BA East Asian Studies
Year of entry: 2022
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Course unit details:
Religion in Japan
|Unit level||Level 2|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|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.
Available on: Japanese Studies programme
• 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
• 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.
- Analytical skills
- The course will develop a range of abilities that are essential for much higher-level employment. These include gathering, critically selecting, and organizing information and ideas; analytical, critical thinking; interpreting and assessing sources; articulating coherent, logical and convincing arguments and supporting them by relevant evidence; articulate participation in oral discussion; working independently and to deadlines.
- In addition, it will develop critical understanding of a different society, which is valuable for employment with an international dimension. It will develop understanding of a number of key aspects of Japanese society related to its religious traditions which will be invaluable for those seeking employment in Japan or seeking employment where engagement with Japan is important.
Formative or Summative
Weighting within unit (if summative)
1 essay on agreed topic/s
1 written examination
1 Essay on agreed topic
|Feedback method||Formative or Summative|
|In writing: written feedback on essay outline||Formative|
|In class: response to contributions and to questions asked, along with any other participation.||Formative|
|In writing: written feedback on essay (via Blackboard/Turnitin)||Summative|
|In person: additional one-to-one feedback during the consultation hours or by making an appointment.||Formative|
- Barbara Ambros Women in Japanese Religions. (New York and London: New York University Press, 2015)
- Mark Rowe Bonds of The Dead: Temples, Burial and the Transformation of Contemporary Japanese Buddhism (Hawai‘i University press 2011)
- John Breen (ed) Yasukuni, the war dead and the struggle for Japan's past (Oxford University Press 2008)
- John Breen and Mark Teeuwen, A new history of Shinto (Wiley, 2010)
- Paul L. Swanson and Clark Chilson (eds) Nanzan guide to Japanese religions. (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2006)
- Inken Prohl and John Nelson (eds) Handbook of Contemporary Japanese Religions (Brill, 2012)
- Ian Reader Making Pilgrimages: meaning and Practice in Shikoku (University of Hawai‘i press 2004)
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Erica Baffelli||Unit coordinator|