21H.155 | Spring 2017 | Undergraduate

Modern Japan: 1868 to Present



Starting in Week 3, each student will present a brief review of one outside material that adds insight to the topic that’s being discussed during one of the class sessions. The outside material will be chosen in consultation with the instructor. In addition, students will present on their final papers during Week 14.


During the course of the semester, each student will complete three essays (due during Sessions 7, 14, and 25). Each essay is designed to help students synthesize the topics and materials covered in lectures, in-class discussions, and assigned materials. 

Essay 1: Was late Tokugawa Japan actually in trouble?

Essay 2: Visualizing Modernity

Essay 3: A historically-informed review of a significant example of a post-WWII or contemporary Japanese cultural product

Some Essay Tips

Questions to ask before turning in your paper:

  • Is the title of my essay informative?
  • Do I state my thesis point soon enough, perhaps even in the first sentence, and keep it in view throughout the paper? Is the opening paragraph interesting, and by its end, have I focused on the topic?
  • Is my organization clear? Does each point lead into the next, without irrelevancies and without anticlimaxes?
  • Is each paragraph unified by a topic sentence or topic idea?
  • Are my sentences concise, clear, and emphatic? Are needless words and inflated language eliminated?
  • Is the final paragraph conclusive without being repetitive?

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2017
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments
Lecture Notes