Module Catalogue 2022/23

JPN1005 : Introduction to Japanese History and Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Shiro Yoshioka
  • Lecturer: Dr Gitte Marianne Hansen
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



This module is an introduction to Japanese history, culture and society. The primary aim is to provide students with general but solid knowledge of Japanese history and society. Students will be asked to study factual information (e.g., key-dates in Japanese history, key historical events, etc.) during the hours allocated to independent study and non-synchronous online structured learning. In person and synchronous online activities will allow them to think critically about specific elements of Japanese history and society that they have encountered in their personal study. This module will be taught and assessed in English.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module consists of two parts, one of which focuses on Japanese history and the other will introduce students to the study of contemporary Japanese society. A detailed syllabus will be made available in the first class together with a Module handbook.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

1. A general awareness of Japanese history and culture with a focus on continuities and changes in Japanese society.
2. A general but solid knowledge of Japanese history, especially the significance of the notion of “pre-modern” or “traditional” and “modern”.
3. A general but solid knowledge of issues faced by contemporary Japanese society and their historical and cultural background.
4. Awareness of the need for objectivity in dealing with “culture” of a specific country or area.

Intended Skill Outcomes

At the end of the module students will be able to:
1. Analyse continuities and changes in Japanese culture and society, taking historical background into consideration.
2. Analyse and discuss the significance of “tradition” in contemporary Japanese society and culture.
3. Think critically about the supposed “uniqueness” of any given national culture.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials161:0016:00Online
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Present-in-person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00Present-in-person
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00Present-in-person
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1671:00167:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module begins with a present-in-person lecture given by the module leader. This ensures that students get a chance to fully engage with the structure of the module and ask any questions they may have. This time will also allow students to get to know the lecturer and the other students which is vital for a healthy study environment on the module.

SGL (Lecture materials) will equip students with skills and knowledge required to study and understand Japanese history and culture. This will be online as the blended learning mode of teaching showed to be very effective as it allowed students to reflect in their own time.

In small group teaching students will have opportunity to express their opinion on the materials covered in the above two activities and discuss with peers and the lecturer. As part of seminars students are also encouraged to give unassessed presentations to peers. This will allow students to practice presentation skills which are important for their studies from stage 2 onwards and post university. Students will be provided feedback for any work they are asked to submit as a part of other SGL activities. Students are also expected to ask the lecturer and/or peers any question they have for discussion online, thus deepening their understanding of the subject.

In drop-in surgeries, the students can seek advice from the lecturers on the coursework and their personal essays.

Throughout the module, audio visual materials including films and documentary will also be used to support learning. Time will also be dedicated to sessions on how to do a presentation and write an essay.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M501750 words in English
Essay2M501750 words in English
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise1MWeekly online quizzes are given for part of the module on the reading and non-synchronous online activity (lecture)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The weekly quizzes that are given for part of the module will test the student’s understanding of the reading and lecture. In doing so, active learning and independence will be encouraged. Feedback will be given in the synchronous online activity.

The essays will allow the students to demonstrate a solid knowledge of Japanese culture and society developed throughout the course and during private study. Goal setting & action planning, independence and active learning will be tested together with written skills, critical thinking, innovation and creativity.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes

Compulsory bibliography:

Bowring, Richard and Kornicki, Peter, eds.. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Japan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

N.B.: a detailed bibliography will be available in the Module Handbook. Any additional reading indicated as compulsory in the Module Handbook will be part of the assessment.

Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2022/23 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 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.