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Asian Languages and Literatures, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures


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Asian Languages and Literatures
Department of Languages, Literatures
and Cultures

440 Herter Hall Box 39312
161 Presidents Drive
University of Massachusetts
Amherst, MA 01003-9312
Fax: (413) 545-3178

Undergraduate Program Contact:
Mary Ellen White Maynard
Phone: (413) 545-2807

Graduate Program Contact:
Phone: (413) 545-0886

Whom should I contact?


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Best wishes to Nina Rose-Racine,our long-serving program administrative assistant.
Nina Rose-Racine worked for Asian Languages & Literatures for 37 1/2 years. She retired in 2013. She received her B.A. in Japanese from Asian Languages & Literatures, which equals 42 years together!
She's retained her UMass email account(, should you wish to send her

We miss you, Nina!




Asian Languages and Literatures became part of the established curriculum at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1969 with the founding of degree programs in Chinese and Japanese by the late Professor William E. Naff. After more than four decades of growth we still take very seriously our founding mission--to share knowledge and understanding of the rich cultures of Asia with the students of this land-grant university as an essential part of their preparation to participate in a global society. Founded as Massachusetts Agricultural College in 1863, when the U.S. was just becoming aware of the importance of East Asia in the modern world, UMass Amherst is the only public institution of higher education in New England to offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Chinese and Japanese. Because of this we attract students from the entire Northeast region. The Regional Student Program makes our programs particularly good value for New England students from outside of Massachusetts. The students and faculty also benefit from the excellent library that UMass Amherst offers--visit our East Asian Collection online to see for yourself.

Our undergraduate major programs offer students a sound command of the languages as well as a solid background in literature, linguistics, culture, and civilization. Our minor programs offer a combination of skills which can greatly enrich the undergraduate experience and increase postgraduate possibilities. Our study-abroad programs are aimed at increasing students' fluency in Chinese and Japanese as well as deepening their understanding of those cultures. Students attaining the Bachelor of Arts degree have gone on to graduate school, to positions in various businesses (banking, marketing, exporting, investing) in the United States and in Asia, to teaching in Japan and Taiwan, to careers in journalism, diplomacy, government agencies, library science, museums, writing and more.

Students attaining the Master of Arts degree to date have gone on to Ph.D. programs (University of California, Columbia, Princeton, Harvard, Stanford, University of British Columbia, University of Washington) or to law school; others work for investment firms, cross-cultural programs, or in teaching.

News & Events

4/8 Tue. Sebastian Dobson will give a lecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on a “Singular Man” from Cape Cod who embarked on an arduous journey to Japan in the early 1860s, the tumultuous last years of the Tokugawa shogunate. John Wilson (1816-1868) was a trader and a photographer, whose impact on the birth of Japanese photography was enormous. Dobson will also discuss the transposition into other artistic forms that early photography inspired. This event is open to public. For the place and the time, please click on the below poster.

Sponsored by the Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with support from the Five College Lecture Fund

4/7 Mon. Mr. Yoshikazu Kato will give a lecture on China-Japan relationship. It will take place on Monday, April 7, at 4:30, in Herter 231. Mr. Kato is a Japanese columnist who has spent many years in China. This event is open to public. For the place and the time, please click on the below poster.

4/4 Fri. The first FIVE COLLEGE Korean Speech Contest! Open to public. For the place and the time, please click on the below poster.


Announcement Honors in the Japanese Program

Students enrolled in the Commonwealth Honors College (see pursue an Honors Track in Japanese. For further information, contact your Commonwealth College adviser or the Honors Program Director for Japanese, Professor Doris G. Bargen (office hours in Fall 2013: TUE, 12-12:45 in Herter 439 and TUE, 1-2:15 in Commonwealth Honors College, Elm 233).


Latest News

Faculty Publications:

Dr. David K. Schneider, Confucian Prophet: Political Thought In Du Fu's Poetry (752-757), Cambria Press


Dr. Stephen Miller, The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period, Cornell East Asia Series


The Third Japanese Language Contest for New England College Students (May 11, 2013)
The Japanese language contest was held at the Consulate General of Japan in Boston. Ray Kim, Hyang Gi Lim and Serena Forrest participated in the Speech Contest. All three won the prize respectively.
Ray Kim won the 2nd prize at the intermediate level.
Serena Forrest won the 1st prize at the advanced level.
Hyang Gi Lim won the 3rd prize at the advanced level.
In the Essay Contest, two contestants from UMass Amherst won the prize.
Xiao Shao won the 2nd prize at the intermediate level.
Devin Recchio also won the 2nd prize at the advanced level.
Congratulations to you all!!

The Third Five College Japanese Speech Contest 2013
The contest was held on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at UMass Amherst. Nine contestants (Josha Espinosa, Shanru Liang, Cara Goulding, Jiayi Huang, Zachary Mansuetti, Nina Li, David Musto, Serena Forrest, Emily Porcher) from UMass participated in the contest from 1st-year to 4th-year levels.
Serena Forrest at the 4th-year level won the first prize! Congratulations!




Distinguished Teaching Award
Mako Koyama-Hartsfield received the Distinguished Teaching Award for 2011-2012.

Related Programs & Services

UMass International Programs Office