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Japan in the 21st Century: Sociological Perspectives


Admission requirements

There are no entry requirements for this course.


This course introduces to postwar Japanese society from a sociological perspective. A sociological approach not only means gaining more knowledge about major aspects of Japanese society, but also looking for ways to explain the origins of specific social phenomena. The goal of this class is thus to become acquainted with major topics in postwar Japanese society, but also to acquire tools for critically analyzing specific social issues. Topics will include the living and working conditions of different groups of people in contemporary Japan, family and parenthood, migration and ethnic identities, and class inequalities, as well as the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and its aftermath, among others. Course materials include academic journal articles and book chapters, media coverage as well as audio-visual materials.

Course objectives

  1. To develop a good understanding of central aspects of, and key social issues in contemporary Japanese society.
    1. To acquire an understanding of and be able to explain central sociological concepts relevant to the study of Japanese society.
    2. To learn how to read academic literature, identify and explain key arguments, and develop the ability to synthesize assigned reading materials.


See timetable

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • 5 ects x 28 hours =140 hours

  • Weekly lectures: 2 hours x 13 weeks = 26 hours

  • Preparations: readings approx. 40 pages = 7 hours x 13 weeks = 91 hours

  • Webpostings and exam preparation 19 hours

  • Exams: 2× 2 hours = 4 hours

Assessment method

  • Midterm exam (open questions and essay): 40%

  • Final exam (open questions and essay): 45%

  • Assignments (webpostings): 15%

All partial elements (both exams and assignments) of the course must be passed to receive a passing grade for the course. The course grade will be based on the weighted average of all course elements, with the condition that all partial elements must have been completed successfully to receive a passing grade.


Resits for both, the midterm and final exam will take place during the resit period in January. Students who have failed one of the two exams only need to complete a resit for the exam they failed. Students who failed both exams will need to retake both exams.

Exam review

Students may make an individual appointment with the instructor within 30 days of the announcement of the exam grades in order to view their exam.

This course is an ‘aanvullende eis’, in other words, a required element of the BA Japanstudies. Students enrolled in the BA Japanstudies program must pass this course in order to proceed to the second year of their studies.


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

See Blackboard


Registration through uSis. Not registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte zie link

Registration Contractonderwijs zie link


Dr.A. Ezawa