Module Catalogue 2019/20

JPN1005 : Introduction to Japanese History and Culture

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Shiro Yoshioka
  • Lecturer: Ms Maria Roemer
  • 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 a general but solid knowledge of Japanese history, language, writing, thought, literature and society in their diachronic evolution from the Jomon period to contemporary times. Students will be asked to study factual information (e.g., key-dates in Japanese history, key historical events, key literary works, etc.) during the hours allocated to private study. Lectures and seminars in class 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
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching151:0015:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching11:001:00In Class Test
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students are expected to use private study time to learn details about factual information (e.g., key-dates in Japanese history, key historical events, key literary works, etc.). The factual knowledge accumulated through personal study will allow the student to acquire a general but solid knowledge of the development of Japanese history, culture and society over time.

Lectures will allow students to get background information necessary to think critically about Japanese history, culture and society.

Seminars will allow students to discuss critically about key-concepts in Japanese society as well as the evolution and the diffusion of Japanese history. During the part of the module that focuses on contemporary Japanese society students will be asked to prepare short presentations for the seminar. This is to teach them to actively participate in their own and other students’ learning experience.

Module-surgery hours allow students to: 1) verify and consolidate the knowledge required for the mid-way test at the end of the first semester; 2) acquire skills needed to write essays.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A502000 words. To be submitted at the end of Semester 1.
Essay2A502000 words. To be submitted at the end of Semester 2.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written Examination2MAn in-class mock exam to familiarise students with format and scope of the written exam.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will allow the students to demonstrate a solid knowledge of Japanese culture, history 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 2019/20 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 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.