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Japanese Society and Culture (MSc)

Course Description

Programme description

Contemporary Japanese culture is a dazzling fusion of western and eastern traditions adapted to a hypermodern way of life. And although these traditions remain resilient, Japan is also firmly in the vanguard of post-industrial nations facing a wide range of domestic issues and diverse global challenges.

This programme will help students acquire the in-depth knowledge of Japanese history, culture and society required to understand the challenges Japan faces today, while also placing Japan within the international context as a leading nation in East Asian regional and global developments.

This programme caters for students with or without Japanese language skills. It builds on existing experience, using Japanese source materials and secondary literature for research purposes, while also providing an extensive understanding of scholarship on Japanese society and culture written in English.

With support from staff with proven expertise, you will have the opportunity to enhance your language skills – whatever your current level – and acquire specialist knowledge of Japanese culture, and awareness of the interaction of Japanese and other cultures in the contemporary context.

Programme structure

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.

Compulsory courses:

State, Society and National Identity in Japan after 1989

Option courses may include:

The Buddhist Brush: Discursive and Graphic Expressions of Japanese Buddhism
Language Communities and Variation in Japanese
Japanese Performing Arts
Japanese Religions in the Modern Era
Japanese Cyberpunk
East Asian International Relations
Portfolio of Written Translation Exercises in Japanese

Learning outcomes

Students who follow the programme will:

develop critical awareness of at least two specific areas of Japanese Studies, both in terms of the indigenous literary and/or critical traditions and in comparison with Western critical thinking
acquire specialist knowledge of Japanese culture and awareness of the interaction of Japanese and other cultures in the contemporary context
use the bibliographic, internet and other relevant resources to advanced level
develop the ability to read and evaluate critically core texts in the specific areas studied

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.

Career opportunities

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.

Visit the Japanese Society and Culture (MSc) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A UK 2:1 degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant discipline.

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Recipient: University of Edinburgh

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