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Asian Studies 120

Introduction to East Asia (Japan)

Credits: 3

Length of Course: 14 weeks

Classroom Hours Per Week:

Prerequisites: C+ or higher in English 098.

Corequisite: English 099​

Text: A Brief History of Japanese Civilization, Schirokauer, Latest Edition

Course Description:

An introduction to the culture and history of Japan, from the early period (Jomon and Yayoi), through the rise of feudalism and the development of a modern state. The emphasis is on gaining an awareness and understanding of contemporary Japanese society by studying its geographical, economic and political context, as well as its historical antecedents. Topics included are, music, literature and language, religion, education, business, international relations and family life.

Course Outline:

Week Title
Weeks 1- 2 1. The Prehistory of the Japanese Archipelago
2. The Early State
Weeks 3 - 4 3. The Heian Period
4. The Kamakura Period
Weeks 5 - 7 5. Muromachi Japan
6. The Formation of the New Order
7. Tokugawa Shogunate
Weeks 8 - 10 8. Endings and Beginnings
9. Emergence of Modern Japan
10. Imperial Japan
Week 11 - 13 11. Militarism and War
12. The New Japan


5 Tests (short answer, true & false, short essay questions) 50%
Research Paper/Project 10%
Final Exam 30%
Discussion/class participation 10%


Ron Stuart, B.A. (McGill), M.A. ( British Columbia)

Transferability: see