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BA East Asian Studies / Course details
Year of entry: 2021
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Course unit details:
Religion in Japan
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Offered by||Japanese Studies|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
This module examines religion in Japanese historical and contemporary contexts, with a particular emphasis on the modern period. It introduces the main religious traditions (notably Buddhism, Shinto, the folk religious tradition and the new religions) and practices that have shaped the Japanese religious and cultural landscapes, and examines the historical emergence and development of religious traditions, their relationships with state and society, and their rituals and practices. Furthermore, it examines issues of religious change in the late 20th/early 21st century.
- To provide students with an understanding of main topics concerning the study of religion in Japan
- To introduce the religious traditions and their dynamics in modern and contemporary Japan, in particular the interactions between culture, religion and society.
- To help students understand the main issues related to the place of religion in Japan today.
Knowledge and understanding
On successful completion of this course unit, students will be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key major issues relating to the role of religion in modern and contemporary Japan
- demonstrate critical understanding of key analytical concepts related to the study of religion in contemporary Japan
- engage in informed critical analysis of Japanese culture, especially religion
- read and watch critically
- write analytically
- have the skills to discover good sources independently
- experience reading academic texts building on their earlier or parallel learning in cognate course units
Transferable skills and personal qualities
- have honed their skills for reasoned presentation, discussion and argument
- be able to find and use critically a range of materials such as books, journals and web-based resources relevant to the topics studied in the course.
Formative or Summative
In writing: written feedback on essay outline
In class: response to contributions and to questions asked, along with any other participation.
In writing: written feedback on essay (via Blackboard/Turnitin)
In person: additional one-to-one feedback during the consultation hours or by making an appointment.
- Satsuki Kawano 2005 Ritual practice in modern Japan : ordering place, people, and action (Hawaii)
- Ian Reader 1991 Religion in Contemporary Japan (Basingstoke: Macmillans)
- Ian Reader, and George J. Tanabe 1998 Practically Religious: Worldly Benefits and the Common Religion of Japan (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press)
- Paul L. Swanson and Clark Chilson (eds) 2006 Nanzan guide to Japanese religions. (University of Hawaii Press)
- Mark Mullins, Shimazono Susumu, and Paul Swanson (eds) 1993 Religion and Society in Modern Japan (Berkeley, Cal: Asian Humanities Press)
- Inken Prohl and John Nelson (eds) 2012 Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions (Brill)
- George Tanabe (ed) 1999 Religions of Japan in Practice (Princeton)
- Michiko Yusa 2002 Japanese Religious Traditions (Prentice Hall)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Erica Baffelli||Unit coordinator|