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Japan in the 21st Century: Sociological Perspectives



This course introduces to major aspects of postwar Japanese society from a sociological perspective. A sociological approach not only attempts to describe major aspects of a society, but aims to understand and explain them. Hence, our goal is to become acquainted with major topics in postwar Japanese society, but also to acquire tools for critically analyzing these social phenomena. Topics will include the impact of rapid economic growth in the early postwar period on living and working conditions, gender inequality in the workplace, ethnic identities and class inequalities, as well as the 2011 Northern Japan earthquake and its aftermath.

Course objectives

  1. To develop a good understanding of central aspects of, and key social issues in postwar Japanese society.

  2. To acquire an understanding of central sociological concepts relevant to the study of Japanese society

  3. To learn how to read academic literature critically, and develop the ability to synthesize and assess assigned reading materials.


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

Mode of instruction


Course Load

5 ects = 140 hours
Contact hours: 2 hours per week = 12 weeks = 24 hours
Reading: approx. 30 pages + notes per week = 7 hours x 12 weeks = 84 hours
Webpostings, exercises, mentoring sessions, exam preparation = 32 hours

Assessment method

Midterm exam: 40%
Final exam: 45%
Assignments: 15%

Het eindcijfer voor het onderdeel is het gewogen gemiddelde van de uitslagen voor de deeltoetsen, met dien verstande dat het onderdeel alleen voldoende kan zijn wanneer de student voor alle deeltoetsen een voldoende heeft behaald. Indien een of meer van de deeltoetsen onvoldoende zijn, ontvangt de student een onvoldoende (onv.) als uitslag voor het gehele onderdeel.


Blackboard plays an essential part in this course. All important information about the course, including the syllabus, course requirements, information about 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

Verplichte literatuur:

Ishida, Hiroshi, and David Slater (Eds.). 2010. Social Class in Contemporary Japan: Structures, Sorting, and Strategies. London: Routledge. (paperback edition).

See Blackboard, course documents.


Registration through ‘“uSis”: is compulsory. No registration, means no admission to attend this course.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte via:

Registration Contractonderwijs via: