(3 semester credits each)
International Negotiation: Resolving Conflict and Closing the Deal
Every business transaction involves negotiation. Negotiation is also an important activity in the non-profit sector. In the global environment, understanding the opportunities and challenges involved in transnational negotiations can often make the difference between success and failure. This course is designed to introduce the student to fundamental concepts of negotiation as well as specific challenges, strategies, and opportunities in international negotiations. Through practical exercises, students will learn how different cultures engage in negotiation and what strategies should be used to evaluate and adapt to foreign negotiation. Finally, the course will explore the idea of a “global approach” to negotiation to determine if there are strategies that are appropriate for every situation, regardless of nationality or culture.
The Struggle for Justice
Newspapers report that Japan is a homogenous country with little or no crime while the United States is portrayed as suffering from a crime epidemic. This course will look at Japan, Thailand, China and several other countries to see how societies have tried to deal with the phenomenon of crime. No legal background of any kind is required for the course. By the end of the semester, students should understand why Japan has so little crime and be able to predict future trends in criminality in Japan and around the world.
This course is designed to provide an understanding of the new venture creation process with a focus on those aspects that are of importance to the foreign business owner. Students will learn how to discover and evaluate ideas for new ventures. In addition to lectures and assigned readings, the students will work on teams that develop a comprehensive business plan for a new venture in Japan. We will have guest lectures from entrepreneurs, foreign and Japanese, to outline their own business development efforts. Finally, the student teams will compete in a final business pitch to polish their newly acquired entrepreneurial skills.
International Business: Doing Business in East Asia
It has become almost impossible to read a newspaper, business magazine or recent business textbook without encountering the rise of Asia. In the working careers of current undergraduate students an understanding of how to be successful in Asia will be essential. In this course, we will examine the practical aspects of how firms choose to enter into foreign markets, with a focus on East Asia. We will use a case based approach to learn how executives select markets, develop entry strategies and manage the foreign venture. By the end of this course, the student will understand the theoretical and strategic issues related to entering a foreign market and understand that cultural, historic and structural issues can be as important as economic principles when doing business in Asia.
Marketing Across Cultures
This course emphasizes the role of diversity in world markets and the importance of local consumer knowledge and marketing practices. A cross-cultural approach is used which compares national marketing systems and local commercial customs in various countries. Methodological difficulties pertaining to cross-cultural marketing research are addressed. Finally, the study of interaction between business people from different cultures is discussed and will be simulated in class using case studies. While examples in the course will be global, the focus will be on Asia and in particular Japan.
Global Business Teams
Creating effective work teams is challenging, even among people from similar backgrounds. Global teams face additional hurdles related to cultural differences, geographic and time zone separation, communication styles, and role expectations, to name a few. The purpose of this course is to assist students in developing competencies related to effective teamwork in a global context. To this end, students will create productive multicultural teams that benefit from shared goals, positive relations, trust, and empathy. A variety of methods and activities will be used, including discussion, experiential learning tools, simulations, critical incident, video critique, and personal reflection.
International Business Ethics
Ethical lapses leading up to and during the recent financial crisis have brought misery to many and tarnished the image of entire sectors of the global economy. Now more than ever, international business managers must demonstrate that they can be both moral and profitable. Global citizens and corporate leaders must show that they can think beyond the confines of a single culture’s ideas about right and wrong with respect to the marketplace. Focusing on Japan and Asia, this course will broaden a student’s perspective on business ethics through consideration of real-world issues and problem solving. We will also explore the emerging idea of a global ethical code and examine Japan’s role in fostering this idea.
Contemporary Japanese Foreign Policy
Designed for students interested in international politics and national security, this course examines contemporary Japanese foreign policy. It covers the post-World War II era by surveying the political, military, and economic challenges facing Japan and its neighbors. After studying the basic designs of Japanese post war foreign policy, an overview of Japan’s relations with its Asian neighbors will be presented. In addition to delving into the historical and geopolitical roots of Japan’s foreign policy, we will cover issues involving four major areas - economic relations, domestic politics (and their impact on foreign policy), traditional security issues, and non-traditional security issues. International Relations theories will be used to analyze issues.
Japan and the World: From the Mid-19th Century to the Present
This course aims at deepening the understanding of Japanese history from the 19th century to today, focusing on its foreign relations. Struggling toward becoming the “first-ranked” nation in the West-centric world order, Japan fought many wars, colonized its neighboring countries, and was finally defeated in WWII. After 70 years as a pacifist country, Japan has begun reconsidering its regional/global roles, while struggling to become a multi-cultural society. Students will develop deeper insights into important diplomatic issues for Japan today including improving ties with China and South Korea, strengthening its alliance with the United States, and building of a harmonious social space across as well as within borders.
