Summer 2011 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Mortensen, Joan
Discipline and Number
HIST 4358 Section 05A
MW Time 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Course Title
Modern Japan, 1600-present

Description of Course:

This course is a survey of Japanese History from 1600 to the present day. It is divided into 3 units. The first unit begins with the unification of Japan by the great samurai warrior Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1600. The Tokugawa rulers inaugurated a period of almost 300 years of peace in Japan. Yet, what did Japan's elite warriors or samurai do during 300 years of peacetime? The class will look at the ethos of Bushido (The Way of the Warrior) as it was articulated during the Tokugawa period. The Tokugawa Period (1600-1868) was also the most creative epoch in the development of Japanese art and literature.

The second unit will examine Japan's response to its encounter with the West in the 19th century. The approach of Commodore Perry's "Black Ships" to Japan's shores unleashed great forces of social and political change which culminated in the restoration of the Meiji Emperor and the dissolution of the samurai class.

The final unit of the course discusses Japan's role in World War II, the American occupation of Japan and Japan's economic miracle in the post war years. This unit also explores elements of Japan's popular culture such as anime and baseball.

Required Texts:

Books will include:
Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan
Kazuo Ishiguro, An Artist of the Floating World
Roger J, Davies and Osamu Ikeno, The Japanese Mind

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

1 midterm exam
1 project (short research paper/presentation)
1 final exam

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