Masters degrees in Japanese Society & Culture examine the socioeconomic and cultural institutions, practices and customs which originate from, or are related to, Japan.
Related subjects include Asian Studies and Japanese Studies. Entry requirements typically include a relevant undergraduate degree, such as Cultural Studies, International Relations or Languages and Literature.
The Culture of Japan is highly diverse, with influences from Asia, Europe and North America. In particular, Chinese culture is till affluent within Japanese society, having arrived through links with Korea. As a result, there are many areas which postgraduates may research.
For example, you might observe how the development of the Silk Road played an important role in the import of other cultures into Japan. Or, you might explore Japan’s isolation from the rest of the word between the 17th and 19th centuries, and how America was an instigator of the re-opening of trade between Japan and the West.
Careers in Japanese Society & Culture may include traditional roles such as academic and publishing, media such as journalism, or even heritage management for organisations such as museums or galleries.
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.