SOAS University of London

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

Contemporary Japanese Society (PG)

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2022/2023
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

The module is designed to offer a critical overview of changes occurring in the late 20th century Japanese culture and society. The module will provide students with an overview of issues facing contemporary Japanese society.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. Identify the range of approaches related to the field of Japanese Studies.
  2. Critically discuss the main discourses dominating present day Japanese culture and
  3. Apply multi-disciplinary methods and theories.
  4. Analyse a wide range of evidence and materials, including statistics, historical documents,
    newspapers, books and academic journals. 
  5. Design an interdisciplinary research project that contributes to the field of Japanese


Total taught hours: 20 hours. 1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar for 10 weeks.

Independent study: 130 hours

Total hours for module: 150 hours

Scope and syllabus

This module is designed to look at post-war Japanese (popular) culture and society. Specific topics to be
dealt with include: 

  • changes of gender roles
  • challenges of an ageing society
  • identity and minority issues

Method of assessment

Reaction paper of 1000 words (25%).

Essay of 2,500 - 3,000 words (75%).

Suggested reading

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Rebick, Marcus and Takenaka Ayumi (eds.) (2008): The Changing Japanese Family. London: Routledge.
  • Gordon, Andrew (2003): A Modern History of Japan. Oxford: Oxford UP.
  • Weiner, Michael (ed.) (1997): Japan's Minorities. The Illusion of Homogeneity. London: Routledge.
  • Rien T. (2008): A New Japan for the 21st Century. An Inside Overview of Current Fundamental Changes.
    Milton Park et al.: Routledge.
  • Nozaki Yoshiko (2008): War Memory, Nationalism and Education in Post-War Japan, 1945-2007. The
    Japanese History Textbook Controversy and Ienaga Saburo’s Court Challenges. New York: Routledge.
  • Befu Harumi (2001): Hegemony of Homogeneity. An Anthropological Analysis of Nihonjinron. Melbourne:
    Trans Pacific Press.
  • Oguma Eiji (2002): A Genealogy of 'Japanese' Self-images. Translated by David Askew. Melbourne:
    Trans Pacific Press.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules