This course overviews daily social lives of people in contemporary Japanese society. Main subjects covered in this course include, but are not limited to, individuals’ experiences of and perspectives on social stratification (class and inequalities), gender issues, race and ethnic relations, young-old social relations, education, popular culture, sports, and the family. The main goal of this course is to introduce to students contemporary Japanese society and culture from a sociological perspective, which focuses on how broad social structures and institutions shape and reshape individuals’ perceptions and behaviors both in the course of their daily lives and over the whole of their lifetimes.
Students in this course will achieve the course goal stated above partly through regular participation in Language Table in English, a weekly student-centered activity. Through this activity, students in this course will engage in informal discussions with the Japanese participants (based on a set of discussion questions prepared by the instructor) and will gain knowledge of the way in which the Japanese participants experience their daily social lives as related to some of the main course subjects. This course will help students obtain basic knowledge of Japanese social life today not only through standard lectures and reading materials but also from their regular, direct interactions with Japanese students.