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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Steven W. Collins
BIS 400
Bothell Campus

Modern Japan

History of Japan from the beginning of the Tokugawa period to the present. Covers the principal ideas and institutions of the feudal period, and the impact of the West during the Meiji period. Explores the struggle of modern Japan to maintain its cultural identity while becoming a powerful modern state.

Class description

The first part of the course surveys Japan's modern history Japanese history from the late 19th century to the present. The second part of the course explores themes in contemporary political economy, culture, and society, including the challenge of reconstruction in the wake of last year's earthquake, tsunami, and disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Student learning goals

Understand the social, political, cultural, and economic changes that Japan has experienced from the late 19th century to the present.

Describe and assess Japanís contemporary political economy, including the functioning of its political system and policy making processes, and to draw comparisons with the US.

Recognize distinguishing aspects of Japanese language, arts, philosophy, and cultural products, trace their history, and explain their formation in terms of larger political and social currents.

Understand and appreciate the serious challenges posed by a rapidly aging society, shrinking labor force, increasingly assertive neighbors, and reconstruction following last year's earthquake.

Effectively integrate qualitative and quantitative information to describe, assess, and compare countries.

General method of instruction

Lecture and small-group group discussion, supplemented with film.

Recommended preparation

Students should be familiar with the process of writing a research paper, have taken bis300 and other 300-level courses, and have junior or senior status.

Class assignments and grading

Exams (may be in-class, take-home, or combination), essays (one of which may be an 8-10 page research paper), classwork done individually or in small groups, and homework.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Steven W. Collins
Date: 01/26/2012