A number of Japan-related modules are offered at the UEA – across many disciplines and levels of study. For more details about what is on offer, see below for a breakdown of all the exciting opportunities to explore Japan in a variety of contexts!
Please note: all the modules below are offered in the current academic year (2018/19). The list will be updated to reflect any changes at the beginning of the next academic year.
Japanese Film: National Cinema and Beyond
This module explores the concept of Japanese cinema in relation to national, transnational and global discourses and seeks to reframe discussions of modern and past Japanese filmmaking. We will examine a variety of Japanese films and the ways in which they interact with the history, techniques and culture of Japan. We will also consider the social and commercial nature of Japanese filmmaking, including the ways in which Japanese films circulate the globe.
Japan in Modern Times
In just a few decades Japan emerged from its feudal and isolationist condition and became a thriving capitalist nation-state with imperialist ambitions on the world's stage. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, the country re-invented itself, combining the strength of its traditions with Western models of government, economic management, social structure and culture. Samurai gave way to elite bureaucrats; a skilled industrial workforce gradually displaced the peasantry; education expanded with remarkable speed; new infrastructure transformed the physical landscape. New patterns of daily life, social tensions and cultural aspirations accompanied these changes. The aggressive expansionist policy and authoritarianism of the 1930s precipitated the country into a war with devastating consequences, only for Japan to resurrect itself as a global industrial power and stable democracy in the post-war era. This module examines this process of transformation from circa 1850, when Western powers pressured Japan into opening to international trade, to the oil shock of the 1970s that brought an end to Japan's high growth phase. Students will pay attention to the intellectual and cultural trends that informed Japan's development. They will investigate concepts such as revolution, national identity, civilizational discourse, late imperialism, and historical memory. They will also explore social and economic change as reflected in lived experience, for example in farms and villages at the turn of the century; on the home front during the Russo-Japanese War; in bustling cities during the Taisho era; in colonial outposts before and during the Pacific War; and in occupied Japan afterwards.
Japan's First Modern Century, 1868-1968
In 1968, Japan astonished the world by overtaking West Germany as the world's second largest capitalist economy. It was easy to forget that two decades earlier the nation lay in ruins, defeated by the Allies in WWII. And a mere century before, in 1868, Japan had been a samurai-ruled feudal backwater, forced open by western gunboat diplomacy and under threat of colonisation. How did this East Asian nation attain its impressive position in the modern world in such a short time? We will explore Japan's modern history through its formative exchanges with the outside world. By looking at a wide variety of primary sources - media reports, government documents, memoirs, autobiographies, travelogues, and others - we will explore the transnational encounters that shaped Japan's modern society, economy, culture and ideas. We will retrace the nation's often bumpy transition from tradition to modernity in the late nineteenth century; the humiliations and anxieties vis-a-vis the "great powers"; the appeal of foreign "dangerous thoughts" to homegrown dissidents; the impact of imperialist ideologies following the European "Age of Empire"; the militarist revolt against party politics in the 1930s; the harsh reality of war both at home and overseas; the post-WWII recovery and alliance with the United States; and the subsequent refashioning of Japan's place in the world. By examining Japan's links with North America, Western Europe, Russia and the Soviet Union, and East and South East Asia, we will analyse how flows of ideas, people and goods helped shape the nation as we know it today.
The Foreign Relations of China and Japan in the Modern World
The module looks at the history of China and Japan from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. The attempts at modernisation, conflict between the two nations, their relationships with the Asian region and the United States are covered. Their contrasting attempts to develop in the postwar period are investigated. We also assess their current policies and the issues of importance to China and Japan in the twenty first century, and assess whether they can move beyond the legacy of this difficult history.
Introduction to Japan
This module is designed to offer a critical overview of changes occurring in contemporary Japanese culture and society. This module, taught in English, is designed to introduce students to major aspects of the history, society, cultures of Japan. The module will provide a good all-round basic knowledge of Japan that will be of value both to students intending to major in Japanese and those interested in Japan. No knowledge of Japanese language is required. Topics such as overview of Japanese history from ancient to modern times, geography, contemporary politics and economics, society, education, and traditional and contemporary culture will be considered.
