Introduction to Japanese Society

This is the course webpage for Introduction to Japanese Society, Monday Period 3.

Syllabus: 19J2003-日本社会入門
Grading Explanation (Attendance, Active Learning Reading Report, End-of-term Exam): Introduction to Japanese Society Rubric
Active Learning Reading Report: Active Learning Reading Report (Word)Active Learning Reading Report (PDF)

General Reading List:
The following six books are the basic resources for this course. Readings from them appropriate to the lecture each week are listed under “Suggested Reading”:
1) Statistical Handbook of Japan 2019 (“Handbook”)
2) Yoshio Sugimoto, An Introduction to Japanese Society, Cambridge University Press.
3) Joy Hendry, Understanding Japanese Society, Routledge.
4) Jeff Kingston (ed), Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan, Routledge.
5) Peter Matanle, Anthony Rausch with the Shrinking Regions Research Group, Japan’s Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century, Cambria Press.
6) Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, Random House.ケイト・ラワース、「ドーナツ経済学が世界を救う」(河出書房新社、2018年)

Week 1 (7 October) : The Japanese Archipelago – geography, climate, territory

Lecture Materials: 20191007 Introduction
Links: The Science, from The Guardian: “The climate crisis explained in 10 charts”IPCC “AR5 Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” (esp. Part B Regional Aspects Asia). Ministry of the Environment et al, “Climate Change in Japan and its Impacts”. WWF Report, “Nippon Changes”.
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 1, Hendry Chapter 1.

Week 2 (14 October): Population – population shrinkage, rural depopulation, aging society

NB: Due to Typhoon 19 and its effects on graduate school entrance exams (rearranged from the 13th to the 14th), I can only attend the first 5-10 minutes of class today. Please look through the lecture materials and Handbook Chapter 2. Then do an Active Learning Reading Report for one of the articles/videos (Matanle article, OR Muramatsu & Akiyama article , OR Raworth video) listed below. Note that this ALRR only counts as attendance in Week 2 and is not one of the five compulsory ALRRs (in other words, not submitting the report counts as an Absence in Week 2). Print it out and bring it to class on 21 October.

I will tell the “Yubari Story” at the beginning of class in Week 3 (first 15 minutes of class on 21 October).

Lecture Materials: 20191014 Population
Links: Peter Matanle, “Towards an Asia-Pacific ‘Depopulation Dividend’ in the 21st Century” and “The Depopulation Dividend”. Muramatsu & Akiyama, “Japan: Super-Aging Society Preparing for the Future”. Kate Raworth (Video), “A Healthy Economy Should Be Designed to Thrive, Not Grow”.
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 2; Kingston Chapter 14. Matanle et al, Japan’s Shrinking Regions in the 21st Century (Cambria Press 2011).

Week 3 (21 October): Multicultural Japan – minorities, urban vs rural, prefectural characteristics

Lecture Materials: 20191021 Multicultural Japan
Links: Chris Burgess, “Multicultural Japan? Discourse and the ‘Myth’ of Homogeneity “; Kim-Wachutka, “When Women Perform Hate Speech: Gender, Patriotism, and Social Empowerment in Japan”; Uemura and Gayman, “Rethinking Japan’s Constitution from the Perspective of the Ainu and Ryukyu Peoples”. Other links in the lecture materials: Japan Rugby, Equaldex,, Barrier Free Japan, President Online, Kenmin Show, Statistics Japan.
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 2; Sugimoto Chapters 1, 3, 7; Hendry Chapter 4; Kingston Chapters 16, 19. Plus, Eiji Oguma, A Genealogy of Japanese Self-Images (Trans Pacific Press 2002)、小熊英二、「単一民族神話の起源」(新曜社、1995年)

Week 4 (28 October): The State – parliament, bureaucracy, local authorities

Lecture Materials:
Links: Koichi Nakano, “Contemporary Political Dynamics of Japanese Nationalism”. Ministry of the Environment, “Environmental Policy”.
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 17; Sugimoto Chapter 8, 10; Hendry Chapter 11-12; Kingston Chapters 1-5, 20. Plus, Ian Neary, The State and Politics in Japan (Polity Press 2019).

Week 5 (4 November): The Economy – industry, agriculture, business

Lecture Materials:
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapters 3-6, 8-10. Kate Raworth, Doughnut Economics.

Week 6 (11 November): Work – full-time work, part-time work, male-female equality

Lecture Materials:
Links: Helen Macnaughtan, “Womenomics for Japan”. Stephanie Assmann, “Gender Equality in Japan”Allison Alexy and Emma Cook (Eds), Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict (University of Hawaii Press 2019).
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 12; Sugimoto Chapter 4; Hendry Chapter 9.

Week 7 (18 November): Households – family structure, housing, declining birthrates

Lecture Materials:
Links: Allison Alexy and Emma Cook (Eds), Intimate Japan: Ethnographies of Closeness and Conflict (University of Hawaii Press 2019).
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapters 1, 13, 14; Sugimoto Chapter 6; Hendry Chapters 7-8; Kingston Chapters 15, 17.

Active Learning: Book Report

Week 8 (2 December): Class – “middle class Japan”, wealth and poverty

Lecture Materials:
Links: Yoshio Sugimoto, “Class and Work in Cultural Capitalism”. Shin Inoue, “Inequality and Precarity in Japan”. Goodman, Imoto & Toivonen (Eds), A Sociology of Japanese Youth (Routledge 2012). Emma Cook, Reconstructing Adult Masculinities (Routledge 2016).
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapters 13, 15; Sugimoto Chapter 2; Hendry Chapter 6.

Week 9 (9 December): Education – compulsory education, higher education, qualifications and training

Lecture Materials:
Links: MEXT, Overview of Japan’s Education System. Mark Mullins, “Neonationalism, Religion, and Patriotic Education in Post-disaster Japan”.
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 16; Sugimoto Chapter 5; Hendry Chapters 3, 5; Kingston Chapter 18.

Week 10 (16 December): Leisure – sport, pop culture, entertainment

Lecture Materials:
Links: Robin Kietlinski, “Sports, Motherhood, and the Female Body in Contemporary Japan”. Philip Seaton et al, Contents Tourism in Japan (Cambria Press 2017).
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 16; Sugimoto Chapter 6; Hendry Chapter 10.

Week 11 (23 December): The Environment – disasters, energy, nature

Lecture Materials:
Links: Matanle, Littler and Slay, “Imagining Disasters in the Era of Climate Change”. Andrew DeWit, “Hiroshima’s Disaster, Climate Crisis, and the Future of the Resilient City”. Jeff Kingston (ed), Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan (Routledge 2012).
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapters 7, 14; Kingston Chapters 6-9.

Week 12 (6 January): The Movement of People – relocation, migration, tourism

Lecture Materials:
Links: Nobuko Adachi, “Ethnic Identity, Culture and Race”.
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 9.

Week 13 (20 January): Japan in International Society – international relations, defense, contributions to international society

Lecture Materials:
Links: Ministry of Defense, Defense of Japan (White Paper). MOFA, Japan and the United Nations.
Suggested Reading: Handbook Chapter 11, Kingston Chapters 10-13, 21-22.

End-of-term Exam (Date TBC)