Senior school > Curriculum > Japanese

By studying Japanese pupils have a unique opportunity to acquire not only a very interesting and useful non-European language, but also an understanding of a fascinating culture with a global economy.

The Japanese department is part of the Modern Languages department, situated in the Library block. Japanese has been taught for the last 25 years at Gresham’s.

The School’s partner school in Japan is the highly regarded Keio Shonan-Fujisawa Junior & Senior High School. They visit and stay with us for a week every March, enjoying cultural and language exchange. We reciprocate the visit to their school in Japan every three or four years before embarking on a wider tour of Japan, visiting Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima.

Learning Japanese gives the pupils an edge, showing flexibility to learn a completely different language system and is a talking point for university and job applications.


Pupils start as complete beginners in Year 9 and are introduced to the hiragana alphabet and learn things such as the basics of counting, introducing themselves and describing their hobbies and their family.


Exam Board: Edexcel

Pupils have 3 lessons per week in Years 10 and 11, which includes normal key language elements as well as learning a new written script form. In addition, included in the syllabus are opportunities for acquiring knowledge of Japanese culture both ancient and modern – from Shogun to Nintendo Wii.

Coursework: Nil.

Exam times are:

• Listening: 25%, 50 minutes
• Speaking: 25%, 10-12 minutes
• Reading: 25%, 1 hour 5 minutes
• Writing: 25%, 1 hour 25 minutes


The Japanese society runs termly events such as sushi making workshops and movie nights. Thanks to support and funding from the Japan Foundation in London, we have been able to create a new manga lending library with over 100 copies of popular shonen and shojo manga titles translated into English. You can now borrow your favourite copy of Naruto, Hunter x Hunter, Attack on Titan and many more. Visit Room 13 in the Library building to browse through our newest arrivals.

The Japanese department runs exchanges with Keio Shonan Fujisawa High School in Kanagawa Prefecture and with Doshisha Kori Junior and Senior High School in Osaka. The Japanese students usually visit us every other year in March. Pupils will have the chance to visit Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Hiroshima and Tokyo as well as visiting a Japanese school and staying with a Japanese family

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