TERM 4 JAPANESE CLASSES BEGIN THE WEEK OF MONDAY 17 OCTOBER 2022. New Introductory cohorts of Japanese 101 begin the week starting Monday 13 February 2023.

Japanese (日本語Nihongo) is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. Japanese has no clear genealogical relationship with Chinese, although it makes prevalent use of Chinese characters, or kanji (漢字), in its writing system, and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese.

Study Japanese with EarthDiverse!

Our Introductory Japanese 101 course begins with a focus on learning hiragana and katakana scripts, writing and reading practice, and includes basic introductory grammar, vocabulary and conversation. Basic everyday vocabulary and expressions will be taught, always with a view to empowering learners so that they feel encouraged to build their own sentences and be able to make some simple conversation during our first Term. Distinctive aspects of the Japanese language will also be addressed, along with simple present and past forms of essential verbs in short sentences.

EarthDiverse currently offers the following Japanese language classes on a rotating and evolving basis, with new intakes of students in Japanese 101 beginning throughout the year, in Term 1 (February), Term 2 (early May) and again in Term 3 (July-August). 101 and 103 courses are usually offered in Terms 1, 2 & 3 each year, and 102 & 104 courses are offered in Terms 2 & 4 each year. If you have some elementary understanding, you may consider starting in a 102 or 103 course as well. When completing one 8-week course, each cohort can begin advancing to the next course in the series.

Please note that all of our Japanese courses are offered pending sufficient enrolment.


LOCATION: EarthDiverse, 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (see map below under Location tab), on-line via Zoom, or through video recordings of our live-streamed sessions posted 1-2 days after each class.

DISTANCE-LEARNING OPTIONS: Our Japanese courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed classes are available via free Zoom software, or those unable to attend the date and time of the actual class sessions can watch the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace. These recorded sessions will be available soon after each class finishes so that you may watch the recorded video via any web-browser at your leisure. Your instructor will provide details on how to access your classes before your course begins.


  • Waged: NZ$150 (includes GST + online registration fee)
  • Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): NZ$125 (includes GST + online registration fee)

EarthDiverse offers the following Japanese language classes on a rotating basis:




Meet our Japanese language instructors:

Dr Mike Roberts, PhD

Mike Roberts began his love affair with Japan and its language and culture in 1969 when he went there to serve as a missionary for two years. On his return from Japan he returned to the University of Auckland where he completed his BA and MA. His first full-time teaching role was at Auckland Grammar School in 1976, teaching Japanese language, mathematics, accounting and economics. He moved to the Department of Japanese (later Department of East Asian Studies) at the University of Waikato in 1985. He completed his PhD in Japanese at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2000, with a research focus on Japanese linguistics and language pedagogy. In 2002 he was appointed Academic Vice President of AIS St Helens, a private degree college in Auckland, retiring in 2014. He has been very active in interfaith work, being the inaugural president of both the Waikato Interfaith Council (2001) and the Auckland Interfaith Council (2003). He and Christine have been happily married for 51 years and have 3 children and 11 grandchildren.

Yurika Arai, MA

Yurika Arai is our Japanese instructor. She was born in Japan and has been living in Hamilton for nearly 30 years. She has both an M Phil (English) and a Masters Degree in Professional Studies. She taught Japanese at the University of Waikato for 15 years and currently works as an early childhood education teacher and a freelance translator. In 2022 Term 1 Yurika will also be teaching our new course in World Cinema on Japanese Anime.

Hidekazu Oka

Hidekazu Oka is a 24 year old originally born in Tokyo, Japan. Before he settled in New Zealand seven years ago, he lived in Singapore for two years, and Taiwan for five years. Hidekazu is currently a third year student at the University of Waikato, double-majoring in Mandarin and Mathematics as well as being a Mandarin class representative in his second year. At the moment, Hidekazu is planning to develop a career teaching Japanese and Mathematics at the secondary school level. In his spare time, Hidekazu enjoys watching motorcycle vlogs, while dreaming to own his own motorcycle again, as well as enjoying authentic Chinese foods.