What a wonderful British man!! I took this class in Spring 2021 in an all-online format and it still managed to be one of my favorite classes at Columbia ever. Professor Kreitman obviously thinks deeply and meaningfully about what it means to talk about "Japanese civilization," and our class featured many aspects of Japan (like the Ainu and Okinawa Prefecture) that have fraught relations the idea of Japan as a nation. The primary texts and readings we did were so, so interesting and drew on lots of literature from various eras in Japan (which as a lit major I was very into). Professor Kreitman was incredibly receptive to feedback and really tried to incorporate things we suggested to him into the course. I took this class 100% as a Global Core requirement having already declared my major, but this class, Professor Kreitman, and the fantastic TAs probably would have single-handedly convinced an uncertain and fresh-faced freshman version of myself to become an EALAC major. Cannot recommend Japan Civ with Prof Kreitman as a Global Core requirement enough.
I want to confirm reviews of this professor. I made a mistake failing to read his reviews before signing up. He likes to pick on students. He decides he doesn’t like you and then will find reasons to yell at you or embarrass you in the class. By the end of the second week with this professor the class lost half its students and those who remained were scared to talk or make a mistake. I can’t recommend enough that you avoid this professor at all costs. He will treat you like trash.
(Note: I took this class during 2020-2021 Academic Year with virtual classes. I had 0 Chinese background prior to the class) Simply the best. She's super nice and kind. She wants to make sure you speak properly(regarding the tones in Mandarin). She makes sure to know everyone 1-on-1. Everyone will participate every day. If you're shy or don't really want to talk, you can just let her know and she'll let you sit in on the class so you don't miss any content. If you're serious about learning Chinese, you will enjoy this class!
Nittono sensei is a really kind woman and a good teacher. I was disappointed to see some mixed reviews because I think most people in my class agreed that she was great. She is passionate about the material (and wants you to be too) and gives beautiful, detailed feedback. She clearly has a sense of humor and keeps class light-hearted. She's even a little quirky; every day she asked what special/obscure/cute holiday it was in Japan (acronyms that are often derived from the dates). If you try to contribute and make a little bit of an effort, you will do well, I think. We regularly read through passages assigned for homework while in class, which didn't feel like the most efficient use of time. She explains the grammar well and will answer ANY and EVERY question. Take advantage of that! I rarely turned things in late so I can't speak to if she's a stickler about deadlines, but she's reasonable and the assignments are clearly outlined on the syllabus so there's not much ambiguity. During our final oral exam, she kept the mood light and cracked jokes so that it didn't even feel like an oral but a conversation. Do not hesitate about taking her section!
Eguchi-sensei was such a joy to have in Zoom school. I take classes late at night where I am, so I thought I'd be dreading coming to class after a long day — but after the first few Japanese classes, I found myself looking forward to class every day. He has such great energy and enthusiasm for teaching that is infectious and encourages you to work hard. Eguchi-sensei adapted to the virtual format so well; he found new ways to incorporate online platforms and digital projects in the curriculum that didn't feel forced and worked well. He also puts in a lot of effort to ensure that we understand the nuances of the language and answers our questions with great examples and clarity. He also responds to emails promptly and seems to care about students' wellbeing. He reaches out when you miss class and asks how you feel if you seem sick. The best thing about Eguchi-sensei, though, is his easygoing disposition. He has these little mannerisms that make him such a likable person (I can't explain it but you'll understand if you take a class with him). In short, he is a very engaging professor who tries his best and is endearingly kind. If you're taking Japanese at Columbia, take it with Eguchi if you can!