The Japanese language and culture have exerted enormous influence over East Asia for millennia. In more recent times, Japan and Australia have forged a close bilateral relationship that is characterised by common economic and security interests. Since the 1960s the two countries have forged close trading ties, with Japan moving to become Australia’s second largest export market. A Freed Trade Agreement was concluded between the two countries in 2014.

The study of Japanese at Barker encompasses both the ancient traditions as well as the contemporary issues that are found in Japan today. Students have the opportunity to experience Shinto temples, typical sports (such as kendo, sumo and judo), calligraphy and the majesty of the Japanese writing script. The modern phenomena of anime and manga and their impact upon the wider world is also a familiar feature of the students’ program of study.

For over 25 years Barker has worked closely with our sister school in Sugao, Tokyo. This relationship has underpinned the linguistic and cultural experiences that our students enjoy in their classes each day. The two school share contact through regular exchanges, school tours and Skype lessons. The commitment of both schools to developing intercultural understanding has spawned a generation of Barker graduates who are outstanding Japanese speakers with a high level of understanding and empathy towards the world around them.

Students are sometimes surprised to learn that prominent Japanese speakers include:

  • Eddie Jones (former Wallaby coach)
  • Natalie Portman (actress)
  • Steven Segal (actor)