Summer 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course is a survey of Japanese history from 1600 to the present day. The class begins with a study of 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 or the “Way of the Warrior” as it was articulated during the Tokugawa Period. The Tokugawa era (1600-1868) was also the most creative epoch in the development of Japanese art and literature.
Next, the class 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 segment of the class will discuss Japan’s role in World War II, the American occupation of Japan and Japan’s economic miracle in the post-war years. During the last week of the semester, students will study elements of Japanese popular culture such as anime, manga and baseball.
Kazuo Ishiguro, Artist of the Floating World
Junichiro Tanizaki, Some Prefer Nettles
Saburo Ienaga, The Pacific War
Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
take home final exam