Category Archives: Japan related courses

More Japanese Program-related Courses

East Asia: China and Japan

An introduction to the classical order in China and Japan followed by a consideration of the impact of Western intervention and internal change from the 18th century to the present.  Special emphasis on the interaction between China and Japan in this period.


Japanese Society and Culture

This course is an introduction to contemporary Japanese society. The course examines what everyday life is like in Japan from anthropological and historical perspectives. It explores such major social institutions as families, gender, communities, workplaces, and belief systems. The course focuses as well on the ways in which modernization has affected these institutions and the identities of Japanese people.

Asian Urban Ecology

Asian Urban Ecology

Asian cities are among the most economically productive in the world, and also number some of the most polluted and environmentally challenged urban centers on the planet.  Further complicating this picture is the fact that many Asian cities are also on the cutting edge of policies associated with “ecological modernization,” the effort to balance and manage competing economic and environmental interests and values.  This course will examine a range of Asian cities, including, for example, Beijing, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul, and a range of issues like resource management, urban sprawl and congestion, environmental protection, green space and urban design, biodiversity and environmental justice with a view to better understanding the evolving interdependence among political, economic, social and natural systems in urban Asia.


Environmental Degradation of the Yellow River, China

The Yellow River, central to the rise of the Chinese civilization, is the most turbid river in the modern world; however, its water was clear 1000 years ago.  What has happened to this river?  This interdisciplinary introductory-level course focuses on the environmental degradation of the Yellow River beginning 5000 years ago.  This course is aimed at both science and non-science students alike.  There are no prerequisites.  Topics covered will include the climate change in the Yellow River drainage basin, the impacts of deforestation and human reclamation on the Yellow River and its significance to fluvial and sediment discharge, the frequent river course shifts and their relationship to environmental degradation and human activities, the fluvial and sediment budget and sedimentation in the lower reaches and offshore area, and the socio-economic impacts of the historical river course shifts and their significance to regional sustainability development.

Environmental Degadation of the Yellow River, China

Examples of Japanese-related Courses

The following are some examples of courses offered by the East Asian Studies department at Dickinson College:

Japanese Cinema

Japanese Cinema

This course provides a survey of Japanese cinema from its early days to the present and places that development in its historical context. Within the overarching frame of history we will examine how Japanese cinema became a “national cinema” and what that means; how genre theory helps us approach “Japanese” genres such as samurai, yakuza and giant monster movies; how auteur theory was applied to the work of directors like Kurosawa and Ozu; and the role of Japanese cinema in the world.


Contemporary Japanese Society

This course is an introduction to the society and culture of modern Japan. We will examine such major social institutions in Japan as families, communities, workplaces, and belief systems. The impact of modernity on these institutions, the evolving relationship between roles, and popular culture will also be covered.


Samuri Samurai and Geisha: Fact and Fiction

There are perhaps no more iconic figures in Japanese culture than the samurai and geisha. Popular as they are, many misconceptions remain about their roles throughout Japanese history. This course explores the lived experiences of samurai and geisha in Japan as well as the myths that have developed around them. Course materials draw on historical texts, ethnographic studies, and fictional depictions of samurai and geisha in film and media.


History of East Asia: China and Japan

An introduction to the classical order in China and Japan followed by a consideration of the impact of Western intervention and internal change from the 18th century to the present. Special emphasis on the interaction between China and Japan in this period.


Nature and the Environment in Japanese Literature and Film

This course explores the relationship between humanity and nature in Japanese literature and film. Though we will draw from earlier examples, the majority of the course will be focused on the modern era (post 1868). Some topics for exploration include: the role of animals in Japanese culture, nature as a reflection of the self, natural and industrial disasters, and nature in the imagination.

Courses for the East Asian Studies Major and Minor with a focus on Japan

The East Asian Studies major with a focus on Japan requires 11 courses.

Required Courses:

1. Japanese 211, 212 (or equivalent)
2. East Asian Studies 101
3. One course that focuses on an East Asian country that is not the focus of language study
4. One East Asian Studies 300-level Colloquium
5. East Asian Studies 490 (senior research)


1. Three humanities courses focusing on East Asia (including one literature course)
East Asian Studies 201
East Asian Studies 202
East Asian Studies 203
East Asian Studies 205
East Asian Studies 305
Art and Art History 208
Art and Art History 210
Religion 130
Religion 230
Religion 330
Philosophy 246

2. Three social science courses focusing on East Asia
East Asian Studies 206
East Asian Studies 207
East Asian Studies 208
East Asian Studies 306
East Asian Studies 259
Anthropology 232
Comparative Civilizations 105 (when topic is relevant)
History 120
History 361
History 215 (when topic is relevant
History 404 (when topic is relevant)
International Business & Management 200
International Business & Management 300 (when topic is relevant)
Law and Policy 259
Political Science 190 (when topic is relevant)
Political Science 254
Political Science 255
Political Science 259
Political Science 290 (when topic is relevant)
Other courses on Asia with departmental consent

NOTE: Two upper-level language courses (JPNS 231/232; CHIN 231/232) may be substituted for one elective from the humanities (but not literature) and one elective from the social sciences.




208 Japan Practicum
An intensive in-country introduction to Japanese culture and society. The course is particularly suited to students who have not had a chance to take two years of Japanese language instruction and/or are not able to take advantage of the College’s semester or year-long program in Japan. The course will introduce students to various aspects of Japanese society and culture and will link classroom study to outside-the-classroom and on-site experiences. The latter will include academic excursions to places of historical and cultural interest as well as to institutions like factories, schools, businesses, community organizations, and recreation areas that exemplify contemporary Japanese life. Course content will vary with the particular expertise and interests of the instructor(s) and curricular needs.
This course fulfills the DIV II social sciences and Comparative Civilizations distribution requirements.


Five courses: Four Japanese language courses beyond Intermediate JPNS 212. One additional, 300-level (or higher) Japanese language course or one non-language East Asian course on Japan.

NOTE: The Japanese minor is open to non-East Asian Studies majors only.

  • *101, 102 Elementary Japanese
    These courses establish the basic language skills including listening, speaking, reading and writing. These courses also provide students with a brief overview of Japanese culture.
  • *211, 212 Intermediate Japanese
    The aim of these courses is the mastery of the basic structure of Japanese language and communicative skills. The student will have an opportunity to get to know more of Japanese culture.
    Prerequisite: 102 or permission of the instructor.
  • *231, 232 Advanced Japanese
    The emphasis in these courses is placed on enhancing the students’ fluency and acquiring increasingly creative skills through composition, oral presentation and discussion.
    Prerequisite: 212 or permission of the instructor.
  • *361, 362 Advanced Japanese II
    The emphasis in these courses is placed on polishing and refining the students’ language skills. Emphasis is placed on covering more sophisticated materials such as newspapers, magazine articles, film and literature.
    Prerequisite: 232 or permission of the instructor.