ATS2648 - Contemporary Japan - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

Japanese Studies


Dr Jeremy Breaden

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)


This unit explores the dynamics of continuity and change in the society, culture and politics of Japan today. After surveying important aspects of contemporary Japan such as employment, education, domestic life and consumer culture in historical perspective, the unit examines selected issues which are currently being debated in the Japanese media and political arena. Students will be introduced to the key theoretical approaches and analytical tools employed in the study of contemporary Japan. No knowledge of the Japanese language is required, but students also studying Japanese will be given opportunities to use and extend their language skills in optional assessment tasks and class activities.


Students successfully completing this unit will be able to:

  1. Identify the key institutions and issues in contemporary Japan, and the historical context for their development;
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the concepts and terms used to describe and discuss contemporary Japanese society and culture beyond Japan;
  3. Apply a range of disciplinary approaches to analyse major issues and debates in contemporary Japan;
  4. Reflect on the relevance of Japanese experiences of social change to other national and individual circumstances;
  5. Explore how contemporary Japanese social and cultural phenomena are reflected in, and shaped by, Japanese language use;
  6. Read critically and engage with existing research on Japan;
  7. (For students of the Japanese language only:) Utilize Japanese language skills in academic research and discussion of contemporary issues in Japan, as appropriate to proficiency level.


Within semester assessment: 60% + Exam: 40%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study