individual appointments may be arranged directly with the faculty.