ATS2620 - The age of the Samurai - 2019

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


Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Adam Clulow


Associate Professor Adam Clulow

Unit guides



  • First semester 2019 (On-campus)


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.


The unit explores the history of Japan and East Asia via an examination of the figure of the samurai. The focus is broadly on the period from 1185 to 1867 when Japan was ruled by a succession of warrior regimes but the unit will also explore the evolution of samurai images and representations primarily in film but also in books, anime, manga, and video games. The central concern is with the evolution of the figure of the samurai across this long period and with the constant tensions between the ideals put forward about the way of the warrior and the actual realities of samurai life. We will explore the samurai from varied perspectives by considering questions of status, identity, politics, gender, and economics.


Upon successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

  1. identify key political transformations across Japanese history as well as Japan's place in the wider region;
  2. explain processes of identity formation and the power of national myths;
  3. analyse the social hierarchies that underpinned the emergence of the samurai class;
  4. cultivate independent research skills via the creation of a unit portfolio;
  5. develop effective communication, team work, argumentation and critical reflection skills.


Within semester assessment: 100%

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

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