Module Catalogue 2016/17

HIS2014 : Japan since 1868 (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2016/17
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Martin Dusinberre
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module introduces the extraordinary story of Japan’s modernization, industrialization and post-war growth — a first among non-Western nations. This transformation will be studied in the context of domestic political, economic, social and cultural developments from the mid-nineteenth century onwards. A particular emphasis will be placed on understanding not only the motives and actions of Japan’s leaders, but also the everyday lives of so-called ‘ordinary people’ — farmers, village elites, factory workers, middle-class urban families, victims of change and so on. Questions to be discussed include: In what ways was Japan ‘opened’ by the Western powers? Why did Japan develop an empire and what were its characteristics? To what extent was there a post-war Japanese economic ‘miracle’?

This module aims:
1. To provide, through a range of genres, a sound general knowledge of modern Japanese history
2. To develop critical reading skills through a wide range of secondary materials
3. To nurture independent study and a critical approach to a number of in-depth problems

Outline Of Syllabus

Outline syllabus, intended as a guide only; week-by-week topics may be slightly different to the following.
The lectures will broadly cover the following topics:
Geographies of power in nineteenth-century Japan; the overthrow of the Tokugawa shogunate; the Iwakura Mission to the West; the 1870s reforms and popular opposition; the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars; cultural and gender politics in the inter-war years; the Great Depression; the Asia-Pacific war; the impact of the US occupation; the post-war economic ‘miracle’; environmental pollution and protest; constructions of post-war national identity; the ‘lost decade’ of the 1990s.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

By the end of this module, students will have gained a thorough understanding of the myriad ways in which Japan modernized from the mid-nineteenth century onwards; the costs of that modernization; and the historiographical debates which arise therein. The course is intended to offer a non-Western perspective on key themes that students may have already studied or will study in British, European or American history modules.

Intended Skill Outcomes

Students are expected to develop their analytical reading skills through exposure to a range of key historiographical texts; to learn how to contextualize the particular case study with the general trend in their written assignments; and to develop the capacity for independent study and critical judgement and of the ability to respond promptly, cogently and clearly to new and unexpected questions arising from this study.

Graduate Skills Framework

Graduate Skills Framework Applicable: Yes
  • Cognitive/Intellectual Skills
    • Critical Thinking : Assessed
    • Active Learning : Present
    • Literacy : Assessed
    • Information Literacy
      • Source Materials : Assessed
      • Synthesise And Present Materials : Assessed
  • Self Management
    • Self Awareness And Reflection : Present
    • Planning and Organisation
      • Goal Setting And Action Planning : Assessed
      • Decision Making : Present
    • Personal Enterprise
      • Innovation And Creativity : Assessed
      • Initiative : Assessed
      • Independence : Present
      • Problem Solving : Assessed
      • Adaptability : Present
  • Interaction
    • Communication
      • Oral : Present
      • Interpersonal : Present
      • Written Other : Assessed
    • Team Working
      • Collaboration : Present
      • Relationship Building : Present
      • Negotiation : Present

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion661:0066:0040% of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture241:0024:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading661:0066:0040% of guided indendent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Timetable surgery hours
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study321:0032:0020% of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures impart core knowledge and an outline of knowledge that students are expected to acquire. They also stimulate development of listening and note-taking skills.
Seminars provide students with an opportunity to participate in discussion and thus to improve their oral communication skills.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1352A60unseen
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M402000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay2MShort essay plan exercises
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes and develops key skills in research, reading and writing. Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress. The exam tests acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided, and to write clearly and concisely.

ERASMUS students at Newcastle One 2,000 word essay to be handed in by 12.00 p.m. of the Friday of the first week of the assessment period. This will replace all work required of domestic students. It remains the case that, if an ERASMUS student specifically requests that s/he be permitted to do the same assessments as the domestic students, that option remains open to them. No variation of the deadlines will be allowed except on production of medical or equivalent evidence


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2016/17 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2017/18 entry will be published here in early-April 2017. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.