There are six requirements for both the 6-unit and the 9-unit subjects:

  • Assigned readings
  • Mandatory attendance at class
  • Active class participation
  • Two discussion questions integrating the lecture and seminar readings e-mailed to instructors at least one day before the seminar session.
  • Case study presentations: The case studies require students to take and defend a point of view, based on what s/he has learned from lectures and seminar readings. By engaging the student in debate and critical thinking, we aim to enliven the key issues faced both by Japanese citizens and by students who encounter Japan.
  • Web page construction: Groups of students will build and present to the class a Web page that addresses the core concepts and information sources pertaining to that week’s topic.

Procedure for Case Studies and Web Page Presentations

This course ends with four sessions divided equally between a case study exercise and presentation of a Web page built expressly for the seminar. In order to make learning from the case studies and Web pages effective (and hopefully fun), the class will be divided into four teams, one for each topic: 1) Politics and history, 2) Economy and technology, 3) Education and the workplace, and 4) Community. Each team will be responsible for one case and one Web page during the semester.

Case Study Assignment

Due Ses #9-12

In developing the team’s case study presentation, team members should meet to discuss and prepare a coordinated presentation in class for 10-15 minutes on their designated day. A discussion topic and exercise questions are appended to each case. Each team should select a captain who will coordinate a discussion on the case either in person or via email with his/her team members, summarize the discussion, and submit the results no later than the week before its presentation in class. You should use your imagination and what you have learned from lectures and readings to come up with inventive solutions to the problems each case study presents. Other teams should come to class prepared to discuss the case.

Case study topics and discussion questions by session:

9 Leadership ( PDF) ( PDF)
10 International economy ( PDF) ( PDF)
11 Education ( PDF) ( PDF)
11 Workplace ( PDF) ( PDF)
12 Community ( PDF) ( PDF)

Web Page Assignment

Due Ses #9-12

The assigned group is responsible for meeting in person or electronically to discuss the contents and format of a Web page related to their assigned topic. As with the case study presentations, a captain should be selected who will coordinate the page and submit the concepts no later than the week before its demonstration in class. Use as many of the resources of the Web as is possible, but go beyond the Web when necessary. The objective is to establish a site filled with useful information about a new institution or product for the intended target. For each topic the designated team will choose one of the suggested themes and construct a Web site for presentation to the class.

The Web pages must be compelling and must reflect the information that you have learned about Japan. It should minimize text and maximize graphics and cross-postings to other Web sites (real or imagined). Consider carefully what part of the Japanese or foreign population you are trying to reach and why. You should draw from your readings as well as other published material on Japan. Your Web page should be a sophisticated reflection of careful study and understanding of the situation. The team leader should present with the help of one or two others.

Politics and History (pick one theme)

  1. A Web page promoting a new political party to Japanese voters that promises major structural reform.
  2. A Web page exploring the Yasukuni Shrine controversy for foreign journalists.
  3. A Web page for Japanese citizens describing a new government office to promote activities that would foster better Sino-Japanese relations.
  4. A Web page targeting Japanese citizens that reviews Japan’s territorial disputes with Korea, China, and Russia.

Economy and Technology (pick one theme)

  1. A Web page for a foreign-owned consumer electronics company seeking to introduce its product to the Japanese market.
  2. A Web page to promote a new R and D center for local firms established by a prefectural government.
  3. A Web page by a foreign financial services company to attract savings from Japanese middle class investors.

Education and the Workplace (pick one theme)

  1. A Web page aimed at Japanese parents to advertise a new private school focusing on a curriculum to promote creativity.
  2. A Web page appealing to potential employees that promotes a Japanese start-up software firm currently having difficulty recruiting from leading universities.
  3. A Web page for a work relocation service to help workers who have been “restructured.”

Community and Civil Society (pick one theme)

  1. Advertisement on Web page for a new community center with activities in a working class district with a large and diverse immigrant population.
  2. A police department Web page explaining their responsibilities and services to the community.
  3. A Web page for the National Association of Shinto Shrines to attract donations from the public.

We hope that you will, as always, be as creative as possible. But do make sure you inform your creativity with an appreciation of contemporary Japan.

Additional Assignments for the 9-Unit Subject

There are additional required readings marked * in the readings section, a final exam, and two paper assignments:

First Paper Assignment

Due Ses #5

Select a book from the following list ( PDF). In 5-7 pages, summarize the author’s main thesis and identify the major issues associated with this topic. Criticize the author’s approach if appropriate.

Second Paper Assignment

Due Ses #8

Write a short 5-7 page essay on one group of readings. Use the starred readings as well as at least three readings footnoted in the assignments. What do the authors say? Why is the subject important? What do they omit? Are there better readings to assign?

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment Activity Assignments
assignment Presentation Assignments
assignment Written Assignments