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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
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 will develop your critical skills as a Japanese Studies researcher and set you up for conducting research in Japan and in your final year dissertation.

The first semester is geared towards helping you find your own voice. We will develop together a vocabulary for talking about Japan and then use that vocabulary to read and critique a range of classic works in Japanese Studies. Through this process you will be encouraged to reflect on theories, methods and problems associated with research on Japan, and will be assessed both on your reflective development and your ability to discuss the literature.

The second semester is all about the dissertation, albeit in 'mini' form. As we continue to explore the Japanese Studies literature, you will formulate, develop, conduct and write up your own mini dissertation. This sounds scary, but don't worry - the course will supply you with a process for conducting you research and plenty of feedback along the way.

By the end of this course you will be more confident reading and discussing the literature on Japan and will have taken your first strides into fully-fledged academic research. And hopefully that 4th year dissertation won't seem such a daunting task anymore.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed ( Japanese Language Beginner (ASST08059) AND Japanese Language Post Beginner (ASST08058)) OR ( Japanese Language Post Beginner (ASST08058) AND Japanese Language Pre-Intermediate (ASST08057)) OR ( Japanese Language Pre-Intermediate (ASST08057) AND Japanese Language Lower Intermediate (ASST08060))
Co-requisites Students MUST also take: ( Japanese Language Pre-Intermediate (ASST08057) AND Japanese Language Lower Intermediate (ASST08060)) OR ( Japanese Language Lower Intermediate (ASST08060) AND Japanese Language Mid-Intermediate (ASST08069)) OR ( Japanese Language Mid-Intermediate (ASST08069) AND Japanese Language Upper Intermediate (ASST08068))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
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. 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 secretaryMiss Hope Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)50 4167
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