The last 20 years have been a period of transition for Japan.
The abrupt end in the early 1990s of Japan’s seemingly unstoppable economic growth plunged the nation into two decades of recession, which has in turn brought to the fore a range of social and political issues accumulated since the Second World War.
The end of Japanese economic superiority also coincided with the end of the Cold War, an event that brought about new regional and global dynamics, and with them new security challenges.
Meanwhile, Japanese culture has experienced a renaissance, with Japan recognised worldwide as a centre of global ‘cool’, and Japanese cultural products continuing to find new markets and influence new demographics worldwide.
The overall picture is of a rapidly changing nation in the vanguard of post-industrial societies — fascinating not only for its rich traditional heritage and diversity, but also for what its recent experience can tell us about world trends.
Understanding such complexity requires an interdisciplinary approach, and we offer you the opportunity to explore Japanese history, international relations, politics, religion, and arts, and help you see the connections between them.
Using Japanese source materials in tandem with the extensive English language literature on Japan, we will help you build upon and develop your own interests, focus on the aspects of Japan that fascinate you, and support you as you carry out your own original research project.
By the end of the programme you will have acquired specialist skills and knowledge that mark you out as an expert on Japan, and the confidence to apply those skills in industry, academia or beyond.
The programme is taught through a combination of seminars and tutorials. You will take one compulsory and four option courses, as well as a compulsory research skills and methods course. After two semesters of taught courses you will conduct your own research for your dissertation.
Option courses may include:
Students who follow the programme will:
Those with previous experience in Japanese language learning will have the opportunity to develop the necessary linguistic skills to conduct research in defined areas within Japanese Studies by retrieving, selecting, translating and assimilating information from Japanese sources.
The flexibility of focus this programme offers makes it an ideal foundation for advanced study, potentially leading to an academic career. Teaching or curatorship roles in cultural institutions are alternative career pathways
The transferable skills you gain in communication, project management and presentation will prove a valuable asset to employers in any field.
First taught at Edinburgh in 1976, Japanese has developed to encompass a thriving postgraduate research programme. Covering a wide spectrum of interests, it also allows for joint supervision, should your research goals be interdisciplinary.
Postgraduate researchers can choose from array of topics covering Japanese history, politics and the performing and literary arts. These include:
Throughout your studies, you will have the opportunity to liaise closely with the Consulate General of Japan in Edinburgh, the Japan Society and the Japan Foundation, each of which can offer a variety of events and resources.
As well as the comprehensive collections of the University, we can offer a specialised collection of journals and reference works. Additional research resources are available at the nearby Edinburgh Central Library and National Library of Scotland. You will also be involved in a programme of regular seminars and workshops, as well as tuition in subject-appropriate skills where necessary.
This interdisciplinary programme will provide you with in-depth knowledge of the politics, economies and societies of East Asia.
Taught by leading researchers in our world-class facilities, you’ll learn to apply academic analysis to your experience of the region, or to convert past training in another academic discipline to apply it to the Asian context.
A wide range of optional modules will give you the chance to focus on topics such as business practices, the role of China or Japan in international development or the complex politics of the Asia Pacific among others.
Whether you’re entering a professional career and want to gain regional expertise, or you’re a professional seeking to build on your experience of living and working in an Asian context, you’ll gain an insight into a complex and fascinating part of the world.
By choosing to study East Asian Studies at Leeds you will be joining a leading centre for research in the region, with over 50 years of history. In addition to the academic strengths that have accrued over this time, we have developed an extensive and active international network of alumni. Leeds is also home to very substantial and world-renowned specialist library collections.
If you’re interested in learning or developing your skills in an East Asian language, you might want to consider our East Asian Cultures and Societies (Language Pathway) MA.
This programme offers a wide range of choice. You’ll select the modules you want to study from a range of options, allowing you to shape the programme according to your own interests and career plans.
You could focus on Japanese business, China’s relationship with the developing world or international politics across the Asia Pacific among many other topics.
A core module will give you an understanding of research methods in the humanities and social sciences, allowing you to develop your skills. This will culminate with your dissertation – an independent research project on a topic of your choice that allows you to demonstrate the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from the expertise of our tutors, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. However, independent study remains an important element of this degree as a chance for you to develop your skills and explore topics that interest you.
You’ll also experience a range of assessment methods, depending on the modules you choose. These may include exams and essays as well as presentations, project work and in-course assessment among others.
This programme will suit you whether you’re just starting your professional career, or you’re a mid-career professional who has lived and worked in an Asian context. You’ll gain subject knowledge as well as transferable skills in topics such as analysis, research, communication, presentations and cultural awareness.
All of these are valuable in a wide range of professions across different sectors and industries, including business, public and third sectors. Graduates from our School have developed exciting careers in the UK and worldwide, as diplomats, educators, and policy-makers, to name just a few.
The programme will also prepare you for PhD study, providing a good stepping stone towards an academic career.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.