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Sociology of Japan


Admission requirements



This seminar examines Japanese society from a sociological perspective. In combining readings in classical theory with topics in contemporary Japanese society, the course aims to sharpen students’ analytical skills and deepen their insights into Japanese society. The course will therefore not simply introduce to topics in Japanese society, but ask students to pursue an in-depth analysis which makes use of existing theories and conceptualizations. Topics will include modernity and social change, social inequalities, in particular ethnicity, race, class and gender, as well as 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. 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, a survey of the literature in their field of interest, and the writing of a major research paper.


Time and date on which the course is offered or a link to the website.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

Participation element (including attendance, web-postings, class assignments and presentation): 35%
Analytic element (position papers): 25%
Research element (research essay 4,000 words): 40%


Blackboard plays an important role in this course. All important information about the course, including the syllabus, course requirements, and announcements will be available on the course website.

Reading list

See Blackboard