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Politics East Asia


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.
Limited places are also open for exchange students. Please note: this course takes place in The Hague.


East Asia is a region of immense political diversity, where electoral democracies like South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan exist side-by-side with authoritarian countries like the People’s Republic of China and North Korea. Regional processes in East Asia range from close cooperation to outright hostilities – recent territorial disputes between China and Japan being just one of many examples from this dynamic region.
This course discusses key issues and approaches in the study of East Asian politics. It introduces political systems and processes, as well as their evolution in East Asian countries. Drawing from political science concepts such as power, legitimacy, and participation, the course examines what factors shape domestic politics in China, Japan, and Korea. In addition, the course introduces key dynamics of East Asian international relations.

Course objectives

Participants in this course will acquire the following:

  • A systematic understanding of how political theories and concepts may apply to East Asian contexts.

  • Comparative insights into political institutions in different East Asian countries.

  • In-depth knowledge of domestic and regional political dynamics in East Asia.

  • The ability to contextualize politics in East Asia and to persuasively discuss, orally and in writing, what drives political developments in the region.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture per week; tri-weekly tutorials.

Attending all tutorial sessions is compulsory. If you are unable to attend a session, please inform the tutor of the course in advance, providing a valid reason for your absence. Being absent without notification and valid reason or not being present at half or more of the tutorial sessions will mean your assignments will not be assessed, and result in a 1.0 for the tutorial (30% of the final grade).

Course Load

Total course load for this course is 5 EC (1 EC = 28 hours), this equals 140 hours, broken down by:

  • Atending lectures: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks: 24 hrs

  • Atending attending tutorials 2 hours per three weeks: 8 hrs

  • Assessment hours (midterms and final exam): 4 hrs

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature: 68 hrs

  • Time for completing assignments, preparation classes and exams: 36 hrs

Assessment method


Midterm Exam:

  • Written examination with closed questions (eg multiple choice)
    Final exam:

  • Written examination with short open questions and essay questions.
    Tutorial: including 2000-2500 word literature review.


Tutorials 30%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 40 %

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material, replacing both the earlier mid- and endterm grades. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

The general required reading for the respective weekly lecture sessions and tutorial sessions will be listed on blackboard. In addition, students not yet familiar with contemporary East Asia are advised to read the following very short introductions:

  • Goto-Jones, Christopher (2009), Modern Japan – A Very Short Introduction. Oxford et al.: Oxford University Press.

  • Mitter, Rana (2008), Modern China – A Very Short Introduction. Oxford et al.: Oxford University Press.
    Students interested in further deepening their understanding of the region may also find the following books worthwhile:

  • Joseph, William A. (ed.) (2010), Politics in China: An Introduction. Oxford et al.: Oxford University Press.

  • Kil, Soong Hoom & Moon, Chung-in (eds) (2001), Understanding Korean Politics: An Introduction. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

  • Stockwin, James Arthur Ainscow (2008), Governing Japan – Divided Politics in a Resurgent Economy (4th ed.). Oxford et al.: Blackwell Publishing.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Dr. F.A. Schneider