G369 Modern Japan (internet
Office: 206A, Hawthorn Hall
(O)219 980 6981
Web page: http://www.iun.edu/~hisdcl
Office hours: MW 8:30-10am, 11:30am-1pm, or by appointment
Bibliography on outside sources
Purpose of Course
This course gives a survey of modern Japan, from the 1860s to the present. Focusing on the 20th century, it aims at an understanding of both continuity and change in Japanese society and culture. It covers the modernizing reforms of the 19th century, 20th century Japanese imperialism, post World War II American occupation and the consequences on Japanese society, and post World War II Japanese society and culture.
Goals for the course include:
This course deals with both content
and methodological issues of modern Japan. Our readings offer us different
approaches at understanding modern Japanese society. We examine these approaches
and develop our own in our take-home papers. For course requirements please
refer to the requirement part below.
This course fulfills the following general educational goals at Indiana University Northwest (listed on p.20 on IUN Bulletin 2000-2002):
Goal 2 Students will think critically.
Goal 5 Students will understand the value of the past and recognize the relationship between the past to the present and the future.
Goal 7 Students will recognize the many diversities of human experience.
Weekly writing assignments:
There are usually two batches of reading assignments a week, and there is usually one essay question with each batch of reading assignment, with occasional exceptions. Forum questions are under the weekly reading assignments on the syllabus, and answers to these questions are to be posted on Oncourse Forums. They are due on the Saturday of each week, for instance, the question for week 1 is due by midnight Saturday, Sept.1.
How to answer forum questions: Each forum question should be answered in TWO ways: by posting your answer and posting a critique/commentary on someone else's posting. Your grade for each question is based on both your posting and your comments.
The first paper is a built-in topic that expects you to use the required readings plus one outside reading for each paper.
The second paper is a research paper that relies more on outside sources. You will need to find a second paper topic on your own, based on themes covered in class. You are required to discuss your prospective paper topic with me no later than the 14th week. The paper proposal counts as part of the final grade.
Method of grading: all grades are assigned in percentages, which will be tabulated at the end of the semester and converted to letter grades. The averages of your take-home papers and of your weekly writing assignments will be taken to represent the grades for your take-home paper and weekly writing assignment. The conversion is as follows: 93-100: A; 90-92.9: A-; 85-89.9: B+; 80- 84.9: B; 75-79.9: B-; 70-74.9: C+; 65-69.9: C; 60-64.9: C-; 55-59.9: D+; 50-54.9: D; 45-49.9: D-; 44 and below: F.
The grade distribution is as follows:
Forum postings: 32 per
Campus visit or Adobe Connect meeting: 5 per cent
Take-home papers: 30 per cent each
Second paper proposal: 3 per cent
All grades will be shown in your Online Gradebook, accessible via Oncourse. You need to have an IUN ID and password to access Oncourse. If you do not have an IUN email account, you can set up one here at https://itaccounts.iu.edu/.
The following books are required readings and available at the IUN bookstore.
Jansen, Marius. The Making of Modern Japan. Harvard University Press, 2002.
Hopper, Helen. Fukuzawa Yukichi: from Samurai to Capitalist. Pearson Education, 2005.
Dower, John. Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. W.W.Norton, 1999.
Some other required readings are directly online and/or avaiable on Oncourse weekly modules.
The following are Japanese newspapers or websites about Japan.
Japanese language and culture.
Japan in the world
(Columbia University) Asia for Educators
Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies
"Red Haired barbarians:Japanese paintings of foreigners 1800-1865
Map of East Asia
Japan: Size and Location
Imperialism in China
Week 1 (Aug.27-Sept.2)
Introduction: Modern Japan. (PPT slides in Oncourse Modules; PPT slides available for ALL readings grouped into one or two lectures a week, following the one or two topics of each week, are or will be available under Oncourse Modules. Also please note that ALL online readings that are not html pages are available from Oncourse Weekly Modules.)
Japan's opening to America. Online reading: Modern Japan outline. Commodore Perry and Japan. Principal Japanese Daimyo to 1868 Notes. Optional reading: Jansen, chapt.9.
