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Sociology of Japan


Admission requirements

Students must be enrolled in the Asian studies MA program.


This seminar examines Japanese society from a sociological perspective to provide students with a basis to launch their own research projects. In combining readings in classical theory with topics in contemporary Japanese society, the course aims to sharpen students’ analytical skills, deepen their insights into Japanese society and develop their independent research and writing skills. The course will therefore not simply introduce to topics in Japanese society, but ask students to pursue an in-depth analysis, which makes use of existing theories and conceptualizations. Topics will include modernity and social change, social inequalities, in particular ethnicity, race, class and gender, as well as the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

Course objectives

The main goal of this seminar is to provide students with a grounding in sociological theory and a good grasp of key aspects of contemporary Japanese society. The course also aims to foster students’ analytical skills through the reading and discussion of social theory, as well as their ability to develop and present their own argument in written work and oral presentations. Students will also receive instructions for conducting independent research, a survey of the literature in their field of interest, and the writing of a major research paper.


Check the timetable on the departmental website.

Mode of instruction


Course load

10 ects = 280 hours
Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars (2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours)
Time for studying the compulsory literature (6 hours x 12 weeks = 72 hours)
Time needed to prepare for presentation and other assignments, to conduct research and write papers: 184 hours)

Assessment method

Participation element (including attendance, assignments and presentation): 35%
Analytic element (position papers): 25%
Research element (research essay 4,000 words): 40%


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

Reading list

See Blackboard, Course Documents