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Sociology of Japan (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian studies (research). Students of other programmes are kindly referred to the regular MA 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, as well as the social consequences and protest resulting from the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

Course objectives

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

  • To become familiar with key topics in Japanese society

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

  • To research, interpret and draw conclusions about specific social phenomena in contemporary Japanese society

  • To develop a comprehensive grasp of relevant theories and concepts, and make original contributions in conducting their research and writing for this course (research MA students).


See timetable of the MA Asian Studies (research).

Mode of instruction


Attendance and active participation are obligatory for the seminars. The convener needs to be informed without delay of any classes missed for a good reason (i.e. due to unforeseen circumstances such as illness, family issues, problems with residence permits, the Dutch railways in winter, etc.). In these cases it is up to the discretion of the convener(s) of the course whether or not the missed class will have to be made up with an extra assignment. The maximum of such absences during a semester is two. Being absent without notification and/or more than two times can result in exclusion from the term end exams and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

Total course load: 10 ects = 280 hours

  • Seminar attendance: 2 hours x 13 weeks = 26 hours

  • Extra contact hours Research MA Students = 6 hours

  • Study of compulsory literature: 7 hours x 13 weeks = 91 hours

  • Assignments: 23 hours

  • Position paper and research paper: 134 hours

Assessment method

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations). It is also unacceptable for students to reuse portions of texts they had previously authored and have already received academic credit for on this or other courses. In such cases, students are welcome to self-cite so as to minimise overlap between prior and new work.

Students must submit their assignment(s) to the blackboard through turnitin, so they can be checked for plagiarism. Submission via email is not accepted.

Assessment and weighing

Partial Assessment Weighing
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, all of which must have at least a passing grade.

The course is an integrated whole. All assessment parts must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


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

Exam Review

Graded papers will be returned with feedback. Students may make an appointment to discuss their papers within 30 days of the publication of their paper grade.


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.

Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.

Reading list


For the Research MA students additional readings will be determined by the convener at a later stage taking into account the students’ fields of interest. The extra sessions will be used to discuss the additional literature.


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 “USIS-Actnbr.”. More information on uSis is available in Dutch and English. You can also have a look at the FAQ.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the webpage on course and exam enrolment for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Dr. Aya Ezawa


Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accommodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.