KYOTO Castle in the Sky

Kyoto Consortium (KCJS) Summer: Classical Japanese

Language of Instruction: Japanese, English
Term: Summer

Learn how to read and translate classical Japanese in the heart of Kyoto, where many classical literary works were set.

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Due to the unpredictable nature of the spread of COVID-19 worldwide, the KCJS Summer: Classical Japanese program has been cancelled for Summer 2020.


Watch our most recent online information session here:


This six-week summer program introduces classical Japanese to students with an existing proficiency in modern Japanese, who wish to strengthen their understanding of Japanese culture by immersing themselves in the historical, literary texts through a blend of classwork and excursions in Kyoto.

Program Overview

The KCJS Summer Program in Classical Japanese is designed for students who have proficiency in modern Japanese but usually have not studied classical Japanese before. Taught in English, the course offers a systematic, intensive introduction to the grammar of classical Japanese, which will enable you to read authentic texts with a dictionary by the end of the term. Studying at KCJS for the summer will enable you to:

  • Learn classical Japanese under the guidance of a renowned scholar of Classical Japanese
  • Raise your Japanese language proficiency to a higher level in a short period of time
  • Live in Kyoto, one of the most beautiful and historical cities in the world
  • Participate in a variety of hands-on, cultural experiences in a city steeped in history and renowned for its traditional and modern artists, artisans, and musicians
  • Live with a local Japanese family in a homestay or make your own arrangements to live in an apartment

KCJS is centrally located in Kyoto on the Imadegawa campus of Doshisha University, bounded on the south by the Imperial Palace grounds, and to the northeast by Shokokuji temple.

Mission Statement

To enrich, augment, and advance the study of Japan, Japan in the world, and the Japanese language for college students engaged in Japanese studies in the consortium institutions, and elsewhere, regardless of major, minor, or program, and in doing so to take full advantage of its location in Kyoto.

The Consortium

Established in September 1989, KCJS is a consortium of 13 American universities which sponsors this rigorous, academic program. Columbia University serves as the lead administrative institution of the consortium and works with the KCJS staff and board of delegates members from each consortium school to oversee all aspects of the program.

Members of the consortium include:

Boston University, Brown University, University of Chicago, Columbia University/Barnard College, Cornell University, Emory University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Stanford University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Yale University in association with the University of Virginia.

The KCJS welcomes applications from outside of the consortium.

Eligibility and Application

  • Application Deadline: February 1, 2020
  • Acceptance Notification: February 15, 2020
  • Confirmation of Participation Due: March 1, 2020

Eligibility for Classical Japanese:

  • Open to undergraduates and graduate students in good academic standing. Recent graduates may also apply.
  • Must have completed three years of college-level Japanese or the equivalent.
  • Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Minimum 3.0 average GPA in Japanese language courses.


Want to apply? Click the “Start Your Application" button at the top of this page. If the button doesn't appear above, the program is not yet accepting applications. You will be asked to set up a short profile, which will allow us to send you relevant information about your application. Once you’ve created a profile, you will see a checklist of items that you will need to submit. These generally include:

  • Application questionnaire(s)
  • Personal statement
  • One letter of recommendation
    • Classical Japanese applicants need to submit one academic recommendation. This recommendation should be completed by someone who has taught you in a class where the focus is not language and who can comment on your academic/critical skills. This may be an upper level literature/culture class taught in another language. You may ask a TA or discussion group leader if you have only taken large lecture classes. You do not need a Japanese language recommendation.The recommendation may be written in English or Japanese.
  • Official transcript(s)

Kyoto-based Website

Visit the Kyoto-based KCJS Summer Website to find comprehensive information about:

  • academics
  • dates of the program
  • housing options
  • extracurricular activities
  • student experiences including photos, videos and blogs
  • KCJS staff and faculty
  • Doshisha University
  • Kyoto

Grades and Transcripts

Grading Policy

Click here for the Columbia summer program grading policies.

If you are a Columbia/Barnard student who would like to continue studying Japanese after participating in KCJS, you should review the Japanese Language Program's policies about placing into the next level of Japanese upon your return to campus.


