Courses 2014

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Course NameJapanese Globalization in Comparative Context
InstructorCleveland, Kyle
MajorGeneral Studies
Course goalsThis course is designed to equip you to assess public discourse related to contemporary social and political issues in Japan. The goal of this course is to enable you to think critically and analytically by being able to identify underlying assumptions and ideologies inscribed in mass media representations of contemporary Japanese society. You will be expected to learn the substantive content of particular issues, and to be able to understand how these issues are historically and culturally contextualized, in order to develop a comparative framework of analysis.
Course outlineJapanese Globalization in Comparative Context is a special topics course that examines how Japan is influencing cultural trends abroad and responding to foreign influences in politics, mass media, consumerism and youth and popular culture. The course compares how Japan and Western culture interface in globalization of culture in popular culture and how international norms and expectations influence political issues related to contemporary social change in areas such as gender roles, attitudes toward youth, foreigners, ethnic minorities and crime. Additional topics will include Japanese nationalism, the “soft power” politics of youth and popular culture, economic stratification in the labor market, the profound effect that the 3.11 disasters have brought to Japan, and the social and psychological impact of rapid social change in this uniquely post– modern society.
Evaluation Scale and PoliciesGrades will be based upon a mid-term and final exam, short quizzes, and an in-class oral presentation. The mid-term and the final exam will be given as a take-home essay exam. Additional handouts will specify the requirements for the in-class presentation and extra-credit assignments.

Grades will be calculated as follows:
Mid-term Exam: 30% Final Exam: 30%
In-Class Presentation: 20% Short exams (quizzes): 20%

Short exams (quizzes)
In addition to the midterm and final exams, a means of assessment for this course will be short "pop quizzes) that will be given in-class. The purpose of these exams is to help facilitate discussion, to focus your attention more specifically on the readings, and to track your involvement in the class throughout the semester. These quizzes will be given periodically throughout the semester, and will take no more than 15minutes of class time.

Group Project Presentations
In-class presentations will be distributed throughout the semester, on designated topics which align with course curriculum. Presentations will be done in small groups, typically of 2-3 persons per group. Each presentation should be 30-45 minutes in duration (or no more than 15min/person). This is an oral presentation (with use of audio-visual materials), but students will also be required to hand in an outline, division-of-labor schemata, and bibliography at the time of the presentation. These materials should be submitted by email (Word/PDF format). Late submissions will result in reduced credit. Presentations will be graded on the basis of their comprehensiveness, quality of attributed sources, organization of audio-visual materials and overall coordination among the collaborating students giving the presentation. The final grade for this assignment will be a composite of a group and individual grades for each presenter.

Extra Credit
The extra credit assignments for this class will influence borderline grades and may be a means of substituting for a missed or failed short quiz. Should you attend a designated extra credit activity, you are required to submit a 3 page summary by the beginning of the next class period following the event.

Attendance is essential for this course, and will influence final grades. Regular attendance is a measure of your commitment to the class, and you will be allowed no more than 3 absences without penalty. Attendance for class projects, exams and for days in which guest lecturers visit is mandatory. Failure to attend class in which a graded assignment is due will result in an automatic “F” for the assignment. In order to receive permission for missing a class in which a graded assignment is due without penalty, students are required to supply official documentation (a doctor's note) that verifies a legitimate reason for the absence.

Short exams(quizzes)
Reading Reflectin Papers: 30%, Final Exam: 50%Attendance is essential for this course, and will influence final grades. Regular attendance is a measure of your commitment to the class, and you will be allowed no more than 3 absences without penalty - one full letter grade will be reduced from your earned grade if you miss more than 3 classes for this course.
PrerequisitesThis course is open to all students who meet the academic requirements for participation. Any student who has a need for accommodation based on the impact of a disability should inform the instructor (within the first week of class) and confirm with the YCU administrative office.
Texts, materials, and suppliesMost of the materials for this course will be available as PDF files or accessible online. PDF formatted copies of assigned materials will be emailed to students prior to their assigned date.
Your written assignments should reflect individual thought and your ability to integrate course materials and represent your ideas with originality and in your own voice. It is important that you abide by university policy which regulates the appropriate usage of source materials. Plagiarism may result in failing grades, and pending administrative review, removal from the course.

Video Recording of this class is NOT permitted. Audio recording is only allowed with advanced notice and explicit permission from the instructor. If you have a disability that requires you to record the class, please speak to me as soon as possible to discuss any reasonable accommodation. Audio recording of this class is permitted for personal use ONLY. Broadcast, dissemination or transmission of any recording in any form, or any class materials (notes, Powerpoint) is strictly forbidden, and may result in disciplinary action.

Note that the PowerPoint presentations used in this class are not available for public distribution and will not be made available outside the class (that is, they are only used in-class for lectures). Students should take notes in lieu of having an outlined handed to them. The content of course lectures are intellectual property that is not to be distributed outside the confines of this specific class.
Course Schedule/PlanWeek 1
Course outline and expectations
Lecture: What is ideology, how does it relate to social change and our daily lives?

