2016-17 Elective Courses

You’re used to the challenging academic standards and probing critical thinking that characterize a liberal arts education. You’ll find it with AKP. The Associated Kyoto Program mirrors its fifteen consortium institutions in the disciplinary diversity and commitment to excellence among its courses. Thanks to the Visiting Faculty Fellows Program, the AKP recruits some of the finest teachers from the consortium, allowing you to take classes that will foster a deeper understanding of Japan’s long and complex cultural history.


 Fall 2016

AKP-Doshisha Joint Seminar

Professor Maki Hubbard, Smith College, and Professor Susan Pavloska, Doshisha University

The Joint Seminar represents a unique opportunity to explore issues in comparative culture in a class comprised of both AKP and Doshisha students. The class format includes panel presentations, discussions, joint projects, and a series of guest lectures by Japanese and foreign experts from the Kyoto environs who will address various aspects of American and Japanese culture from a multi-disciplinary perspective.

Minorities and Immigrants in Contemporary Japan

Professor Emeritus Terry MacDougall, Stanford University

The tenacity of the image of Japan as a homogeneous nation stands in contrast to a nation-building process that perpetuated and racialized an underclass of segregated people (burakumin), incorporated people of different languages and cultures on its northern (Ainu) and south-western (Okinawans) “frontiers,” and brought large numbers of colonial or semi-colonial subjects from Korea, Taiwan, and China to the Japanese islands. This course combines lectures and discussions with visits to minority communities and migrant/human rights-related organizations, and individual and group field research on the lives of Japan’s long-existing and ‘newcomer’ minorities and how Japanese society and politics has been responding to the
reality of growing multi-ethnicity and the international, political and social pressures generated by it.

The Tea Ceremony and Japanese Culture

Professor Samuel Morse, Amherst College

This course will explore the various elements that comprise the tea environment—the garden setting, the architecture of the tea room, and the types of tea utensils. The course will also study the careers of influential tea masters and texts that examine the historical, religious, and cultural background of tea culture. Finally, it will trace how the tea ceremony has become a metaphor for Japanese culture and Japanese aesthetics both in Japan and in the West.

Kyoto as Source: Japan’s Premodern and Early Modern Experience

Professor Emer O’Dwyer, Oberlin College

Kyoto is considered the source of traditional Japanese culture, having been the imperial capital for over a millennium. This course examines the historical dimension of Kyoto as “source,” tracing both how imperial power evolved over the centuries and how local society responded to that power in a variety of religious, cultural, economic, and other contexts. Course format will combine class discussion and field trips. In both settings, students will be encouraged to consider not only dynamics of the period under review, but equally how such dynamics continue to shape the texture of contemporary Kyoto.



Spring 2017


Language in Globalizing Japan

Professor Maki Hubbard, Smith College

In this course we will investigate how so-called “national language” was constructed and disseminated throughout the modernization of Japan, its political and educational contributions and implications, and its transformations and limitations in today’s Japanese society. We will explore the diversification of the Japanese language in globalizing Japan, its contradictions as well as coexistence with the deep-seated belief in the “homogeneous Japanese.” Located in Kyoto, an exciting big city with a rich pop-culture as well as a thousand-year old tradition as the capital before modernization, you will be blessed with abundant first-hand resources to investigate this tradition and transformation in people’s language life – resources not only from the rich ancient artifacts
or documents but also your host families and Doshisha students, the dialect, minority communities, immigrants, tourists, and young people around you.

Japanese Cinema

Professor Eric Faden, Bucknell University

This course uses five Japanese filmmakers—Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Seijun Suzuki, anime director Satoshi Kon, and documentarian Naomi Kawase—to explore the range and possibilities of Japanese cinema. The course intentionally focuses on filmmakers perhaps less well known to western audiences. These five filmmakers, however, allow students to understand Japanese cinema historically and to also understand how these films interact with Japan’s changing culture and shifting social norms over the 20thand 21st centuries.

Introduction to Classical Japanese

Professor Peter Flueckiger, Pomona College

The primary goal of this course is to provide a linguistic foundation in reading Classical Japanese. The course covers all the major points of Classical Japanese grammar, and by the end of the course you will be able to read literary texts in Classical Japanese with the aid of Japanese-English dictionaries and other reference aids. A second goal of the class is to provide an introduction to pre-modern Japanese literature. By the end of the course you will be familiar with the major genres of pre-modern Japanese poetry and prose, as well as the social, cultural, and religious frameworks within which these texts were produced and read. You will be able to identify the uses of literary language that are characteristic of these genres, including, among other things, narrative techniques in the prose texts and such poetic devices as kakekotoba (“pivot words”), makurakotoba (“pillow words”), and kireji (“cutting words”).

Japanese Economy

Professor Linus Yamane, Pitzer College

This course is a broad introduction to the Japanese economy. We will begin by considering the process of economic growth since the Meiji Restoration. Most of the course will be a discussion of the postwar Japanese economy. We will discuss the character of Japanese economic policy making as well as on the behavior of Japanese enterprises, financial institutions, labor force and households. Topics will include macroeconomic growth, monetary and fiscal policies, industrial policy, labor markets, savings and investment. We will end with a discussion of Japan’s recent economic conditions.