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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Politics and the Economy of Japan (ASST08041)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course provides a survey of the political and economic system of contemporary Japan. The course is divided into three sections, which will deal with Japanese domestic politics, the economic system and Japan's foreign policy, respectively. Each section is introduced with an overview of the basic historical developments and paradigms that govern Japanese politics and the economy and ends with a final discussion of current issues in these fields. Special attention is devoted to the cultural factors that shape Japanese politics and the economy as well as the historically strong ties between these fields.

Priority will be given to students taking Japanese Honours.

All students will be given a formative feedback exercise that will be helpful for the assessment for this course and students' general academic development.
Course description Since the early 1990s, Japan has witnessed tremendous changes and transformations in its political as well as economic structure. The end of the cold war has propelled Japan into a third phase of globalization and set free energies that have hitherto lain dormant. Politically, the 1990s saw the beginning of the end of the long decades of a one-party dominance. Internationally, Japan had to rethink its role and responsibilities in international conflicts and, for the first time since the postwar years, sent its Self Defense Forces overseas (although in a purely ancillary function). Moreover, the rise of China and the increasingly erratic behavior of North Korea present Japan with a number of difficult strategic challenges. Economically, recession has plagued Japan for almost two decades and has necessitated painful reform and restructuring. Unfortunately, these combine with a phenomenon that is characteristic for all highly advanced industrial states but is especially distinctive for Japan, i.e. the phenomenon of the aging society.

Nonetheless, Japan remains the third strongest economy globally and, together with China, will also play an increasingly important role internationally. Moreover, as the phenomenon of the aging society and the development of Japan's labour market shows, Japan is also a particularly valuable case study for comparison with other advanced industrial nations.

This course provides an introduction to Japanese politics and the economy fundamental for advanced courses in Japanese studies, as well as for studies in other disciplines for further comparative research on Japan. As well as from giving an overview of the institutions and actors in Japanese politics and the economy, this course also pays special attention to the role of history and culture that characteristically shape developments in these fields, as well as the historically close interaction and interdependences between Japanese foreign policy, domestic politics and the economy.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. have gained an overview of the history, the institutions and actors in Japanese politics and the economy;
  2. have gained insight into the particular culture and paradigms of Japanese politics and the economy;
  3. understood the intrinsically close relatedness of foreign politics, domestic politics and the economy on Japan;
  4. discussed current issues in Japanese politics and the economy and their possible future development;
  5. produce a well researched and theoretically informed piece of written work in the form of a 2,500 word essay.
Reading List
Amyx, Jennifer Ann, Japan's Financial Crisis: Institutional Rigidity and Reluctant Change, Princeton, N.J. ; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Curtis, Gerald L. (Gerald Leon), The Logic of Japanese Politics: Leaders, Institutions, and the Limits of Change, New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.

Ebbinghaus, Bernhard, and Philip Manow (eds.), Comparing Welfare Capitalism: Social Policy and Political Economy in Europe, Japan and the USA, London: Routledge, 2001

Faison, Elyssa, Managing Women: Disciplining Labor in Modern Japan, Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2007.

Francks, Penelope, The Japanese Consumer: an Alternative Economic History of Modern Japan, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Green, Michael J., and Patrick M. Cronin (eds.), The U.S.-Japan Alliance: Past, Present, and Future, New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1999.

Hamada, Koichi, Anil K Kashyap, and David E. Weinstein (eds.), Japan's Bubble, Deflation, and Long-term Stagnation, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2011.

Hook, Glenn D., Julie Gilson, Christopher W. Hughes and Hugo Dobson, Japan's International Relations: Politics, Economics and Security, 3rd edition, London: Routledge, 2011.

Imai, Jun, The Transformation of Japanese Employment: Reform without Labor, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Iyoda, Mitsuhiko, Postwar Japanese Economy: Lessons of Economic Growth and the Bubble Economy, New York: Springer, 2010.

Katzenstein, Peter, and Takashi Shiraishi (eds.), Beyond Japan: the Dynamics of East Asian Regionalism, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2006.

Kawashima, Yutaka, Japanese Foreign Policy at the Crossroads: Challenges and Options for the Twenty-First Century, Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institutions Press, 2003.

Leheny, David Richard, The Rules of Play: National Identity and the Shaping of Japanese Leisure, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003.

Lumumba-Kasongo, Tukumbi, Japan-Africa Relations, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Mikuni, Akio, Japan's Policy Trap: Dollars, Deflation, and the Crisis of Japanese Finance, Washington, D.C. : Brookings Institution Press, 2003.

Neary, Ian, The State and Politics in Japan, Cambridge, U.K.: Polity, 2002.

Susan J. Pharr and Ellis S. Krauss (eds.), Media and politics in Japan, Honolulu: University of Hawai¿i Press, 1996.

Samuels, Richard J., Securing Japan: Tokyo's Grand Strategy and the Future of East Asia, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007.

Scheiner, Ethan, Democracy without Competition in Japan: Opposition Failure in a One-Party Dominant State, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Stockwin, J. A. A., Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Resurgent Economy, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Pub., 2008.

T¿g¿, Kazuhiko, Japan's Foreign Policy, 1945-2009: the Quest for a Proactive Policy, Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2010.

Vogel, Ezra F., Yuan Ming, and Akihiko Tanaka (eds.), The Age of Uncertainty: the U.S.-China-Japan Triangle from Tiananmen (1989) to 9/11 (2001), Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center, 2004.

Vogel, Ezra F., Yuan Ming, and Akihiko Tanaka (eds.), The Golden Age of the U.S.-China-Japan Triangle, 1972-1989, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Asia Center ; Distributed by Harvard University Press, 2002.

Yoshikawa, Hiroshi, Japan's Lost Decade, Tokyo: LTCB International Library Trust/International House of Japan, 2002.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Essay writing, debate, policy analysis, independent research, group work, note taking
KeywordsAS Pol Econ Jap,Japan,politics,foreign policy,political system,economy
Course organiserDr Holly Stephens
Tel: (0131 6)51 7112
Course secretaryMrs Anne Budo
Tel: (0131 6)50 4161
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