This is the page for my course Introduction to Japan Studies taught in the spring term 2023.
Week 1: 11 April
Course Orientation. Lecture: “The Infrastructure of Japan Studies”.
University Departments/Programs (where we work/study): TUFS, Meiji University, Hokkaido University, University of Tokyo, Harvard University, Ateneo de Manila University, Rio State University, University of Melbourne, University of Central Lancashire … etc.
Research Institutes: International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken), German Institute for Japanese Studies … etc.
Academic Organizations/Conferences (where we gather to discuss Japan): Association for Asian Studies, British Association for Japanese Studies, European Association for Japanese Studies, Asian Studies Conference Japan … etc.
Academic Journals (scholarly articles about Japan): Journal of Japanese Studies, Japan Forum, Social Science Japan Journal, Monumenta Nipponica, Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, Contemporary Japan, Japan Review, Journal for Japanese Studies, Journal of Asian Studies … etc.
For much more, look at the Japanese Studies Information Network produced by Nichibunken.
Outside of the university system there are many more places to get information about Japan … newspapers, books, tourist sites, museums, online content (YouTube, SNS etc etc).
Week 2: 18 April
Two announcements: UCLAN留学説明会ポスター, DD FAQs
Lecture: “The Past and Future of Japan Studies”. The history and future trajectory of Japan Studies as an academic field.
Lecture Materials: 20230418 Introduction to Japanese Studies Week 2
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.
Week 3: 25 April
Lecture: “What is Japan Studies Research?”. The difference between study and research. The characteristics of a good researcher. What is research malpractice?
This lecture uses my video series “Writing Academic Essays at University”. You can refer to this at any time while you are at TUFS when you are unsure about academic writing style.
Group discussion questions:
1) What is the difference between study and research? Let’s watch Video 1.
2) What are the characteristics of a good researcher? How do we uncover “new knowledge” in Japan Studies?
3) What are some examples of research malpractice? Let’s understand the following concepts highlighted in blue in the contents of For the Sound Development of Science:
Week 4: 9 May
Admin: The questions for the Mid-term Test have been uploaded. Look below (30 May) and prepare well!
Lecture: “Writing Academic Essays”. Structure, citations, compiling bibliographies. Introducing the style guides (Chicago etc.) often used in Japan Studies.
First, let’s look at five online academic publications and their citations/bibliographies: here is an online journal article (from Routledge); here is a book chapter (from a Routledge edited volume); here is a monograph (from Duke University Press); here is an edited volume (from Routledge); here is an article in Japanese (from TUFS).
And here is a newspaper article. What difference do you notice in the use of citations?
Next, let’s watch videos 2, 3 and 4 of my video series “Writing Academic Essays at University”. Each video is followed by group discussion and Q&A.
Then, look at these three useful style guides: 1) Chicago Manual of Style (Notes and Bibliography), 2) Japan Review (PDF), 3) Japan Forum (Chicago Author Date, PDF). What are some of the differences between them? In which branches of Japan Studies do you think they are most useful?
Finally, here is the sample essay we did in class using the Chicago Author Date system: A Sample Essay With Citations
Week 5: 16 May
Lecture: “Doing a Literature Review”. Finding materials using Google Scholar. How to distinguish reliable and dodgy sources.
There are various types of publication: 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.
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, Academia.edu, 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.
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 profile, Orcid 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.
Homework: Please do the following before the lesson on 23 May (it should take 5-10 minutes).
1) Go to Google Scholar.
2) Type in a few keywords relating to a topic you are interested in (e.g. “war museums Japan”).
3) Choose and bookmark one article/book that is open access. Check its reliability by looking at the publisher, author, citation count etc.
4) Choose and bookmark one article/book that is not open access. Think about how you can find and read this publication.
We will discuss the above next time!
Week 6: 23 May
Lecture: “Reading Japan Studies Research”. Some leading Japan Studies researchers and their work.
Week 7: 30 May
Mid-term test. Here is the test sheet that you will do under exam conditions (60 mins). Please prepare the answers well in advance! IJS Midterm Test
Orientation for the second half of the course.
Active Learning Hours
Survey of Japan Studies journals (worksheet).
Week 8: 6 June
The faculty of SJS and their teaching/research. Session 1 (Japanese Language Teaching, Videos 1-6).
Week 9: 13 June
The faculty of SJS and their teaching/research. Session 2 (Literature and Culture, Videos 7-12).
Week 10: 20 June
The faculty of SJS and their teaching/research. Session 3 (Linguistics, Videos 13-17).
Week 11: 27 June
The faculty of SJS and their teaching/research. Session 4 (History and Society, Videos 18-22).
Week 12: 4 July
Returning the Mid-term Test, discussion of the answers, and plans for the retest.
Returning the Active Learning Hours Project. Discussion and feedback regarding the academic journals.
(The faculty of SJS and their teaching/research. Session 5)
Week 13: 11 July
End-of-term test. Course wrap-up.
Here is the End-of-Term Test question: “Describe one research project that you want to do in Japan Studies during your time at TUFS. Using ideas and concepts you have encountered in this course, explain in concrete detail how you will do the research.” You will have 60 minutes to write the essay.