nl en

Sociology of Japan


Admission requirements

Students must be MA students enrolled in the Asian studies MA program.


This seminar examines Japanese society from a sociological perspective. More concretely, in this year’s edition, we will examine Japanese society from the perspective of theories and concepts of race and racism. The course will combine readings on race, ethnicity, and nationhood with a close examination of the ways in which race has been discursively constructed and deployed in various historical and contemporary settings. Topics will include, among others, discourses of empire and wartime propaganda, the representation of minorities and mixed-race children in film, and hip hop in contemporary Japan. Such approach not only offers a new understanding of race in the context of Japanese society – going beyond the assumption that Japan is a mono-ethnic society – but also provides us with new insights into the meaning and dynamics of race and racism in past and present, in Japan and elsewhere.

Course objectives

  • To gain a good understanding of key theories and concepts of race relevant to the study of Japanese society

  • To become familiar with key issues pertaining to race in Japanese society and history

  • To be able to apply relevant theories and concepts to the analysis of race to specific aspects of Japanese society

  • To research, interpret and draw conclusions about race and racism in Japan and beyond


Check timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • Total course load: 10 ects = 280 hours – Seminar attendance: 2 hours x 13 weeks = 26 hours – Study of compulsory literature: 8 hours x 13 weeks = 104 hours) – Assignments: 20 hours – Position paper and research paper: 130 hours

Assessment method

  • Participation (including attendance, weekly webpostings and presentation): 35%

  • Position paper: 25%

  • Research paper (4,000 words): 40%

All course elements must be passed to receive a passing course grade. The course grade is based on the weighted average of all course elements.

There are no resits for the participation element. For the position paper and research paper, the possibiity of a resit applies.


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


Registration through uSis


Email: Dr. A. Ezawa