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Sociology of Japan (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research). Other students are kindly referred to the course offered in the regular MA Asian Studies

There is a limited number of places available for Research MA students to enroll in this course. If you wish to enroll, contact the instructor for permission to enroll as soon as possible, and before registering for the course.


This seminar examines Japanese society from a sociological perspective. In combining readings in classical and contemporary sociological theory with current topics in contemporary Japanese society, the course aims to build students’ disciplinary foundation, and deepen their analytical insights into current issues in Japanese society. Topics will include social inequality and social change, the racial, ethnic, and gender dynamics of contemporary Japanese society, global flows of popular culture, as well as the social consequences and protest resulting from 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. It is aimed to provide students with a broad base from which to develop their own research interests and projects. 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, doing a survey of the literature in their field of interest, and the writing of a research paper.


Check timetable

Mode of instruction

Attendance and participation in discussions are mandatory. Each student is expected having done the assigned readings and prepared to discuss them with others. Bring the book or handout’s we are working on to each meeting. If an emergency requires you to miss a meeting, notify the instructor in time, and be prepared to have another student report on what you missed; you are responsible for seminar information and announcements whether present or not.

Course Load

Total course 10 ects = 280 hours

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars (2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours)

  • Tutorial hours for Research MA students: 3 hours

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature (8 hours x 12 weeks = 96 hours)

  • Time needed to prepare for presentation and other assignments, to conduct research and write papers: 157 hours)

Assessment method

Participation element (including attendance, weekly webpostings and presentation): 35%
Analytic element (3 position papers): 25%
Research element (research essay 5-6,000 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.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.