This course is discontinued

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

In this MA seminar we will analyze Japan's relations with the outside world in the modern and contemporary periods. We will focus on such issues as how Japan has made sense of the outside world in terms of 'world order' and how it has positioned itself vis-a-vis such entities as ’the West’ and ’Asia’. The content of this course as described in the teaching schedule is provisional and will be adjusted as far as possible to the interests of the students and the topics of their MA theses. The main part of this course consists of discussions on the basis of student presentations and related sources and articles prepared by all students in advance. There will be lectures providing a historical and theoretical framework. We will also read a selection of Japanese primary sources, translated by the students in advance.

Learning outcome

This course aims to develop the students’ knowledge of modern and contemporary Japan by looking into themes related to Japan’s international relations during the last 150 years. The fields covered will include intellectual, political, social, economic and diplomatic history and we will discuss various themes such as the nation, the state, national identity, world order, nationalism, regionalism (Asianism), internationalism, cosmopolitanism, globalism, imperialism and colonialism. Another aim is to develop the students' language skills and accordingly they will be trained how to read and interpret primary sources. The students will also be further trained in searching, analyzing and comparing sources, and in presenting and writing an academic paper.


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.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

See the general enrolment criteria for the MA programme option in Modern Japan

Recommended previous knowledge

The course builds on fundamental insight in Japanese history, society and politics corresponding to the courses JAP1501 - Japan's politics and society and JAP1503 - Japans historie, as well as basic competence in Japanese language corresponding to the course JAP2110 - Japansk 3+4.


Teaching is in the form of at least 10 triple hours of seminars. It is obligatory to attend at least 80 per cent of the classes. The course requires active participation and the completion of obligatory assignments.

The obligatory assignments are included in the examination form (please see "Exam information"), and is therefore only valid for ONE semester.

See Guidelines for obligatory instructional activity at IKOS


The form of evaluation is a portfolio assessment that consists of two parts: The first part consists of assignments that are turned in throughout the semester. The assignments consist of translations, written assignments concerning the translated primary sources, and a presentation (including preparatory tasks such as the compilation of a bibliography and a hand-out). The other part is an essay of 10-15 pages. The topic of the essay and the related presentation is chosen in consultation with the teacher. The first part makes up a third of the grade, the other part two-thirds. The student must pass both the first and the second parts in order to pass the course.

The essay is to be submitted in Fronter within a given deadline. Along with the term paper, the student must hand in an Obligatory statement regarding cheating.

Language of examination


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.


Useful information about Master’s studies at IKOS
(This information will soon be available in English).

Facts about this course






Spring 2012


Spring 2012

The course will not be offered again after Spring 2012.

Teaching language