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Students Video: Why you should join Japanese


MSJHS 2013-2014 AP Japanese Karoake Performance (Boys)


MSJHS 2013-2014 AP Japanese Karoake Performance (Girls)


Tsunami Benefit Concert


Japanese Language students Tsunami Relief Benefit a huge success!  
              $6100 raised for relief efforts! 


Read more. . .

Top Five Reasons to Take Japanese at MSJ


M. Okamura

MSJ Japanese Field Day  


This Japanese Field Day is called Undoukai (Athletic Tournament). Undoukai is held in all schools and many companies in October. Students from Hopkins can experience The Opening March, the Human Knot Event,  the Pokemon Scavenger Hunt, and the Donut Eating Relay.  There are a lot of prizes for Hopkins students!

Class Anime


Letter to Parents in Hopkins Dear Parents,

Dear Parents,             

My name is Mariko Okamura, and I am one of the Japanese teachers at Mission San Jose High School. Japanese has been a very rewarding and successful language program that students around the district have only been able to enroll in at Mission. Julia Madsen and I have enjoyed building the Japanese program, working with such exceptional, hard-working students, and celebrating the unique culture of Japan through study of the language as well as many fun program-wide activities: Annual Field Days, and Karaoke & Food Festivals.

As the program usually consists of 4-6 classes, students find that they progress together from class to class. This creates a family like environment, where students can look forward to working and growing with the same students throughout each high school year experience. This becomes even more pronounced in the upper levels of the program, where we see the Juniors and Seniors playing the creative and leadership roles in our Japanese events.

We would like to invite your student to experience the fun and exciting Japanese program here at MSJHS. The program only takes 4 years to complete, so if your student enrolls as a freshman, they would be able to take the AP exam their senior year. Additionally, every year many of our students earn Japanese scholarships and internship positions providing them with a 4-6 week homestay experience in Japan.

Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu!

Mariko Okamura (Japanese Instructor)


 Ideal schedule for taking Japanese:

Freshmen: Japanese 1
Sophomores: Japanese 2
Junior: Japanese 3
Senior: AP Japanese

 AP Japanese score average:     

   2017  2016 2015 2014 2013

AP score average





Passing rate








Want to take Japanese? Read This!! (FAQs)



1. Why even take ‘foreign language’? 

The more languages you speak, the more adaptable you become in this world society. Try to become trilingual or more!  I am used to teaching at a college level, and I have found that high school students acquire a natural fluency much quicker & easier.  

2. So what’s so cool about taking Japanese?  

What do people normally say, when they hear of students taking Japanese?  . . . “That’s so cool!” Because they know that the Japanese culture is so very cool & special.  I believe University Administrators feel the same way – because generally these language students are very smart.


3. Why is it fun to take Japanese at MSJH?

Because the MSJ Japanese classes are well known for having lots of fun, quarterly activities –  while learning the Japanese language and basic characters.



4. What kinds of activities are there?  


1st quarter – Japanese Field Day Competitions (Undoukai):  Each class competes with lots of fun, traditional Japanese games such as Balloon Crushing, the Donut Eating Event, and the Ball Throwing Event.


4th quarter –  Karaoke Festival: Student groups perform live their own favorite Japanese music video. They sing the Japanese song, & dance while wearing cool costumes and things.


Please see the class website for more about other fun class activities.

5. Why there are so many activities?   


In Japanese schools, these activities are student organized, and student led. They therefore seems to enjoy the quarterly activities much more.


In Japan, the whole class is considered a family; therefore, they are more compelled to assist each other.   Through the various activities, the students have a chance to develop leadership skills, and establish cooperative relationships with one another. This becomes more pronounced in the higher levels (Years 3 & 4) of the program.

6. How do these activities help with learning the language?


Every year, as students develop more confidence about him/herself, their study skills dramatically improve.  Also, because the class atmosphere changes after each activity –  the students grow to feel more supportive and helpful towards each other.  The whole class atmosphere becomes warm and encouraging; which assists with learning of any subject matter!




7. Is the Japanese language difficult? 


No.  Most students say that it is easier than expected.  Once you learn the Japanese ABC’s, you can write any sentence.  95% of the students learn the phonetic letters in the first 3 weeks.  I heard that grammar is simpler than Spanish language.  Japanese has only three tenses. Homework-wise, if students do 15 or 30 minutes of assignments & study every day, they will get an A (or B).  Generally, at least half the class gets A’s!


8. When applying to universities, will you have the opportunity to demonstrate your foreign language skills?




Of course; note both the CSU & UC applications ask how many, and which languages you can speak.  In addition, you can demonstrate your consistent, long-term efforts towards Japanese during college entrance essays.


9. Are there any native Japanese speakers in class? 


Not a lot; we found only about 5% students speak Japanese at home.


10. What was the result of the past AP Japanese Test?   


Every student who took the test passed.  Average score of last year's AP score was 4.2 out of 5.  The students were able to understand manga & anime!! Many students entered the program with these goals in mind. They also understood the natural setting of Japanese conversation, and have a deeper understanding of the culture. They also be able to carry on typical daily conversations with native speakers: 70% of Japanese 3 students have registered for AP Japanese class.