Understanding Japanese Society

¥49,999
Course Code: UJS101
Day: Thurs Time: 19:10-21:00 Hours: 20 Sessions: 10 Medium of Instruction: English Special Notes: 【This is a hybrid course that you can join either at our Tokyo campus or online via Zoom.】 Location: Online, Tokyo

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Course Description

All societies build narratives depicting the cultural identity of other societies as well as their own. This, however, is not something that happens "naturally". Rather, it is a historically contested process influenced by political and cultural dynamics. What do western societies think about the Japanese, and how do the Japanese see themselves? What narratives and cultural stereotypes are at stake, and to what end? In this class, we will analyze a variety of issues affecting the Japanese people and their culture. We shall discuss how cultural constructs are formed through state policies, art, and politics. Moreover, we will look at the transformations that have occurred throughout the years, and the implications that imagining "Japaneseness" has today. Reflecting on a wide range of issues affecting Japan today will help students go beyond commonly known stereotypes. By the end of this course, students will be better prepared to place Japanese society in the global world by articulating well-informed discussions.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. Analyze critically processes of construction of Japaneseness.
2. Articulate discussions of important issues affecting Japanese society today.

Who should take this course

Those interested in deepening their understanding of contemporary Japanese culture abd society.
English Level: Advanced

Textbook

No required textbook

Instructor

Pablo Figueroa

Instructor Biography

Pablo Figueroa (PhD) is an Argentinean-born cultural anthropologist specializing in Japanese studies. He has lived in Japan for over fifteen years and currently teaches at various prestigious universities in Tokyo. His research looks at the crossing of photographic images with contemporary history in Japan and how the camera can be used to explore social responses to cultural change. Previously, Pablo was a full-time assistant professor at Waseda University where he conducted classes on globalization, social change, perceptions of Japan in the world, and contemporary disasters. His work on risk communication, citizen participation, and risk governance of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe was featured in several scholarly publications.