JAPA108-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023

Introduction to Japanese Culture

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 20 February 2023
End Date: Sunday, 25 June 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 5 March 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 14 May 2023


A survey course which covers selected topics of Japan's society, geography, institutions, religion, arts, culture and thought.

This course introduces the main cultural characteristics of Japan. Topics covered include a general introduction and then a particularised study of Japan's history, land and people, regional cultural variety, indigenous peoples, myths, religions, belief-systems, aesthetics, youth culture, anime, literature, film and performing arts.

No previous knowledge of the Japanese language is required.

Students in this course are expected to attend all three classes each week. They are expected to complete all the assignments, and all homework. Students may not record the lectures without the permission of the lecturer. Students should feel free to ask questions and seek clarification of points they might not have fully grasped from the lectures, either during class, at the end of class, seeing the Course coordinator or relevant lecturer during office hours, phoning or emailing.

Learning Outcomes

  • JAPA108 is a requirement for those intending to major in Japanese and important for those
    intending to have contact with Japan. By the end of the course students should have:

  • A familiarity with key cultural and historical developments in Japan from early times
    to the present day;
  • Knowledge of basic facts about Japan;
  • Knowledge of aspects of Japanese culture and major art forms, as well as their
    underlying aesthetic principles;
  • An understanding of the influence of global conditions on Japan and competence in
    engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts;
  • A familiarity with cultural beliefs and values in Japan, which in turn will develop a
    deeper understanding and appreciation of cultures other than your own;
  • A familiarity with ethnic diversity and indigenous cultures in Japan, which will in turn
    heighten awareness and understanding of the cultural landscape and biculturalism in
    Aotearoa NZ;
  • Basic skills in research, analysis and essay writing – key skills that are sought by
    employers and can be used in a range of applications.

    In addition, for students majoring in Japanese, this course will provide you with:

  • Vital knowledge on Japan to underpin your language studies and enable you to critically
    evaluate and, where applicable, apply to Japan-related topics/issues. This in turn will
    enhance your opportunities for a successful career.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Susan Bouterey

Guest Lecturers: Assoc. Prof. Richard Bullen, Dr. Henk de Groot, Dr. Masayoshi Ogino, Assoc. Prof. Alistair Swale


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Quiz 8%
Essay Proposal 8%
Written Test 1 22%
Essay 30% 1400 - 1500 words
Written Test 2 32%

Textbooks / Resources

There is no textbook for this course.
Handouts and reading lists will be provided as necessary. Students are expected to read and refer to these as instructed. Other materials, including lecture power points, will be available on Learn.

Information about the Japanese Programme, including degree requirements, can be found at: www.arts.canterbury.ac.nz/japanese/

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All JAPA108 Occurrences

  • JAPA108-23S1 (C) Semester One 2023