University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Researching Japan: Skills, Methods and Critiques (ASST08049)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThis course introduces students to theoretical debates in Japanese Studies, translation of Japanese materials, academic Japanese, and autonomous research, all with the aim of preparing students for the demands of the year abroad and the fourth-year of Japanese Studies programme.
Course description This course contains sections on:

1. Various sociological and anthropological approaches to Japanese society.
2. Translation of Japanese written materials into English
3. Research design
4. Critical and analytical skills
5. Japanese presentations skills

The course aims to equip students with the necessary reading, writing and research skills to continue their study of Japanese language and culture at a Japanese university by:

Developing the skills required for research in Japanese Studies

Encouraging them to develop general reading skills in Japanese

Introducing them to the cultural background to Japan and developing their critical knowledge of Japanese Studies
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Japanese 1 (ASST08002) OR Japanese Language 1 (ASST08046)
Co-requisites Students MUST also take: Japanese Language 2 (ASST08047)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 400 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 88, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 8, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 304 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2 x 2000 word essays (15% + 15%)

Reflective report on joint class with Japanese 4 (5%)

2 x Topic-based exercises on authentic Japanese materials (10% + 20%)

Mini-dissertation project consisting of question generation, bibliography task, an essay plan, a short presentation and a 3000 word final essay (30%)

Attendance and Participation (5%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify key theoretical approaches to the study of Japanese society
  2. Reflexively evaluate their own knowledge of Japan
  3. Critique academic work on Japan in terms of theory, method, evidence and argument
  4. Produce simple translations of Japanese text and conduct basic presentations using academic Japanese
  5. Design and conduct autonomous research on contemporary Japanese society
Reading List
Allison, A., 1991. Japanese Mothers and Obent┐s: The Lunch-Box as Ideological State Apparatus. Anthropological Quarterly, 64(4), pp.195-208.

Befu, H., 2003. Globalization Theory from the Bottom Up: Japan's Contribution. Japanese Studies, 23(1), pp.3-22.

Benedict, R., 1989. The chrysanthemum and the sword: patterns
of Japanese culture, Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin.

Borovoy, A., 2008. Japan┤s Hidden Youths: Mainstreaming the Emotionally Distressed in Japan. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 32(4), pp.552-576.

Burgess, C., 2012. Maintaining Identities: Discourses of Homogeneity in a Rapidly Globalizing Japan. Electronic Journal of Japanese Studies, Article 1 in 2004. Available from:

Doi, T., 1981. The anatomy of dependence, Tokyo: Kodansha

Goodman, R. & Refsing, K. eds., 2002. Ideology and practice in modern Japan. Chapter 4.

Hambleton, A., 2012. Reinforcing identities? Non-Japanese residents, television and cultural nationalism in Japan. Contemporary Japan, 23(1), pp.27-47.

Hata, H. & Smith, W.A., 1983. Nakane's Japanese society as utopian thought. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 13(3), pp.361-388.

Hendry, J., 2013. Understanding Japanese Society, Abingdon: Routledge.

Hirayama, Y. & Ronald, R., 2008. Baby-boomers, Baby-busters and the Lost Generation: Generational Fractures in Japan's Homeowner Society. Urban Policy and Research, 26(3), pp.325

Iida, Y., 2005. Beyond the 'feminization of masculinity': transforming patriarchy with the "feminine" in contemporary Japanese youth culture. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 6(1), pp.56-74.

Kam, T.H., 2013. The common sense that makes the "otaku": rules for consuming popular culture in contemporary Japan. Japan Forum, 25(2), pp.151-173.

Kanno, Y., 2000. Kikokushijo as bicultural. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 24(3), pp.361-382.

Konagaya, H., 2004. The Christmas cake: A Japanese tradition of American prosperity. The Journal of Popular Culture, 34(4), pp.121-13.

Mathews, G., 1996. What makes life worth living? How Japanese and Americans make sense of their worlds, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Nakane, C., 1970. Japanese society, Berkeley: University of
California Press.

Nemoto, K., 2008. Postponed Marriage: Exploring Women's Views of Matrimony and Work in Japan. Gender & Society, 22(2), pp.219-237.

Oikawa, S. & Yoshida, T., 2007. An identity based on being different: A focus on Biethnic individuals in Japan. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 31(6), pp.633-653.

Ozawa-de Silva, C., 2008. Too Lonely to Die Alone: Internet Suicide Pacts and Existential Suffering in Japan. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 32(4), pp.516-551.

Reed, S.R., 1993. Making common sense of Japan, Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Chapter 2.

Robertson, J., 2008. A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan, Wiley-Blackwell. Chapter 5.

Rohlen, T.P., 1989. Order in Japanese society: Attachment, authority, and routine. Journal of Japanese Studies, 15(1), pp.5-40.

Rosenberger, N.R., 1992. Japanese sense of self, Cambridge [England]; New York,NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 6.

Ryang, S., 2002. Chrysanthemums Strange Life: Ruth Benedict in Postwar Japan. Asian Anthropology, 1, pp.87-116.

Slater, D., H., and Galbraith, P., W., 2011. `Re-narrating Social Class and Masculinity in Neoliberal Japan: an examination of the media coverage of the Akihabara Incident of 2008.┤ Article 7, (accessed 26 July 2011).

Sugimoto, Y. & Mouer, R. eds., 1989. Constructs for understanding Japan, London; New York; New York, NY, USA: K. Paul International: Distributed by Routledge, Chapman, and Hall. Chapter 10.

Weiner, M. ed., 1997. Japan's minorities: the illusion of homogeneity, London; New York: Routledge. Chapter 8.6.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsAS Res Japan
Course organiserDr Christopher Perkins
Tel: (0131 6)50 4174
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information