Introduction to Japanese Cultural History:Ancient and Medieval
This course offers a survey of Japanese cultural history from the time of the earliest known human settlements during the Paleolithic Era up until the end of the so-called “Age of the Country at War” circa 1600. We will focus on a number of major developments that took place during this extended period, with emphasis on the creation of a centralized government and the gradual, uneven transition from courtier to warrior rule that accompanied this shift. In addition, we will analyze how these larger trends influenced some of the specific cultural practices developed and maintained by people who lived during these tumultuous times.
Japanese Pop Culture: From Edo to the Present
Godzilla, Gundam, Power Rangers, Pokémon. These are just a few of the many famous figures and franchises frequently invoked in discussions of contemporary Japanese pop culture both at home and abroad. Some continue to retain a lasting relevance and appeal while others have already begun to fall. Yet much of that which constitutes “popular culture” is rooted in the past in subtle ways. Rather than focus exclusively on recent developments, we will examine the many changing styles, tastes, and technologies associated with popular culture in Japan from roughly 1600 to the present, looking closely at a host of fascinating primary sources that reveal not only concrete examples of Japanese material and visual culture, but which further compel us to question just what is meant by the concept of “pop culture” in historical terms.
Culture and Everyday Life in Japan: Japanese Society in Anthropological Perspective
This survey course is designed to help students make sense of Japanese society by exploring key aspects of cultural meaning and patterns of behavior, along with the institutional contexts that provide coherence as well as make Japan a dynamically changing society. Topics include the construction of national identity; normative understandings of interpersonal relations; youth and the school system; ritual, festivity and religious practice; “the gift” exchange and social relations; and experiences of ethnic minorities.
Popular Culture as Social Practice: Fandoms, Subcultures and the Rest of Us
This course explores the relationship between the products of popular culture (objects, images, discourses, categories) and social life in Japan. While introducing key concepts in the study of popular culture and society, focus is on specific fandoms, subcultures or cultural categories constructed around consumption practices such as otaku, dōjinshi writers, J-rappers, gyaru, and the legendary fans of the Takarazuka Revue. Central themes include popular culture consumption and constructions of “deviance,” agency and hegemony, and resistance to or reinforcement of dominant norms, particularly concerning gender and sexuality.
Onna to Otoko: Gender and Sexuality in Japan
This course focuses on gender as cultural belief, as a social structuring mechanism and a source of social inequality in Japan. We will investigate the values and expected behavior associated with “femininity” and “masculinity,” and how gender interacts with other spheres of life. Topics to be covered include historical changes in gender roles; gender, family and work; gender and sexuality; state policy, gender ideology and the gendered division of labor; the Japanese women’s movement; and recent debates over directed change in the realm of gender in Japan.
Sexuality and Culture in Japan: Shifting Dimensions of Desire, Relationship and Society
While sexuality is often experienced as among the most private aspects of human life, our erotic lives are profoundly shaped by history, social beliefs and institutional practices. This course focuses on the shifting beliefs and practices surrounding sexuality in Japan, including the links between sexuality and gender; state regulation of sexuality; the increasing commodification of sexual images, and services; minority sexual and gender identities and practices; and changes in sexual practices and attitudes among young people.
Anthropology of Gender and Sexual Diversity: Japan, Asia and Beyond
This course explores the diversity of cultural beliefs, social conditions and experiences related to non-dominant forms of gender and sexuality cross-culturally. With greatest focus on Japan, we also explore non-dominant gender and sexual phenomena and their cultural contexts in other Asian societies and beyond. Topics include indigenous minority gender/sexual regimes including so-called “third genders” (e.g., “Two Spirits,” kathoey, hijra) whose presence may be interwoven into the fabric of dominant belief systems; “global queering” and the diffusion of Western models of “LGBT” discourses of identity; and the relationship of minority gender/sexual identities and political mobilization.
Culture, Power and Belonging in Japan: Anthropological Perspectives on the Making of Minorities and Majorities
This course focuses on the shifting conditions of cultural minority and marginalized groups in Japan, in particular: the Ainu, Okinawans, those of Buraku “outcaste” heritage, ethnic Koreans tracing their heritage from the colonial era, Nikkei “return” migrants, and the growing Chinese, South Asian and other “newcomer” foreigner communities. Students will increase their awareness of the rich but often hidden diversity of Japanese society while exploring the ways minority groups face marginalization, make claims for belonging and negotiate identity and social belonging.
