Today Japan has the third largest economy in the world at 5.2 trillion. (France is ranked #6 at 2.8 trillion.) If we look at products
like passenger automobiles we see Japanese manufacturers ranked 2, 7, 10, 14, and 16th. (VW is #1, Renault Nissan Alliance #3).
In 1950, the per capita income in Japan was roughly $150 a year.
Japan was poor and its economy ruined by war and defeat.
So - immediately we have fundamental questions: why and how did Japan rise?
This course will attempt to explain these questions.
Introducing the course.
Lecture: Why Japan?
Reading: Peter Duus, The Rise of Japan, Chapter 1, Traditional Attitudes.
Feudalism, tradition, modernity.
Political and social structures.
The Coming of the West
Explaining Japanese fascism/militarism/aggression.
Kamikaze pilots: How does one construct a narrative of suicide pilots? Heroic? Brainwashed? Manipulated? Victims?
Hiroshima, Occupation, Peace
Why was the atomic bombed dropped on Japan?
Video: In English, Peter Jennings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-WnLNLe3sk
and Oppenheimer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuRvBoLu4t0
En français, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLKiuK0cTxk
Week 5 and 6
The rise of the Japanese economy. Why it was not a “miracle.”
Pacific Century: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TWW4PtKK4E&t=724s
Constructing a list of concrete reasons.
The Japanese Century was a decade long. Overestimating and
Weeks 8 and 9 oral presentations.
Readings: All readings are embedded within the syllabus and available on-line.
Participation: All participants are expected to be prepared and ready to participate in all class activities and discussions. 30% of final grade.
Written and oral presentation: All participants are required to present a 30 minute oral presentation. This will be scheduled during the last two class meetings. Topics will be discussed and decided by 10 October.
Weekly lectures and discussion.
This course is constructed around weekly discussion topics.
Text: There is no text for the course. Readings are all on-line and embedded in the syllabus. For an excellent reference site see: http://factsanddetails.com/japan/
Also see the MIT website Visualizing Cultures.