JAP1501 – Present-Day Japan

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course has a two-fold structure and aim.

On the one hand it provides a thematic introduction to various facets of present-day Japanese society, culture, politics and international relations. We will do so by focusing on diverse key issues such as regional and social plurality/inequality/precarity, one-party rule under a two-party-system, Japan’s changing international position, war memory, gender inequality, depopulation, the decay of the countryside, popular nationalism, and the global success of Japanese popular culture.

On the other hand this course gives guidance, by means of class instruction, small-group colloquia and individual feedback, on how to find academic sources and write an academic paper. 

Learning outcome

By means of the lectures and the related readings, the colloquia and the various steps in writing an academic paper you will acquire:

  • a basic knowledge of central facets of present-day Japan
  • insight into various crucial issues in contemporary Japanese society, culture, politics and international relations
  • training in academic writing
  • training in finding and using academic sources


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is not available for single course students.


Recommended previous knowledge

The classes will be taught in English and the textbooks and other readings will all be in English, so proficiency in the English language is required.


The course consists of 12 weekly lecture classes, a library seminar, and three colloquia.

Compulsory activities

  • Attendance to 10 of 12 lecture classes, and attendence to the colloquia
  • Formulation of a research question
  • List of related academic sources
  • First draft of the paper

In the library seminar and the colloquia you will focus on formulating a research question, making a list of academic sources and writing the first draft. You must submit these obligatory assignments by a specified deadline through Canvas.

You are expected to participate actively in the classes. This does not merely imply that you need to prepare the various readings for each class, but also that you think while you read and formulate questions, and actively contribute to the discussions in class and in the colloquia.

The obligatory attendance is valid for the next two semesters that the course is taught. An approved research question, list of academic sources and first draft is only valid for one semester.

All compulsory activities must be approved in order to qualify for the exam. It is the student’s responsibility to check whether or not the compulsory activities are approved.

This is how you apply for valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The exam consists of a term paper of some 10 pages (2300 characters per page, not including spaces).

Grading guidelines

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The obligatory assignments and the term paper can be written in either English or Norwegian.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Periodic evaluation Fall 2019

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

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