Japanese Society and History
This term will be a new and challenging one for all of us. I want to encourage you to join me in using the mantra “Let’s get through this together.” There may be times where you’re thinking more about the health of family and friends elsewhere. I encourage you to be open and honest with those concerns and with yourself and with me. None of us has ever gone through something quite like this and we are all engaging with a variety of emotions. Taking care of your mental and physical health is of paramount importance.
This course is designed to provide an overview of contemporary Japanese society through a comparative sociological lens. In the course of the semester, we will use broad sociological concepts to explore how they play out in a specific social setting, while also considering how Japan compares with elsewhere. The goal is to further our sociological understanding by seeing how issues work in various societies and to help strengthen your understanding of your own society as well.
We can think of the course, based on the length of the term and in a hat tip to David Letterman (the retired TV host in the US), as a “Top Ten List.” The original idea of a top ten things to know about Japan came from Carol Gluck (1998). I have modified it to fit the contemporary conditions in Japan. The topics link together, but owing to the necessities of how to talk about them, the topics have been separated for convenience sake.