Japan and Globalization: A Cultural Approach
It is widely held that global scale culture supersedes governments and political boundaries. The contemporary buzz-word to explain this phenomenon is “globalization.” But what does this relatively new concept really entail? Globalization is about movement and interaction: people, culture, technology, goods and services, money, religion and ideologies are moving through porous borders causing immediate and intense contact. This cultural contact affects everyone in the global village albeit in vastly different ways. Globalization is an uneven process in terms of the spread of new technologies and communication. Where does Japan and Japanese culture fit within globalization? It is easy to see global influences inside of Japan: McDonald’s, Starbucks and fancy European brand names are everywhere. But Japanese culture has long been moving out and influencing other areas of the globe as well. We will investigate globalization from an anthropological perspective focusing on the important and interesting movements and interactions between Japan and the rest of the world.
Deaf World Japan: The Struggle of Disability, Identity and Language
This course is an ethnographic examination of deaf culture in Japan and Japanese Sign Language. Deafness as deficit and deaf people as bicultural will be the major theoretical models. How are deaf and disabled people treated within Japanese society in the realms of education, social welfare, identity, and communication? Deaf people will be compared/contrasted with other so-called disabled people and other minorities in Japan in terms of discrimination and political movements. Cross-cultural comparisons of deaf people in the United States, France, Germany, Bali and other places will also be considered. A major component of this course will be the analysis and practical study of Japanese Sign Language.
Documenting Japan: Film and Photography as Cultural Description
This course provides an introduction to the field of visual anthropology, with a focus on documentary films and photography dealing with Japanese culture. Who constructs visual images, for what purpose and in what context will be examined. The theoretical focus of the course will be the issues and consequences of visual representation; methodology and technique will also be discussed. The course provides visual cultural descriptions on such topics as traditional culture, popular culture, education, art, entertainment, sports, religion, gender, politics and globalization.
Intercultural Communication in Japan
Communicating in an international context requires an understanding of factors that affect interaction between people from diverse cultural perspectives. Study of intercultural communication theory is beneficial to the success and satisfaction of students who strive to maximize their language and cultural learning while in Japan. This course is a practical introduction to the field of intercultural communication as applied to a Japanese context, thereby assisting students in developing a clearer understanding of their own communicative perspectives as related to life in Japan.
Japanese Popular Media and Culture
This course focuses on three central elements of Japanese popular media-manga, anime, and television drama-including aspects of their production distribution and consumption. It will also examine how such media both reflect and influence specific aspects of Japanese culture and national identity.
Geisha, Gangsters and Samurai: Japan in Western Film
This course examines how Japan has been portrayed in Western film and literature from 1853 to the present day. A central concern is how and why filmmakers and authors have emphasized, exaggerated, distorted or ignored various aspects of Japanese culture in response to specific social conditions and political pressures. We will also look at how images of Japan, constructed in one historical time, are recycled to justify or explain later political developments.
Monsters, Ghosts and the Making of Modern Japan
The Japanese popular imagination has always been haunted by monsters and ghosts. Whether it was the trickster kitsune of ancient folklore or the shinigami of modern manga/anime like Death Note, Japan’s many supernatural beings have both frightened and entertained. But these are by no means the only two roles that such creatures have played in Japanese history. We will look at the religious, social and political uses of the supernatural in the works of writers, artists, academics, filmmakers, manga authors and anime creators. The goal is to understand the many ways in which monsters and ghosts have been used to symbolize and personify the problems, hopes and fears of the Japanese from pre-modern times to the present day.
Religion in Japan
This course is an introduction to the most important types of religious expression in Japan: ancestor worship, Shinto, Buddhism, and the New Religions. We focus on contemporary beliefs and practices, especially religion that is encountered every day in Japan. Various approaches to the interpretation of religion will be discussed.
Mythology and manga, animism and anime: Shinto, the ancient religion of Japan, is still today an important part of the Japanese cultural imagination. Shinto is visible everywhere, and there are few Japanese people who do not have some contact with Shinto, many of them on a regular basis. Yet, “What is Shinto?” We will look at Shinto from as many perspectives as possible: religious, philosophical, anthropological, and political. However Shinto is defined, there is no doubt that Japan is the place to study Shinto. Thus students are encouraged to explore Shinto in today’s Japan as part of their course work.
This course presents an overview of Zen Buddhism, with a focus on fundamental existential and religious questions. Buddhism, like any religion, provides answers to the “big questions” of human existence: How did human life first occur? Why do tragedies happen? What happens after death? How should we lead our daily lives? Specific points of inquiry are meditation, the controversy over sudden versus gradual enlightenment, and Zen and ethics.
