HISTORY 392 - Topics in Asian History
Winter 2019, Section 001 - And the Sun Goddess Still Reigns: Japanese Emperors from 660 BCE to May 2019
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:


Big News! Japan’s reigning emperor is resigning on April 30, 2019! One might dismiss this event with “So What!?” This course explains all the reasons why not. The Japanese imperial family is the world’s longest reigning single royal family. Over the two millennia of its history, it has evolved enormously and, good or bad, has had a huge impact on the course of Japanese and world history. Today, it remains one of the few active royal families in the world. The event in 2019 marks the first voluntary resignation of an active emperor since 1868. We capture this moment and explore the family’s long history from the birth of the ancestral deity, the Sun Goddess, in mythical times through ancient, medieval, early modern and modern times. Topics include intra-familial conflicts, challenges from the samurai, flexible sexual and marital practices, the institution's major transformations in the face of Western imperialism, aggressive engagement in the Pacific War, and changing concept of the emperors’ humanity after WWII. We also examine recent controversies, such as the dilemma of gender imbalance, marriage of royal members to a commoner husband or wife, recognition of the family’s Korean ancestry, and the debate over the enthronement of female emperors. In addition, there will be weekly “trivia” offerings of tidbits on little known information.

Course Requirements:

Students will be evaluated on the basis of active class preparation and participation (10%), two tests (20%), midterm examination (30), and a research project on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor (40%). Graduate students may take the course as 592 and do additional work, to be discussed with the instructor.

Intended Audience:

Juniors, seniors, and graduate students

Class Format:

Lecture (10%), discussion and research (50%), presentation (40%)


HISTORY 392 - Topics in Asian History
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
W 4:00PM - 7:00PM
1/9/19 - 4/23/19
002 (LEC)
 In Person
Tu 1:00PM - 4:00PM
1/9/19 - 4/23/19

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