The History of Modern Japan (M. Levine)





Dr. Marilyn Levine Lewis-Clark State College


Containing one of the most dynamic societies in the world, the study of Japanese history and culture has gained in importance in the last century. This course will focus on the changes brought by the forceful entry of the West on the political, cultural, and economic fabric of Japanese society. Through lectures, discussions, films and other class activities, students will gain a better understanding of these historic changes and their international significance.


I. Required Reading

Hane, M., Modern Japan [Text]

Soseki, N., Kokoro, DeBary, W., Sources of Japanese Tradition Vol. II [SJT]

Dower, J., War Without Mercy

Ishinomori, Japan, Inc.


II. Class Schedule

1/13 Introduction

1/18 Japanese Social and Cultural Traditions [Text 6-22]

1/20 The Feudal Legacy

1/25 The Tokugawa Shogunate [Text 23-64]

1/27 SJT pp. 1-83 [Outline Due ]


2/1 Fukuzawa Yukichi: Intellectual Transition

2/3 The Western Encroachment on Japan [Text 65-83]

2/8 SJT pp. 84-130 [Student Led Discussion]

2/10 The Meiji Restoration - Political & Economic Reforms [Text 84-131]

2/15 The Meiji Restoration - Civilization & Enlightenment [Text 132-151]

2/17 SJT pp.131-210 [Outline Due]

2/22 FILM

2/24 FILM


3/1 From Meiji to Taisho [Text 152-57]

3/3 Kokoro (Outline Due)

      Take Home Exam Passed Out

3/8 No Class


3/10 Take Home Exam Due


3/15 The International Emergence of Japan [Text 157-191]

3/17 The Liberal Era [Text 192-244]

3/22 The Rise of Militarism: Korea [Text 245-272]

3/24 The Rise of Militarism: China


3/28 - 4/2 spring vacation


4/5 The Second World War in Asia [Text 273-340]

4/7 War Without Mercy [Parts I & II] / SJT pp. 262-98; (Outline Due)

      * Use the SJT as an integration for Dower

4/12 War Without Mercy [Parts III & IV] (Student-Led Discussion)

4/14 The Allied Occupation & Post-War Politics [Text 272-374]

4/19 The Japanese Economy - Part I

4/21 no classes

4/26 Japan, Inc. (Study Guide Due)


4/28 The Japanese Economy - Part II [Text 375-404]

        Take Home Exam Passed Out


5/3 Contemporary Japanese Society [Lecture/Discussion]

5/5 Take Home Exam Due




~~Students will be responsible for four outlines and one study guide (45% of grade) and two exams (# 1 - 20% of grade) (#2 - 25% of grade); and participation (10% of grade). Assignments are due on the date stated on the syllabus. Late papers will be graded down half a grade for each day they are late up to 50% of the grade.

~~Attendance in class is required and will be part of the participation grade.

~~Students are encouraged to make use of office hours, which are listed at the top of the syllabus.



Step One

         Definitions: List three to five words of which you are unsure.

         Look them up and write down the definitions of them.

Step Two

         Main Theme: Write down your version of a general statement of

         the author's message.

Step Three

         Subtopic Identification: Identify two to three subtopics.

         Note the subtopics you had trouble comprehending or which you

         think would provide a profitable discussion.

Step Four

         Subtopic Explanation & Questions: Write a brief statement of

         the subject matter of each subtopic.  Design a question that

         you would ask for each.

Step Five

         Integration with Other Materials: Write down the meaning or

         usefulness the material has for understanding other concepts

         and materials.  Indicate what other ideas the material

         substantiates, contradicts, or amplifies.

Step Six

         Application: Write down how the material can apply to your own

         life situation - past, present or future.  What implications

         does the material hold for your own intellectual pursuits or


Step Seven

         Evaluation: Write down your reactions and evaluation of the


[Adapted from Hill, Wm. Fawcett, Learning Thru Discussion (Sage Publications, 1969)]