Week 2: Topic: Youth Culture, Mass Media and “Cool Japan”
McGray, D. (2002). Japan’s Gross National Cool. Foreign Policy, 130 (May/June): 44-54.
Gladwell, Malcolm (1997, March 17). The Coolhunt. The New Yorker: Condé Nast.
Film: Merchants of Cool (2001) (DVD)/ Available online: PBS Documentary: The Coolhunt

Week 3: Topic: Globalization and Japanese Popular Culture
Allison, Anne (2008). The Attractions of the J-Wave for American Youth. In Soft Power Superpowers: Cultural and National Assets of Japan and the United States, 99-110.
Iwabuchi, Koichi (2002). Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism. Duke University press.

Week 4: Topic: Soft-Power Politics – International Norms and Globalization
Leheny, D. (2006). A Narrow Place to Cross Swords: Soft power and the Politics of Japanese Popular Culture in East Asia. Beyond Japan: the dynamics of East Asian regionalism, 211-233.
Leheny, David (2011). “The Other Rashomon Story: International Norms and Continuing Constructions of Japaneseness,”The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics, Edited by Alisa Gaunder

Week 5: Topic: Japanese Nationalism – Whaling, Animals Rights and Cross-cultural Norms
Kalland, Arne (2004). “Japanese Perceptions of Whales and Dolphins,” In Wildlife in Asia: Cultural Perspectives. London: RoutledgeCurzon.
Foster Wallace, David (August, 2004). “Consider the Lobster,” In Gourmet magazine.
Accessible online:
Film: The Cove, directed by Louie Psihoyos

Week 6: Topic: Japanese Political Nationalism
Nelson, John (2003). “Social Memory as Ritual Practice: Commemorating Spirits of the Military Dead at Yasukuni Jinja Shrine,” In Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 62, No.2, Pp. 445 – 467.
Film: "Spirits of the State" directed by John Nelson
Shibuichi, Daiki (2007). “The 'Uyoku Ronin Do': Assessing the Lifestyles and Values of Japan's Contemporary Right Wing Radical Activists,” in Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies, Discussion Paper 6.

Week 7 No class – to be rescheduled

Week 8 Race/Ethnicity in Japan & Out-of-Category Minorities
Roth, Joshua Isaiah (2005). “Political and Cultural Perspectives on ‘Insider’ Minorities,” In A Companion to the Anthropology of Japan, edited by Jennifer Robertson. Blackwell Publishing, Ltd.
Kelly, William and Merry White (2006). “Students, Slackers, Singles, Seniors, and Strangers: Transforming a Family-Nation,” in Beyond Japan: The Dynamics of East Asian Regionalism,” Peter J. Katzenstein & Takashi Shiraishi, Editors, Cornell University Press.

Week 9: Topic: Crime, Deviance and Criminal Justice in Japan
Shipper, Apichai (2005). Criminals or Victims?: The Politics of Illegal Foreigners in Japan. Journal of Japanese Studies Vol. 31, No. 2, Pp. 299– 328.
Miyazawa, Setsuo (2008). The politics of increasing Punitiveness and the Rising Populism in Japanese Criminal Justice Policy. Punishment & Society, Vol. 10, No. 1: 47-77.

Week 10: Topic: Organized Crime: The Japanese Yakuza and International Criminal Networks
Lintner, Bertril. “Dark Masters of Kabuki.,” ln Blood Brothers: The Criminal Underworld of Asia.
Hill, Peter (2004). The Changing Face of the Yakuza. Global Crime, Vol. 6, No. 1, 97-116.

Week 11: Topic: The Tohoku Disasters of 3.11 (Tsunami)
Paterni, Michael (2011). "The Man Who Sailed His House," In GQ magazine, Conde Naste.
Curtis, Gerald (2011). "Tohoku Diary," In Columbia College Today, Winter 2011 – 12
Aldrich, Daniel P. (2012). Post-crisis Japanese Nuclear Policy: from Top-down Directives to Bottom-up Activism.

Week 12: Topic: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis
Kushida, Kenji E. (2012). “ Japan's Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Narrative, Analysis, and Recommendation.” Shorenstein APARC Working Paper. Stanford University.
Perrow, Charles (2011). "Fukushima and the Inevitability of Accidents," In Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 67, No. 2, pp. 44 - 52.

Week 13: Topic: The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster (Social and Political Consequences)
Greenpeace International (February 2012). Lessons from Fukushima. Accessible online: Greenpeace Report on Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and Aftermath
Cleveland, Kyle (2014). “Mobliizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the Politics of Uncertainty,” In The Asia Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Online:

Week 14: Social Networks and Political Activism
Christakis, Nicholas, & Fowler, J. H. (2009). Connected: The surprising power of our social networks and how they shape our lives. Hachette Digital, Inc..
Slater, David, Keiko Nishimura, Love Kindstrand (2012). "Social Media in Disaster Japan," in Natural Disaster and Nuclear Crisis in Japan: Response and Recovery after Japan's 3/11, edited by Jeff Kingston, Nissan Institute/Routledge Japanese Studies.
Gladwell, Malcolm (2010, October 4). Small Change: Why the Revolution will not be Tweeted. The New Yorker. Available online:

Week 15: Topic: Course summary