Upon successful completion of the program, grades are entered into Columbia's online grading system and students can request a Columbia University transcript. Non-Columbia students (including Barnard) can request electronic transcripts online through the Columbia University registrar.

No credit is granted to students who do not complete the full program.

Financial Considerations


Program Fee Summer 2020: $4,330

Please see our cost breakdown for detailed information on additional estimated expenses Classical Japanese.

Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustees approval and may change.


If you are on financial aid, check to see if it can be applied to studying abroad. In general summer financial aid is not available to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering students, but may be available to School of General Studies students. Non-Columbia students should check with their home schools for funding availability.

Funding Your Summer in Kyoto

Eligible students may apply for the following scholarships applicable to this program:

Freeman Awards for Study in Asia
Created to assist U.S. undergraduate students (U.S. citizens or permanent residents only) with demonstrated financial need and limited prior experience in East and Southeast Asia, Freeman-ASIA will fund a select group of U.S. students with awards ranging from $3,000 per student for summer study and $5,000 per semester, to a maximum of $7,000 for a full year abroad. Prospective students should visit the Freeman-ASIA website for eligibility requirements, full application instructions and a list of deadlines.

KCJS Summer Scholarship
KCJS awards limited need-based scholarships. The number and amount of awards vary depending on the pool of applicants, and awards usually range between $500 and $2,000. To apply, please select the "KCJS Summer Scholarship" option in the "UGE Administered Scholarship" questionnaire in your online application.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Scholarship (FLAS)
Find out who administers the summer FLAS program at your home school. For Columbia/Barnard students, the FLAS Fellowship competition is open to undergraduates and graduate students, including Ph.D. candidates, who are U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents. Undergraduates must be applying to study the third year level of the language or above.

Columbia students may also be eligible to apply for the following scholarships:

Ishizuka Global Fellowship in East Asian Studies
This grant has been created to provide funding assistance for current Columbia College students on financial aid who wish to study abroad during the summer in Asia. Preference shall be given first to students engaged in the study of Japanese language and culture and second, to students engaged in the study of other East Asian languages and cultures, but whose research and interests include Japan.

Shirato Fund for Japanese Language Study
The Shirato Fund Scholarships will provide two $2,000 scholarships to undergraduates and graduate students accepted to Columbia-approved intensive Japanese-language study programs for the summer. Please note that awardees will be required to take a Japanese course upon their return to Columbia in the fall; to submit a short report on your use of the scholarship; and to give a presentation at the study abroad information session about the language program in which you participate. Contact Fumiko Nazikian for more info.

Weatherhead East Asian Institute Funding
Columbia University's WEAI offers funding for research, language acquisition, unpaid internships, and dissertation write-up during the summer and academic year to selected Columbia students committed to professional and academic engagement with East and Southeast Asia. Eligibility varies depending on the particular funding opportunity.

Summer Language Fellowship for International Ph.D. Students
The Summer Language Fellowship for International Students supports international Ph.D. students (who are not permanent residents) in the humanities and social sciences at Columbia who need to study a foreign language (applies to all languages) abroad during the summer. The fellowship award maximum is $3,000. Students can apply online and should contact with questions.

For more general information and resources on financing your time abroad, please see the pages below:


If you decide to withdraw from the program once it has already started, please be aware of the financial consequences and the office policies by clicking here.


Visit the Kyoto-based KCJS website to learn about the program's Resident Director, Summer Programs Academic Director, on-site staff and faculty members.

Resources for Accepted Students

Fact Sheet

Foreign Language Learning
Barnard College, Columbia Graduate Students, Columbia Undergraduates, Consortium Member School Students, Non-Columbia Graduate Students, Non-Columbia Undergraduates
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
Three years of college-level Japanese or the equivalent
Asia and the Pacific

Dates & Deadlines

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, February 1, 2020
Admissions Decision Date: 
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Program Dates: 
Wednesday, June 10, 2020 to Friday, July 24, 2020