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.
If you’re a native speaker or you have substantial training in Chinese, Japanese or Thai, this programme will prepare you for a career in research with an area specialism.
Half of the programme will give you a solid foundation in East Asian studies and research methodologies, equipping you with a range of subject knowledge, consolidating your language skills and preparing you to conduct independent, theory-driven research. In the other half, you’ll apply all of this to your own research project comprising 50% of the MRes, supervised by a member/members of the Faculty.
You’ll study in a stimulating research environment with plenty of opportunities to attend research events and conferences, not just within East Asian Studies but also at School and University level.
Our tutors are conducting world-class research in diverse fields across East Asian Studies, and you’ll benefit from teaching that’s informed by their own work. It’s a great opportunity to prepare for a career in academic or professional research.
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 we 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.
The programme is divided in half, with 50% advanced research training and 50% independent research on a specialist topic of your choice.
Advanced methodological training will cover the key stages of the research process and equip you to conduct independent research informed by a sound theoretical understanding. You’ll also practice skills such as writing abstracts, papers and proposals as well as verbal presentations and group discussions, preparing you to present and share your research.
The remainder of the programme will be spent working with a supervisor in the faculty on your own research project, focusing on a topic that interests you perhaps laying the foundations for future academic research.
We use a range of teaching and learning methods such as lectures and seminars. You’ll be expected to participate fully in these by giving presentations and conducting your own research and reading before taught sessions. Of course, independent research is vital to this programme, allowing you to develop your skills and explore your own ideas and interests.
You’ll also experience a range of assessment methods, depending on the taught modules you choose. These may include exams and essays as well as presentations, literature reviews, project work and in-course assessment among others. Language modules may also include different forms of assessment such as translation tests. Your dissertation will be assessed based on the final, submitted piece of work.
The emphasis on independent research and advanced methodological training on this programme means it offers ideal preparation for PhD study, or professional research roles in government, media, business or the charity and voluntary sectors.
You’ll also gain important skills such as analysis, problem-solving, oral and written communication as well as cultural awareness, all of which are valuable in a wide range of careers in different sectors.
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.