UCL European & International Social & Political Studies


ESPS0040 - Politics of Japan

Course value: 15 credits
Convenor: Dr. Igor Rogelja
Duration: One term (Term 2)
Teaching structure: Two-hour seminar, consisting of an hour-long lecture followed by an hour-long class discussion
Assessment: 15 minute group presentation 20%, Essay (1,000 words) 20%, Essay (3,000 words) 60%
Available to: Priority will be given to ISPS Mandarin and Japanese major language students, but all ISPS students are welcome (as space permits)
Module level: Intermediate

Course Description:

This module provides students with a solid understanding of the politics of Japan by analysing various political, social, economic and environmental issues which have shaped the island nation. The module will encourage students to look beyond stereotypes and learn about the politics of Japan in a nuanced, contextualized way.

Japan is often classed alongside North America and Europe as part of 'the West', yet the Western imaginary of Japan is aprimeexample of an exoticizing, orientalist discourse. With thiscontradictionin mind, this module investigates Japan's modernization with an emphasis on how it managed the transition from a closed country to one of the world's preeminent economies. In doing so, the module will touch upon Japanism as a form of Orientalism, deconstruct narratives of Japanese exceptionalism and contextualize its politics in both international and domestic contexts, paying particular attention to a multi-layered and anti-hegemonic reading of Japan.