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Course NameHistory of Modern Japan
InstructorTyner, Colin
MajorGeneral Studies
Course goals
Course outlineThis course covers the political and cultural history of Japan from the mid-1850s to the mid-1960s. The course was designed for students without any background in Japanese history. We will begin with an examination of the construction the nation-state of the Japan in the context of an imperialized East Asia. Through a selection of translations, secondary sources, we will discuss how people were enrolled in the making of Japan and how their participation in the construction of this empire differed depending on their gender, class, and ethnicity. Students will be evaluated based on participation, short writing assignments, a mid-term, and final examination. English is the language of instruction and evaluation.
Evaluation Scale and Policies1. Attendance and Participation (20%): Along with attending the class, active participation is expected and evaluated. I take this part of the evaluation process seriously. 2. Weekly Reactions (30%): You must turn in reaction "papers" for each week that week that we meet to talk about readings. Please hand me 1 hardcopy of your reaction paper at the beginning of class. I will give you full marks for each reaction. 3. Midterm Exam (20%): The midterm exam will be held on 8th week of our course. It will consist of a map quiz, short identifications and a short essay The examination is meant to measure what learned in class. Therefore, I am measuring you competency in what we have covered in class, not on how much you have been able to draw from Wikipedia articles. 4. Final Exam (30%): I will assign a take-home examination that will be due one week after our final class (31 July). Students will submit their examinations as a Microsoft Word document by email.
PrerequisitesPOLICIES ON ELECTRONIC DEVICES: a. Policy on Phones: The use of mobile phones to either make calls or to send text messages is a major distraction to both the instructor and your fellow students. Mobile phones must be turned off during class. Students who send emails or personal messages on their phones during class or receive any phone calls will be required to leave the class for the remainder of the lecture. b. Policy on Laptop/Tablet Computers: The use of laptop computers in class is permitted for taking notes only. Students found to be using their laptop/tablet for other purposes (email, browsing websites, playing video games, etc.) will be asked to leave the class.
Texts, materials, and suppliesThere are no textbooks for this course. The instructor will supply the readings, which will range between 25-75 pp per week.
Course Schedule/PlanWeekly Schedule

Unit 1: Course Introductions and Orientations


Unit 2: Meiji Restoration


Lu, David John. "The End of Tokugawa Rule." In Japan: A Documentary History: The Late Tokugawa Period to the Present, 273-303. Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 1996.

Unit 3: Creating a New Nation-State


Lu, David John. "Early Meiji Political Development," in Sources of Japanese History. Vol. 2. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974.

Unit 4: "Civilization and Enlightenment"


Craig, Albert. "Chapter 36: Civilization and Enlightenment" and "Japan and the World in Cultural Debate". In Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. Two: 1600 to 2000, Abridged, edited by William Theodore de Barry, Carol Gluck and Arthur E. Tiedemann. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Unit 5: Governing Imperial Territories and Subjects: Taiwan and "the South"


Mainichi News. Umi no seimeisen wa ga no nany? gunt? (1933) (Film)

Unit 6: Governing Imperial Territories and Subjects: Korea


"Through the Eye of a Needle" and "A Red Line Marks My Record" from Under the Black Umbrella: Voices from Colonial Korea, 1910-1945

Unit 7: Japanese Modernity in Crisis


"Socialism and the Left" and " The Rise of Revolutionary Nationalism" In Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol. Two: 1600 to 2000, Abridged, edited by William Theodore de Barry, Carol Gluck and Arthur E. Tiedemann. 212-287. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006.

Unit 8: Midterm (In-class)

I will provide a study guide for the exam two weeks in advance of the test. Please look at the section on required work and form of assessment for more information on form of the examination.

Unit 9: Japan's China and the Beginning of the 15-Year War (11 - 13 Nov)


Selections from Haruko Cook and Theodore F. Cook, ed. Japan at War: An Oral History. New York: New Press, 1992.

Unit 10: The Asia Pacific War: An End to Empire


Dower, John W. "Race, Language, and War in Two Cultures." In Japan in War and Peace: Essays on History, Culture, and Race, 257-85. London: HarperCollins, 1996.

Unit 11: Occupied Japan

John W. Dower, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1999. 33-167.

Unit 13: Under the Nuclear Umbrella


Dower, "Occupied Japan and the Cold War in Asia" and "Yoshida in the Scales of History"In Japan in War and Peace: Essays on History, Culture, and Race, London: HarperCollins, 1996.

Unit 14: Contesting the Center

Igarashi, Yoshikuni. "From the Anti-Security Treaty Movement to the Tokyo Olympics: Transforming the Body, the Metropolis, and Memory." In Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945-1970, 131 - 63. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Unit 15: The Consequences of Rapid Economic Growth

Upham, Frank, "Unplaced Persons and Movements for Place" in Postwar Japan as History, ed. by Andrew Gordon. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Walthall, Anne Ed. "Yokoi Sh?ichi: When a Solider Finally Returns Home." The Human Tradition in Modern Japan. Wilmington, Del.: SR Books, 2002