Introduction to Japan Studies 2022

These are the materials for my lecture “A History of Japan Studies” given on 12 April 2021 as part of the relay course “Introduction to Japan Studies”.

Lecture materials: Intro to J Studies 12 April 2022

Socrative Quiz: At the end of the lecture you must complete a short quiz on the Socrative learning app. Sign in here. The Room Name used to sign in was given to you in class.

Students who missed the Zoom lecture: Please 1) listen to the lecture recording, 2) read the article “Introduction: envisioning new frontiers in Japanese Studies”, and 3) answer the Socrative quiz (deadline 19 April 12:30 Japan time, i.e. before the class in Week 2). This counts as attendance at my lecture.

Reading: The lecture content is based on “Introduction envisioning new frontiers in Japanese Studies” (open access PDF) by Akihiro Ogawa and Philip Seaton in our edited volume New Frontiers in Japanese Studies. Please read this for homework to supplement your understanding of the lecture.

Links to other materials used in the lecture:

Journal of Japanese Studies

JASSO statistics of international students in Japan

Japan Foundation Survey on Japanese-Language Education Abroad


Grading Assignment:

Write a short essay in English (800-1000 words) that clearly explains the difference in format, content and style between these publications:
The Journal of Japanese Studies, Japan Forum (Routledge), Japan Review (Nichibunken), The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, The Japan Times, Monumenta Nipponica, The Japan News.
Find the publications online, read a variety of articles from each, and then explain their positions/roles within our field of “Japan Studies”.

If you are not sure about writing academic essays, here is a video series in my website that teaches you the basics: “Writing Academic Essays at University”. You can refer to this at any time when you are unsure about academic writing style.


Academic Literacy Class (26 May)

This class supplements what we discussed on 12 April. Let’s take an online tour around academic publishing. We will think particularly about how to find reliable online sources for research in Japanese Studies.

Publication types:

1) Monograph, 2) Edited volume, 3) Journal special edition, 4) Refereed article, 5) Unrefereed article, 6) Conference proceedings, 7) Review article, 8) Book reviews, 9) Others.

E.g. Philip Seaton’s publications list.

Online Resources:

It is very important to know/understand the difference between the following:

Academic articles: 1) Online publishing (paywall – consumer pays), 2) Online publishing (open access Creative Commons – author pays), 3) Open access journal (institution/supporters pay), 4) Theses (university repositories), 5) Self-publication (personal websites,, Researchgate etc.), 6) Open access (predatory publishers).

Non-academic articles: 1) Reputable news and current affairs organizations (paywall/open access), 2) Click bait (adverts), 3) Blogs/social media.

How to judge the author:

The questions you need to ask yourself about the author:

1) Is the person employed to be writing non-fiction (i.e. academic or journalist)? If yes, they have professional codes of conduct. If no, exercise caution. Check their institution via university rankings (e.g. Times Higher Education) or other reputation indicators. Be careful of privately funded “think tanks”, especially on political and environmental issues.

2) What is the reputation of the journal/site where the article is published? The classic indicators are Impact factor and Scopus listings.

3) Is the person a student or established researcher? Check the person’s profile via institutional websites, Scopus author profiles, Google Scholar, Google scholar citations profileOrcid Number, JSPS Researcher ID.

4) What is the broader reputation of the academic society or organization? Know the reputable organizations, e.g. BAJS, Nichibunken. Some societies look professional but are simply “online junk”, e.g. the Flat Earth Society.