JAP2501 – Japanese Contemporary Society Through Film and Animation

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This course examines Japan’s postwar and contemporary society on the basis of Japanese film and animation. The classes are divided into two parts. The first part consists of screenings of both major and relatively unknown feature films, documentaries and anime from the 1950s up until the present day, by leading or representative authors such as Ozu Yasujirō, Miyazaki Hayao, Hara Kazuo, Ōtomo Katsuhiro, Kawase Naomi, and others. In the second part we will position the screened works within the various distinct periods of Japan’s postwar history and, on the basis of the screenings and the related readings, discuss issues such as:

- family and gender

- depopulation and ageing

- city and countryside

- economy and environment

- rule and opposition

- immigration and minorities

- war memory and national identity

- nostalgia and rural imagination

Learning outcome

Students will gain a deep understanding of some of the issues that are central to postwar and contemporary Japanese society. On the basis of the readings, the lectures and the discussions they will become familiar with various views and interpretations of these social, political, economic and intellectual issues. They will learn to reflect upon these issues in a critical and comparative way. Furthermore, by following this course, students will develop their academic writing and discussion skills, and will be trained to analyze a film. And in the process they will also acquaint themselves with a dozen core works of contemporary Japanese cinema and animation.


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.


Recommended previous knowledge

The course requires good knowledge of English. The course is conducted in English. There will be English subtitles to the screenings, and the related readings will also be in English.

The course JAP1501 – Dagens Japan provides helpful background information.


Teaching is in the form of 3-4 hour meetings, consisting of a screening followed by a lecture and discussion. There will be one long break in between the two parts. The lecture and discussion are based on the screening and the related readings. It is obligatory to attend at least 80% of the classes. The screenings are not obligatory for those who have already seen the film or animation. Active participation, in the form of questions and participation in the discussion on the basis of the screening and the texts prepared in advance, is required.

  • The course also requires the handing in of an obligatory qualifying assignment, consisting of an outline of the final paper and a related list of sources
  • The qualifying assignment must be approved by the teacher in order to be qualified to write the final paper

The qualifying assignment is only valid for one semester.

All obligatory qualifying assignments 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.


The qualifying assignment must be approved before the student can sit for the exam.

The examination is a 10-page essay.

Grading guidelines

Submit assignments in Inspera

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

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

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 Spring 2012

Periodic evaluation Spring 2019

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language