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Burmese Studies

About Us

The TUFS Burmese major was set up in 1981 as the second institution in Japan that offered structured instruction of the Burmese language. Although historically the UK (University of London) is the centre of Burmese research, France, the United States and Japan have also come to be recognized as some of the few important centres of research. One of the characteristics of TUFS is that there are three full-time staff (one visiting lecturer) and two internationally active Burmese researchers at the ILCAA, carrying out research work in fields as wide as linguistics, politics, history, economics and anthropology.

Students are expected to first learn the language and then discover for themselves what they really want to learn from the various disciplines such as the humanities and the social sciences (explanation of the three courses can be found in the explanation for the University). This learning method is different from other universities where it is more common for students to begin by learning about their respective disciplines. However, we believe that when students start by learning a foreign language and directly interacting with foreigners, then they can develop the sharpest awareness of various issues. We look forward to meeting students who are not afraid of such real-life encounters and conflicts.

Mandalay Palace

Characteristics of the Curriculum

The curriculum is based on a modular system and lessons are carried out according to difficulty levels and categories. The goal of the elementary and intermediate levels is the acquisition of basic daily conversational skills. All our textbooks, except for one, are designed by our own staff and tailored to meet the needs of the different modules such as grammar, reading comprehension and vocabulary. In particular, during the first year, the teachers-in-charge also keep in constant contact with one another to provide intensive training in writing, pronunciation basics and elementary grammar. In addition, approximately half of the lessons are conducted by Burmese lecturers, who are aided by TAs in teaching pronunciation and conversation. From the second semester of the second year, the literary language is introduced, and in advanced classes, students learn reading comprehension and communication skills by reading and discussing local newspapers, journals and essays. The ultimate goal of the curriculum is for students to be able to use local materials without any problems for their thesis (or work), or for them to be able to communicate freely with the Burmese people.

Wedding ceremony of the Pao people in Karen

Careers After Graduation

Many graduates have found employment in major companies, international financial institutions, mass communications and in NGOs, as well as become civil servants or researchers in government ministries such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There are also quite a few students who are working and living in Myanmar.


OKANO, Kenji Associate Professor  
TOSA, Keiko Professor Religious studies of modern Islam, particularly in relation to nationalism
AUNG KYAW MOE Visiting Professor Burmese
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