Forum question 1: Pretend you are a reporter for a Japanese newspaper in 1853. Write a paragraph on Perry's arrival. Use excerpts from the letters of President Fillmore and Commodore Perry.
Week 2 (Sept.3-9)
The samurai in mid-19th century. Hopper, chaps.1 & 2. Notes. Optional reading: Jansen, chapt.10.
Forum question 2: Briefly describe the Japanese feudal structure and the samurai as a class. Who do you think would stand to lose most if a social transformation took place, and who would benefit most?
Japan's Modernization and the Road to Imperial Expansion.
Week 3 (Sept.10-16)
1. Online reading: The Meiji Restoration. Meiji charter oath and the constitution. Notes.
Forum question 3: Comment on the way the emperor and the diet's authorities overlap in the constitution. Why do you think the Meiji Restoration planners gave the emperor power in different branches of the government?
2. Transformation of samurai lives. Hopper, chaps.3 & 4. Notes
Forum question 4: Discuss what social changes were brought about by the Meiji Restoration and the constitution. Where do you think would come the greatest obstacles to the changes?
Week 4 (Sept.17-23)
1. Meiji society and values. Hopper, chaps.5, 6, & Epilogue. Notes. Optional reading: Jansen, chapt.12.
Forum question 5: Name some traditional and modern elements developing in Japan during the Meiji era. How do you explain this simultaneous development of modernity and tradition?
2. Nationalism, Social Darwinism, and Meiji expansion. Hopper, chap.7. Notes. Optional reading: Jansen, chapt.13.
Forum question 6: Discuss how the Japanese expanded in Asia during the Meiji era and how they used social Darwinism as a justification for it. Do you see expansion as an inevitable part of Japanese modernization?
Week 5 (Sept.24-30)
1. Taisho society and politics (1912-1926). Jansen, chapts. 14-15. Notes.
Forum question 7: Do you see progress in politics and society in the Taisho era compared with the Meiji Era? How do you summarize the Taisho era?
2. Taisho culture and Showa society and politics. Jansen, chapt.16. Notes.
Forum question 8: Again, do you see progress in politics and society from Taisho to Showa? Why or why not?
Week 6 (Oct.1-7)
1. The China War. Jansen, chapt.17. Notes
Forum question 9: Imagine history could be rewritten, come up with a solution to stem the imperial expansion in the 1930s.
2. The Pacific War. Jansen, chapt.18.
Forum question 10: Did Japan perceive war as the major solution to its goal of modernization? Was the war between Japan and the U.S. inevitable?
Week 7 (Oct.8-14)
1. The end of the war and defeat. Dower, chaps.1& 2. Notes Online reading: American prisoners of war working in China under Japanese rule
Forum question 11: Comment on the Japanese and the emperor's reception of the American occupation. Who were most ready for change and who were less so?
2. Reforming Japanese society. Dower, chaps. 6 & 8. Notes
Forum question 12: Comment on some seeming contradictions in American occupational policies toward Japan from 1945 to 1950. Do you think the American occupation would have achieved greater democracy if the occupation had been carried out differently?
Week 8 (Oct.15-21) First paper due via Oncourse Assignment on Oct,21. Paper needs to be 8-10 pages, typed, double-spaced. Paper topic: Explore how the American occupation policies affected the changes and continuities in Japanese society, politics, or religion after the war (you may want to focus just on two areas). You need to use our required readings and one external source. Citations are required in the paper, e.g. (Jansen, p.23). A bibliography is needed at the end.
1. Changes in the role of the emperor. Dower, chaps. 9 & 10. Notes
Forum question 13: Compare/contrast the purpose behind the restoration of the emperor in 1868 and the American occupational forces' decision to keep Hirohito in power after World War II.
2. The emperor and the war. Dower, chaps.11 & 12. Note
Forum question 14: How did the occupational forces make sure the emperor was not guilty of war crimes? Why would they do that and how do you think it would affect the outcome of the war crimes trial?
