Japanese Studies

Welcome to the website of the Japanese Studies Section. My name is Katsunori Hizawa, or Hizawa sensei (or just Hizawa) as my students usually call me. This is a site that I maintain in order to provide detailed information about our program.

My students and I would like to show you what we do here in an attempt to study Japanese together. This is a rather time-consuming language (almost 3 times the effort than European languages) and the progress is consequently slow. But it is worth the effort if you are serious about it. The program is a little jewel to us and we are very proud of it. We have a lot of fun together learning the language and the culture behind it. We intend to keep this little window, the only window as a matter of fact, open for Asia on the campus of Bishop’s University.

Discover The Japanese Studies Section

A characteristic of how my assistant Sakie Tanaka and I teach Japanese here is: team-teaching. My teaching style is a result of interacting with my gurus and friends when I was a student in Japan and later in the United States. Sakie majors in Teaching Japanese as a Second/Foreign Language at Yamaguchi Prefectural University, Yamaguchi, Japan. We try to put two different teaching styles together so that our students can get the best of both worlds. When it is done right, “one and one” is more than two. We enter the class room together and do the activities that we are best at individually. When the class is over, we go back to our office and start planning for the next class.

Program strengths

Unique team-teaching. As mentioned above, all languages courses are taught by a team of instructors (myself and the teaching assistant(s) from Yamaguchi Prefectural University).
Many extra-curricular activities. To learn a language as a “foreign” language, it is critically important to expand and supplement what one does inside regular class hours. Our activities include a Japanese a capella choir, TV drama viewing, Japanese Club, Conversation Club, Japan House (new this year), Special Study Sessions for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (new this year), regular outings, etc.

Why study Japanese at Bishop’s?

I have a little difficulty here as a matter of fact. I hate to do some sales pitch even though I’d like more and more people to study Japanese and open their eyes to Japan and eventually to Asia. Particularly in Quebec, there is a serious lack of Japan-savvy Canadians. (Not to mention the lack of Canadians who possess expertise for other important Asian countries such as People’s Republic of China. And the expertise can not be achieved overnight.)

Did you know ?

  • As part of the agreement between Bishop’s University and Yamaguchi Prefectural University (YPU), Yamaguchi, Japan, we’re in a position to send our students to YPU to serve as ESL teaching assistant.
  • Why is it that the Japanese would say that they have no religion? Why is it that prior consensus building process is more important than a meeting where the issue is supposed to be debated and settled? What is that idea of “obligation” that Sydney Pollack made a film about? Why is it that Japanese animé films are more interesting than the North American ones? Why is it that there appears to be no f-word in Japanese? You will find answers to these and more when you take JSE150 Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture.

Courses & Programs


Popular courses

  • JSE101 Introduction to Japanese Language I
  • JSE150 Introduction to Japanese Society and Culture

If there is an ounce of good stuff in what I do as instructor in charge, it is because of my students. When things don’t go right as planned, it is usually because I overlooked something or misjudged something. I can immediately tell when I look at my students. It’s been about 20 years of teaching, but I learn something new everyday.

BU-YPU Teaching Assistants

Bishop’s University and Yamaguchi Prefectural University (YPU) have a unique tri-part, bi-lateral exchange agreement, which includes the teaching assistant exchange program. YPU sends their teaching assistants (Japanese as Second/Foreign Language) to Bishop’s and we send our students as ESL teaching assistants to YPU.