Death in East Asian Thought
Using a multidisciplinary approach, this course examines death in Japanese thought and society. We will look at religious concepts of death and the afterlife (both traditional and contemporary), funeral practices, and ancestor worship, suicide, brain death, and literary treatments of death and dying. The Japanese understanding of death is presented against the background of East Asian ideas about death.
Anime: Method and Meaning
Japanese animation, has established a world-wide reputation as a unique form of animation. This course surveys selected aspects of theatrical anime with some consideration of anime serials. The nature of animation as a whole and the special qualities of anime will be examined through viewing a number of anime films. Questions regarding gender, politics, culture, sexuality, identity, and representation will be discussed in connection with the ongoing development of the medium.
The Relation of Life and Fiction in Modern Japanese Literature
Japanese culture is often regarded as a structured society with extremes of beauty and discipline, openness and secrecy, and religious fervor and secular passion. Sometimes these impressions seem to be stereotypes created in the West, yet they may also include national themes stressed within Japan. In order to see beyond the clichés about Japan, we will examine aspects of modern Japanese culture through the relationship of life to literature. The interest in employing the author’s personal experience as the basis for serious fiction has been one of the key practices of writers in modern Japan. This approach will discuss a variety of novels, essays, and related films to reveal varied aspects of identity, art, and politics that are important routes to understanding twentieth century Japan through its literature.
The Intersection of Fantasy and Real Life in Modern Japanese Fiction
A major feature of modern literature in Japan is the tension between the representation of real life and fantasy. Although these aspects can be seen as polar opposites, writers in Japan will often deploy their plots to examine basic life issues whether writing about mundane aspects of daily life or detailing elaborate fantasies. This course will examine the issues raised by authors in the last few decades. The key themes include questions of identity, sexuality, environment, individual responsibility, and the contrast/fusion of pure vs. popular fiction. Many of the novels are recent translations of current fiction. The course does not assume a prior background in Japanese literature.
Manga: The Graphic Fiction of Japan
Manga has become an internationally recognized and admired aspect of contemporary Japanese culture. Nonetheless, the translation of manga into a variety of foreign languages has focused on those written for teenage audience. The deeper history of manga, its complexity, the broad diversity of themes intended for an adult audience is still largely unknown outside of Japan. We will approach manga as a form of graphic fiction parallel to the literary fiction of Japan. Lectures cover many aspects from history, thematic diversity, audience reception, publishing, visual analysis and interpretation, continuities of theme and image, and new trends. A combination of critical readings, discussion of selected manga, and analysis of imagery will be employed. A number of works and artists that have yet to be translated into foreign languages will be introduced alongside world famous examples.
Japanese Cinema 1949-1987
Regularly winning awards at film festivals, Japanese cinema may be the most internationally popular aspect of modern Japanese culture. This course explores Japanese cinema through an examination of eleven noted films by eight directors. The themes and issues of the films include quests for the meaning of life, conflict among generations, censorship of sexual scenes, satiric comedies, and science fiction animation. Comparisons will be made between the original text and the film version. The social significance and relation to national and international film history will be discussed. Lectures will introduce the background of the director, the circumstances of the making of the film and its historical setting, and the relation of the film to other Japanese and foreign films.
This course does not assume a background in film studies.
New Japanese Cinema 1995-2010
Japanese films have had a wide international audience since Kurosawa’s 1950 prize-winning film Rashomon. Although recent films from Japan have again been capturing attention at international film festivals, only a small fraction of the popular films of Japan have been seen by foreign audiences. This course examines a wide range of recent films - some much discussed in the West, others little known - that represent a variety of the most popular genres and directors active today. Readings and lectures will introduce not only the director’s work but the cultural and literary backgrounds of the individual films. Genres include love stories, suspense, period drama, horror, anime, and fantasy.
This course does not assume a background in film studies.
From Zen to Paradise
This is an introductory-level course designed to maximize the experience of seeing Buddhist art in Japan. Often, after visiting “must-see” temples, a visitor with little background in Buddhist religious thought, architecture or imagery, comes away having gained very little. The goal of this class is preparation for both class field trips and independent visits to temples and museums with important Buddhist sculpture and paintings.
Japanese Art in the Kansai Area
The Kansai area has for the majority of Japanese history been the center of Japanese art production. Beginning with the art found in 4th century tombs, the area’s dominance continued until power and patronage shifted to Tokyo during the Edo period (1615-1868). Focusing on locally-produced painting and sculpture from the 4th through the 19th centuries, the class will consist of slide lectures. There will be field trips to sites studied in the class.