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Focus 3+4: Postwar Japanese Society


Admission requirements



Japanese society has experienced dramatic changes in the past century, transforming itself from a feudal society into an affluent and highly industrialized nation in record speed. In this course, we will explore the processes that have shaped postwar Japanese society by combining readings on social theory with readings on Japan. Topics will include development, social change and the Japanese ‘Miracle,’ the impact of industrialization and modernity on society, and the experiences of different social groups: salaried men, women, ethnic minorities, activists and youth. We will also explore the social consequences of the Heisei recession, as well as the emergence of new lifestyles in contemporary Japan. The goal of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding of the dynamics of postwar Japanese society, and a theoretical foundation and analytical skills to examine Japanese society from a sociological perspective.

Course objectives

  1. To develop a theoretically informed understanding of the key social issues in postwar Japanese society.
  2. To acquire a basic understanding of key conceptualizations of social inequality and social change.
  3. To develop and extend skills in reading and critically assessing academic texts in writing.


See: Timetable

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Participation element (incl. attendance, and webpostings): 20%

  • Analytical element (analytical essay (1,200-1,500 words)): 40%

  • Summative element (exam): 40%


Blackboard plays an essential part in this course. All important information about the course, including the syllabus, course requirements, and other information, except for the course readings, will be available on the course website. As part of class participation, students will also be required to make weekly postings on the Blackboard website. Internet access is therefore essential in order to complete this course.

Reading list

To be announced.


Enrollment via uSis is mandatory.
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Dr. A. Ezawa