Analysis of contemporary Japanese society

lasi2303  2020-2021  Louvain-la-Neuve

Analysis of contemporary Japanese society
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information below is subject to change, in particular that concerning the teaching mode (presential, distance or in a comodal or hybrid format).
5 credits
30.0 h

  This learning unit is not being organized during year 2020-2021.

Main themes
An introduction to the principal aspects of contemporary Japanese society in the post-war period. The course touches on the following themes:
1. How to build a new national identity after the defeat of the WWII in political, economic and cultural contexts;
2. How to impose as a high-developed country at an international stage and how to master the different problems due to its so fast developing strategy;
3. How to react firmly in the case of diverse crises like natural disaster (earthquake, tsunami and typhoon) or the facts caused by human (economic crises, unstable political situation, pollution);
4. How to keep hope in the future of the country in a harmonious way (not denying the country, nor neglecting the other countries' reactions).

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 At the end of this course, the student will be able to understand and to explain adequately topics the Japenese contemporary society presents as its features and/or problems. The student will also be able to deal with concerned subjects with a comparative point of vue, in distinguishing between European and Japanese issues.
This course aims to describe and situate the Japanese contemporary society in a global context, in focusing on several important moments of the country that can be observed from different points of view. The course intends to consider not only the well known historical facts as capitulation, the speedy economic developing period after the WWII, but also the more recent facts that can be understood as universal facts. For instance, the economic bubble bursting in 1990s and its results (i.e., the terrorism in Tokyo subway by an sect « Aum » in 1995), the most recent economic
crisis in 2008, the absence of the people's confidence in today's politics, the problems of Nuclear energy and questioning on other potential energy sources, the lack of freedom of thought and communication (the 3 last topics are the consequences of the North-East Japan Earthquake in March 2011).
The course respects a priori a chronology of these actual facts. However, certain intemporary aspects of the Japanese culture, like Japanese people's behavioral tendencies, the notions of ambiguity, of generosity and of politeness, are constantly mentioned, since these cultural features are indispensable to understand the Japanese Society in general.
Teaching methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Active learning : formal lectures, group discussions and presentations by the students of their works. Students will be obliged to read selected articles before lessons, with a view of talking about them in class.
Course material : selected reading matter to download from iCampus, power point presentations by the lecturer.
Evaluation methods

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the information in this section is particularly likely to change.

Continuous evaluation. The final marks will be based on :
  • active participation in discussion in class (40%) ;
  • preparation of a report on the selected topic and oral presentation of group work (60%).
As the evaluation is organized only during the course, the student has to sign up for the first session of the exam.
Other information
The course will be given in English and in French.
Online resources
  • Pierre Souyri (2010) Nouvelle histoire du Japon, éd. Perrin ;
  • Joy Hendry (2003) Understanding Japanese Society, 3rd edition , Nissan Institute /Routledge Curzon Japanese Studies Series,
  • Karyn Poupée (2012) Les Japonais ''', Tallandier ;
  • Barthélémy Courmont (2013) Géopolitique du Japon, Argos ;
  • Elena Janvier (2011) Au Japon, éd. Arléa.
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Master [120] in Political Sciences: General

Master [120] in Political Sciences: International Relations

Master [60] in Ancient Languages and Literatures : Oriental Studies

Master [60] in Political Sciences: General

Master [120] in Ancient Languages and Literatures: Oriental Studies

Master [120] in Public Administration