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Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea

Issues in Post-war Japanese Society 2

Course Code:
155901330
Unit value:
0.5
Year of study:
Year 1 or Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2

The course is designed to offer a critical overview of changes occurring in the late 20th century Japanese culture and society to Year 1 and/or Year 2 undergraduate students. The course will complement and enhance the offerings available in the section, especially in bringing in the contemporary perspective on Japan which is essential for preparing the students for their 3rd year abroad.

Prerequisites

No pre-requisites are required though a basic knowledge of Japanese culture would be an advantage.  This course is available to Year 1 and/or Year 2 students as an open option on all SOAS degrees.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, the students will be able to demonstrate a clear knowledge about the discourses dominating present-day Japanese culture and society. The course will make use of (Japanese) media in order to familiarise them with self-representations as well as help them to discover how these discourses have entered the Japanese mainstream.  While Issues in post-war Japanese society I deals more with the political aspects of life in Japan, this course will look at the cultural side, discuss changes that Japanese society has undergone and make the students think critically about them by incorporating a wide range of sources.

Classroom discussions will encourage the students to develop a critical awareness of present-day Japan and question their own stereotypes and images – which will be underlined by the essay, in which the students will be familiarised with bibliographic methods, taking also into account how sources from the world wide web should be dealt with. Furthermore, in the essay the students will be encouraged to make critical use of a wide range of media, such as books, academic journals and newspapers.  The course is essential for anyone planning to further investigate contemporary Japanese culture and society in course of their degree.

Workload

This is a one term course taught over 10 weeks with a 2-hour lecture per week.

Scope and syllabus

Whereas the course 'Issues in post-war Japanese society I' (term 1) focuses more on the political discourses at work in post-war Japan, this course is designed to look at post-war Japanese (popular) culture and society. Specific topics to be dealt with thus include: 

  • changes of gender roles 
  • challenges of an ageing society 
  • youth culture 
  • developments in popular culture

Method of assessment

One 2-hour written examination in May/June (60%); one 3,000 word essay due in Week 1, Term 3 on the day in which the class is taught (40%).

Suggested reading

  • Iwabuchi Koichi (2002): Recentering Globalisation. Popular culture and Japanese Transnationalism. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Craig, Timothy J. (ed.) (2000): Japan Pop! : Inside the World of Japanese Popular Culture. Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe.
  • Coulmas, Florian (2007): Population Decline and Ageing in Japan. The Social Consequences. New York: Routledge.
  • Harootunian, Harry and Yoda Tomiko (eds.) (2006): Japan after Japan. Social and Cultural Life from the Recessionary 1990s to the Present. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Schodt, Frederik L (1996): Dreamland Japan. Writings on Modern Manga. Berkeley CA: Stone Bridge Press.
  • Schodt, Frederik L. (1997): Manga! Manga! The World of Japanese Comics. With a foreword by Osamu Tezuka. Tokyo, New York : Kodansha International.
  • McCarthy, Helen (2002): Hayao Miyazaki. Master of Japanese Animation. Films, Themes, Artistry. Berkeley, Calif. : Stone Bridge Press, 2002
  • Penn, Wm. (2003): The Couch Potato Guide to Japan. Inside the World of Japanese TV. Forest River Press.
  • Roberson, James E. and Suzuki Nobue (eds.) (2003): Men and Masculinity in Contemporary Japan. Dislocating the Salaryman Doxa. London: RoutledgeCurzon.
  • Lebra, Takie Sugiyama (2007): Identity, Gender and Status in Japan. Collected Papers of Takie Lebra. Folkestone/Kent: Global Oriental.
  • Macias, Patrick and Machiyama Tomohiro (2004): Cruising the Anime City. An Otaku Guide to neo Tokyo. Berkeley/CA: Stone Bridge Press.
  • Rebick, Marcus and Takenaka Ayumi (eds.) (2008): The Changing Japanese Family. London: Routledge.
  • Gravett, Paul (2004): Manga. Sixty Years of Japanese Comics. London: Laurence King.