About Our Department

Welcome to the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. EALC explores the complexity and richness of human experience as expressed in the languages, histories, cultures, and literatures of China, Japan, and Korea. Not only are the civilizations of East Asia among the world's most ancient, these three cultural and linguistic areas have also come to play a vital role in today's global economy.

EALC offers a wide-ranging and diverse curriculum by means of which students may acquire knowledge and understanding of the literary, historical and cultural expressions of East Asia from ancient times up to the present. Our language programs also foster the ability to negotiate meaning in a culturally and contextually appropriate manner through the development of high levels of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The emphasis in the East Asian Language and Culture programs (with concentrations on Chinese, Japanese or Korean), is on achieving high competency in the relevant language and learning how to read texts from the target culture—literary, philosophical, cultural, historical, or even visual—with an informed appreciation of the contexts in which they were produced.  The goal of all of these studies -- language, textual and interdisciplinary -- is to acquire the cultural sensitivities needed to become sophisticated scholars and educated global citizens, as well as to provide a deeper appreciation of our common cultural experience and the intrinsic value of humanistic study.

Tigers, Fairies, and Gods: Enchanting Folktales from Korea

Tigers, Fairies, and Gods: Enchanting Folktales from Korea

crab apple blossoms in the foreground of Brookings hall.

Being able to study in the Japanese Language Program at Wash U is, without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences of my time at Wash U. And it is studying Japanese that inspired me to pick up a few novels in Japanese-to-English translation in the summer before my sophomore year - which, in turn, took me so completely that I couldn't wait until the fall to declare my major in Japanese Language and Culture. Ultimately, I loved being a part of EALC at Wash U. I loved being a part of the Japanese Language Program.

―Katarina Lacy KlafkaMajor in Japanese Language & Culture, Minor in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, '16