SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Nation and Empire in Modern Japanese History 1868-1945

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 4
Taught in:
Term 2
This module looks at major intellectual themes in Japan’s modern century, such as nationalism, imperialism, liberalism and fascism. Students should get a reading list from the lecturer by the end of the first term. Teaching involves close reading of Japanese texts, lectures in English and discussion in English and Japanese.


Intermediate level Japanese

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The module focuses on the intellectual history of Modern Japan since the Meiji Restoration by translating Japanese academic books into English. At the end of the module, a student will be able to appreciate critically how Modern Japan adopted and developed the concepts of nationalism, imperialism, democracy and fascism. They are also expected to give presentations and get involved in discussions and, in consequence, they will have developed a critical way of looking at the topic itself, as well as achieving the skills to translate.


Total of 10 weeks teaching comprising of one two-hour and one one-hour classroom session per week. The lectures are in English with close reading of Japanese texts and discussion in Japanese on select topics.

Method of assessment

Combination of a two-hour written examination (60%) taken in May/June. The exam comprises translation, comprehension and an essay question in English. One essay in English of 3000 words (40%). Submission date to be announced.

Suggested reading

  • K Pyle, The Making of Modern Japan.
  • W G Beasley, The Rise of Modern Japan.
  • Course pack


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules