HISTORY 203 - Introduction to Japanese Civilization: Japan Before Today
Winter 2023, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 1/4/23 - 4/18/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Most of us think we have a pretty good idea of what Japan is probably like. It’s so present in American culture today that even without having been there, many of us can list off any number of things Japanese: sushi, Hello Kitty, ninjas, and the world’s first robot dog. But what we generally think about less often is how all of these are products of Japanese culture’s rich and complicated development over time. This course is intended to take you back to the “beginning” around the turn of the last millennium — when rival chieftains appealed to the Chinese court for recognition before there was a Japan as such — and to move forward through the late 20th century — an age of giant cell phones and fears that Japan was going to buy up the U.S. — to better understand the culture, people, and history behind the phenomena we all know. With a few “flash-forwards” into the 21st century, we will explore Japan’s culture and history through literature, documents, film, and experiential hands-on learning. By the end, you will be able to understand such things as the origins of the warrior, the meaning of “Zen,” Japan’s response to WWII, and why Hello Kitty has no mouth.

Course Requirements:

  • Attendance and Participation: 30%
  • Reading Responses: 20%
  • Short Essays (2): 30%
  • Final Essay: 20%

Intended Audience:

Any student with an interest in Japanese history/culture

Class Format:

Two 90-minute meetings weekly


HISTORY 203 - Introduction to Japanese Civilization: Japan Before Today
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
1/4/23 - 4/18/23

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