Aspects of Japanese Communication
In this module, students will be introduced to aspects of Japanese language and communication, through the study of authentic materials such as TV programmes, magazine excerpts, and newspaper extracts. The module will explore how the language is used in real life and how it functions differently according to various contexts in Japanese society. Aspects will include the study of dialects, importance of politeness, differences between formal/informal expression, variations in gender and age, written/spoken Japanese, usage of aspect/modality as well as non-verbal communication. This module will be particularly useful for year abroad preparation. Although the module is taught in English, some basic knowledge of the Japanese language is desirable. Taught together with Level 6. Assessment commensurate with level.
Contemporary Japanese Society
In this module, students analyse contemporary Japanese society using topical issues in Japan and deepen their understanding of the country and people. All lectures are conducted in English. Throughout the module, students will learn about various topical issues such as family, gender and education, uncover the roots behind these and develop their findings and ideas into a discussion. Students will use various materials including academic articles and digital resources including online news articles and audio-visual materials. Through not only reading the news but also considering the stories in depth and the reasons behind the issues happening in Japan, students will develop and improve their research and analytical skills. Students will also be able to discern and compare similarities and differences between Japanese culture and society and their own country.
Beginners’ Japanese I
This module is for students at beginners' level who have little or no prior experience of Japanese. The module will develop students' reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. The aim is to equip students with the linguistic understanding of a number of real life situations, as well as the ability to communicate effectively in those situations. There will also be opportunities to explore aspects of the cultures where Japanese is spoken. Particular emphasis is placed on acquiring a sound knowledge of grammar. Please note that very occasionally subsidiary language modules may be cancelled due to low enrolment. Please note that students who are found to have a level of knowledge that exceeds the level for which they have enrolled may be asked to withdraw from the module at the Teacher's discretion.
Beginners’ Japanese II
A continuation of the beginners' course in Japanese (Autumn or Spring). Students with a GCSE grade C or below (or equivalent experience) may join this module. It cannot be taken by final-year language and communication students. Please note that very occasionally subsidiary language modules may be cancelled due to low enrolment. Please note that students who are found to have a level of knowledge that exceeds the level for which they have enrolled may be asked to withdraw from the module at the Teacher's discretion.
Japanese Ab-initio Honours
This is a module for students taking their Japanese Honours language degree from an ab initio starting point. The need for significant progress in reading, writing, listening and speaking is met with the intensive teaching that this module provides. The aim is to equip students with the linguistic understanding of a number of real-life situations, as well as the ability to communicate effectively in those situations. Particular emphasis is also placed on acquiring a sound knowledge of grammar. This module caters for beginners' level entrants and is only available to language and communication students or students of International Relations and Modern Language in PPL.
This is a module for students taking their Japanese Honours language degree from a post-GCSE starting point. The need for significant progress in reading, writing, listening and speaking is met with the intensive teaching that this module provides. The aim is to equip students with the linguistic understanding of a number of real-life situations, as well as the ability to communicate effectively in those situations. Particular emphasis is also placed on acquiring a sound knowledge of grammar. It is only available to students taking a degree in Japanese from post-GCSE level.
Post A Level Japanese Language
A course in Japanese for students with Japanese A-level, having passed Japanese Language Proficiency Test N4, or holding any other equivalent qualification. This module aims to enable students to build on, and further enhance, existing reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. It is designed to build up linguistic proficiency, cultural knowledge and language learning skills in preparation for the year abroad. A key component is the exploration of themes that develop understanding of the diversity in Japanese society. Specific aspects of language are revisited and consolidated at a higher level. The emphasis lies on enhancing essential grammar and vocabulary in meaningful contexts, whilst also developing knowledge of contemporary life and society that focuses on culture and current affairs. This module can be taken in any year. This module is not available to native speakers or those with equivalent competence.
Japanese Honours Language I
In this module, students develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening at an advanced level. Various genres of reading materials will be used throughout the semester and students will also develop their presentation skills with project work.
Japanese Honours Language II
This module aims to enhance the existing language competence to a higher standard. Main activities include formal oral presentations and research on a chosen topic which is submitted as an essay as one of the final pieces of work.
This module is designed to introduce final year Japanese Honours students to the study and practice of translation to and from Japanese. Materials translated will include a range of text from different media, from general to semi-specialised content. Students will also be given an insight into professional practice and aspects of the translation industry.