To introduce students to 1) the institutions, methods, content, and goals of contemporary enculturation in family, school, and community contexts and 2) the various ways scholars of interested disciplines have approached this broad field of inquiry.
This course examines past and present enculturation practices in Japan, focusing on character and identity formation and training, from infancy through late childhood, in the contexts of home, school, and society at large. Readings, lectures, and class discussions will address perennial and emergent development issues, and draw variously upon anthropological, psychological, sociological, and historical materials. We will consider research by Japanese and foreign scholars on such topics as pre-natal nurturance, mother-infant relations, family member roles and interactions, adjustment to formal schooling, peer socialization effects, functions of play, mental health issues, inculcation of morality and other cultural norms in the classroom, pedagogical strategies, and conventional modes of learning, among others. Evaluation will be based on class participation, written reflections, and a short research paper. The goal is to deepen appreciation of how Japanese become Japanese, and of how this broad topic has been approached in method and theory.
This course is designed to explore major topics and debates on Japanese politics for those who have not studied it at the university level. Japan has experienced a dramatic change of the ruling party in 2009 from the long-lasting Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ); but the DPJ government soon became unpopular for reasons including the way in which they tackled Tsunami disasters and nuclear accidents in Fukushima. The 2012 general election made the conservative LDP return to power with Prime Minister (PM) Abe Shinzo in his second term. PM Abe again won the latest general election in December 2014 thanks partly to his successful economic policy called ‘Abenomics.’ However, its voter turnout was lowest in history, which means that political disengagement of citizens is expanding. This political process provokes such questions as to why the LDP has been so strong in Japan and why citizens are frustrated with the current party politics, who on earth is governing Japan. These questions cannot be correctly answered without sufficient knowledge and understanding of political institutions, the constitution, power relationship, political cultures and modern history of Japan. This course, therefore, examines these issues as well as some key contemporary public policies of Japan in order to understand what really is going on in Japanese politics. No prior study on Japanese politics is required; but some knowledge about politics of your own country is certainly helpful.