Week 9 (Oct.22-28)
1. Evaluating the Tokyo trial. Dower, chap.15. Notes
Forum question 15: Do you consider the trial fair? What impact did it have on the Japanese perception of the war trials and Japanese war crimes?
2. Japan's recovery from the war. Jansen, chapt.19.
Forum question 16: How did the American occupation end in Japan and what did the San Francisco Peace Treaty signify? Why do you think many Japanese would be for the constitution but against the security treaty?
Week 10 (Oct.29-Nov.4)
1. Oct.29 Video: Reinventing Japan. (2:30-3:45pm, on campus) Optional readings: Sympathy for Japan, and admiration; Emperor delivers rare address on nuclear crisis.
2.Japanese politics and economy: planning economic growth. Dower, chap.17. Notes
Forum question 17: Give your view of the relationship between the state and the market in Japan, and comment on its advantages and disadvantages.
Week 11 (Nov.5-11)
1. Japanese society and economy after the war. Jansen, 715-759. Notes. Optional reading: In deference to Crisis, A New Obsession Sweeps Japan: Self-Restraint
Forum question 18: Describe some new roles Japan played since the 1950s in the Pacific and in the world: how did Japanese politics change since World War II?
2. The "apolitical" Japanese politics after World War II? Online reading: Bringing Politics Back into Japan (available from Oncourse Week 11 Module) Notes.
Forum question 19: Do you think the American occupation of Japan affected Japanese politics? If so, in what ways? For better or for worse?
Week 12 (Nov.12-18)
1. Further discussion of postwar Japanese politics. Online reading: The People Who Invented the Mechanical Nightingale(available from Oncourse Week 12 Module). Notes.
Forum question 20: Would a state dominated by bureaucrats hurt its democratic development? Why or why not?
2. Online readings: Postwar economic takeoff.
Forum quetion 21: Which aspects of Japanese economy contributed to its success in the 1980s? Do you agree with those practices?
Week 13 (Nov.19-25)
1 Online reading: Decline of the Japanese economy: a brief explanation. Optional online reading: Not Made in Japan. Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies in the U.S.; Homelessness in Japan. How Japan Blew Its Lead in Electronics. Japan's Phoenix Economy.
Forum question 22: Which aspects of Japanese economy contributed to its recession in the 1990s? Do you think the problems were caused by the economic structure or accidental?
2. Japanese recession and the call for economic and political change. Online reading:The Unraveling of Japan Inc, Multinationals as Agents of Change; Reinventing Japan...Again. Optional reading: The flaws in Japan's leadership deepen a sense of crisis. Optional reading: Crisis in Japan and Impact on the Rest of the World; Lag in closing plant highlights problems in Japan.
Forum question 23: What are some changes the authors suggest to get Japan out of its economic recession? Do they make sense to you? Why or why not?
Week 14 (Nov.26-Dec.2)
1. Japan-U.S. relations, the issue of Okinawa. Gavan McCormack, The Battle of Okinawa 2010: Japan-U.S. relations at A Crossroad.
Forum question 24: Why is Okinawa such a sensitive issue in U.S.-Japan relations? Can the problems be resolved?
2. Aging and economic recession. Japan's Aging Society. Japan Puts the Elderly to Work. Japan Keeps A High Wall for Foreign Labor. Notes
Forum question 25: How would an aging society affect Japanese economy in the near future? Which author(s) do you agree with?
Week 15 (Dec.3-9)
1. The export of Japanese popular culture. Online reading: Wink on Pink: Interpreting the Japanese Cute as it Grabs the Global Headlines (available from Oncourse Week 15 Module).
Forum question 26: Have you been impacted by Japanese pop culture? How do you understand the Japanese export of pop culture as both “soft power” politics and a form of economic export?
2. Overview of recent changes in Japanese politics and economy. Notes.
Week 16 (Dec.10-16)
Second paper due on Dec.12 as email attachments via Oncourse Assignments. Paper needs to be on one or two aspects of Japan after 1945 that do not overlap with your first paper. You need to discuss your paper topic with me by the 14th or early 15th week. You also need to get preapproval for the book you review (no textbooks).