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Sino-Japanese Relations


Admission requirements

A foundation level knowledge of Contemporary East Asian politics and international relations is strongly encouraged. Japan Studies Students in the PEIR cluster may take this course. All students must complete the preparatory reading in the handbook in preparation for the course.


Sino-Japanese relations are at the heart of international politics of the East Asian region, but it is a relationship that is often poorly understood. This course seeks to challenge common misperceptions and to provide a balanced understanding of Sino-Japanese relations. Focusing on history, political economy and security aspects, students will be challenged to examine this complex relationship from a variety of theoretical standpoints and by considering the perspectives of both Chinese and Japanese actors. Who are the key actors in Sino-Japanese relations? Can Sino-Japanese relations be accurately captured by the adage of ‘hot economics – cold politics’? How do these two powers address the main strategic issues in the East Asian region? How do disputes over the past continue to undermine Sino-Japanese relations today? Apart from content-focused sessions investigating these and other questions, this course will also provide learning opportunities to develop important research skills, including abilities to critically review academic literature, articulate viable research questions, and identify and explore appropriate research methods. Studens will be expected to practice these and other skills by critically assessing the work of other students and providing peer feedback.

Course objectives

This module aims to provide a critical examination of key issues and processes related to contemporary Sino-Japanese relations and key learning opportunuities to develop demonstrable cognitive, communicative, and transferable skills. By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an advanced understanding of the complex issues in Sino-Japanese relations;

  • Apply complex conceptual tools to analyze key events and processes in Sino-Japanese relations;

  • Identify and critique major academic texts on Sino-Japanese relations, conceive and structure a literature review, and develop an argument based on individual research;

  • Critically assess work of other students and offer constructive feedback and effectively incorporate feedback into their own work.


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Mode of instruction


Assessment method


  • Participation element: course participation, interactive assignments, peer review, presentations, etc.

  • Research element: critical literature review / research paper


The final grade consists of the weighted average of the two course components:

  • Participation element: 50%

  • Research element: 50%


A resit for the research element is allowed if a student scores a non-passing grade (5,49 or lower) on the first attempt.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Core textbook: Yahuda, M. 2013. Sino-Japanese Relations After the Cold War: Two Tigers Sharing a
Mountain, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.

A Course Handbook denoting further mandatory course readings will be posted on Brightspace before the start of the course. Additional information (powerpoints, useful websites, etc.) will also be found on Brightspace over the course of the semester (block).


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Contact V.K. Chang