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JPN2004 : Contemporary Japanese Popular Culture

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


The primary aim of this module is to familiarise the students with contemporary Japanese popular culture and help them develop skills allowing them to critically study this field academically. Japanese popular culture is an ever changing field and students are expected to bring their own knowledge of Japanese popular culture to class discussions. Transmediality is today a central factor for understanding Japanese popular culture and in this module we will study the characteristics and interrelationship between different media types such manga, anime, TV productions and cyber culture. The module will also introduce basic theories and concepts for critical analysis of popular cultural texts as well as cultural, social and historical background of different media types in contemporary Japan. This module will prepare students for their social and cultural experiences in Japan by helping them to develop a critical attitude toward the study of contemporary Japan. While original materials may be introduced, all required reading materials, lectures and assessments will be in English.

Students should note that contemporary Japanese popular culture thematise an endless number of topics, including topics that some students may be sensitive to or find disturbing.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module is structured to cover various elements of media types in contemporary Japan such as manga, anime, music, TV productions and so forth.

A detailed syllabus will be available in the module handbook.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials161:0016:00N/A
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 study1167:00167:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The module begins with a 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.

The lecture materials given as synchronous online time will provide the students with knowledge of theory, historical and cultural background which are necessary for critical thinking on the topics. Evaluations from last year showed that the online mode was very effective and that students were able to better engage with the lecture materials.

Present in person scheduled seminars will allow students to take lead and present their thoughts and to learn how to lead a discussion. Students will be asked to give presentations that can open up to a general discussion on issues related to contemporary Japanese popular culture with their peers.

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.

To gain fully from the module, students are expected to engage actively and express their opinion and thoughts in seminars and in writing on Canvas.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Oral Presentation152M20Held throughout the year. May be individual or as part of a group, but each student is assessed individually.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M803000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will allow students to demonstrate a solid knowledge of contemporary Japanese culture and society, developed via critical analysis of popular cultural texts. Goal setting & action planning, independence and active learning will be tested together with written skills, critical thinking, innovation and creativity and self-awareness and reflection.

The oral presentation will test students’ skills in orally presenting information in a coherent and succinct manner. They are also expected to show leadership abilities by taking charge of the following discussion.

Reading Lists