Emma Cook degree icon

Associate Professor

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Research Faculty of Media and Communication, Hokkaido University

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Feel free to contact me at:

cook [at] imc.hokudai.ac.jp




Introduction to Japanese Society

The other official course title for this class is: Introduction to Japanese Studies III (Society)

This course has two main aims. First it is an introductory course on Japanese society with a particular focus on understanding social institutions and social issues within contemporary Japanese society. Second, you will learn how to analyse the everyday through engagement with texts on Japanese society.

Full Syllabus and Reading List for 2017 is available here

 

Weekly Schedule (Spring 2017):

Week 1 Introduction to the Course (April 11th)

No reading due.

Slides

Week 2 Social Structure: Class and Stratification (April 18th)

Required Reading: 

1. Brinton, Mary. C. 2010. “Social Class and Economic Life Chances in Post-Industrial Japan: The “Lost Generation”, in Ishida, Hiroshi and David H. Slater (eds.). Social Class in Contemporary Japan: Structures, Sorting and Strategies. London and New York: Routledge.

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 3 Kinship and Family (April 25th)

Required Reading: 

1. Goldfarb, Kathryn. 2016. “‘Coming to look alike’: Materializing affinity in Japanese foster and adoptive care.Social Analysis 60(2): 47-64.

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 4 Education and Socialisation (May 2nd)

Required Reading:

1. Goodman, Roger. 2011. ‘Japanese Education and Education Reform‘ in Victoria Lyon Bestor and Theodore C. Bestor, with Akiko Yamagata (eds.). Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society. London and New York: Routledge. Pp. 52-62

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 5 Labour and Employment Systems (May 9th)

Required Reading:

1. North, Scott. 2014. ‘Limited Regular Employment and the Reform of Japan’s Division of Labor 限定正規雇用と日本の分業改革,’ The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 15, No. 1. Also accessible online if you prefer to read a webpage at: http://apjjf.org/2014/12/15/Scott-North/4106/article.html

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 6 Gender and Identity (May 16th)

Required Reading:

1. Mackie, Vera. 2008. ‘How to Be a Girl: Mainstream Media Portrayals of Transgendered Lives in Japan,’ in Asian Studies Review Vol. 32. Pp. 411-423

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 7 Religion and Ritual (May 23rd)

Required Reading: 

1. Reader, Ian. 2016. ’Problematic Conceptions and Critical Developments: The Construction and Relevance of ‘Religion’ and Religious Studies in JapanJournal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions 3 (2016): 198-218.

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 8 Disability and Illness (May 30th)

Required Reading:

1. Stevens, Carolyn. 2013. Disability in Japan. London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 5

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 9 Minorities and Ethnicity (June 6th)

Required Reading:

1. Cleveland, Kyle. 2014. ‘Hiding in Plain Sight: Minority Issues in Japan’ In Kingston, Jeff (ed.) Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan. Routledge

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 10: Migration (June 13th)

Required Reading:

1. Suzuki, Nobue. 2008. ‘Filipino Migrations to Japan: From Surrogate Americans to Feminized Workers’ In Yamashita et al., eds. Transnational Migration in East Asia (Senri Ethnological Reports) 77: 67–77.

2. Liu-Farrer, Gracia. 2009. ‘Creating a Transnational Community: Chinese Newcomers in Japan,’ in Weiner, Michael (ed.) Japan’s Minorities: The Illusion of Homogeneity. London and New York: Routledge. Pp. 116-138.

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 11 Reading Week (June 20th)

No Required Reading, but a chance to catch up on your reading, notes and discussions of previous classes.

Week 12 Protest and Social Movements (June 27th)

Required Reading:

1. Mori, Yoshitaka. 2005. ‘Culture = Politics: The Emergence of New Cultural Forms of Protest in the Age of FreeterInter-Asia Cultural Studies, Volume 6, Number 1, 2005

2. Slater, David H. et al. 2015. ‘SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy): Research Note on Contemporary Youth Politics in Japan’ The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 37, No. 1, September 14, 2015

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 13 Environmental Issues and Natural Disasters (July 4th)

Required Reading:

1. Kirby, Peter. 2010. Troubled Natures: Waste, Environment, Japan. University of Hawaii Press. ‘Introduction: Japan’s Waste Shadow.’

Discussion Question Due

Slides

Week 14 Exam Preparation Week (July 11th)

No required reading or discussion question due.

Week 15 Discussion, Assessment and Evaluation (July 18th)

Take-home exam to be submitted in class. Class period will be spent in discussion and class assessment.

 

2014-01-12 15.10.57