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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

EAST1263 Japan in War and Peace

10 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Caroline Rose

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2017/18

Pre-requisite qualifications

None - and no knowledge of Japanese language is required

Module replaces

EAST1260 Japan Inside OutEAST1261 Japan in the WorldEAST1262 Inside Japan

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module introduces students to Japan's role in major conflicts since the Meiji Restoration, exploring the rationale for Japan's actions. It considers the legacy of Japan's aggression in World War Two, and the impact upon Japan of the dropping of the atom bombs. Finally it explores changes in Japan's security policy, in particular the response to the war on terror, and the quest for a new security role for Japan in the 21st century.


The module aims to introduce students to key events in Japan's military history up to World War Two, and its pacifist history since World War Two. It introduces students to the core literature and main debates on Japan in war and peace, and seeks to develop students' critical thinking skills and academic writing skills.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module students should:
- have developed a strong understanding of the reasons for Japan's actions in major conflicts from the late 1890s until the early 2000s
- be familiar with the key international and domestic developments which led to Japan's involvement in conflicts since the Meiji period, and also understand the impact of Japan's actions
- be familiar with, and be able to think critically about, the academic and popular debates about the legacy of World War Two in East Asia and Japan's war responsibility
- be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the major changes in Japan's security policies since the end of WWII, Japan's response to the war on terror, and the debates surrounding Japan's aims to become a 'normal' nation.

Skills outcomes
Students will be expected to have:
- developed a fundament for critical analysis of the key debates in the field of Japanese history, politics, post-war socio-economy and culture;
- enhanced their skills of expression and communication in both written and oral form;
- developed their abilities to plan, organize, gather, comprehend and analyze materials relevant to Japanese studies.


The module begins with an introduction to Japan's early imperialist expansion and major conflicts with China and Russia. Its role in WWI is briefly covered before exploring the rise of militarism in the 1930s and the establishment of Manchukuo.

The module then explores Japan's rationale for its invasion of China and Southeast Asia, and outlines the events before and after Pearl Harbour. The impact of the atomic bombs, and the emergence of the pacifist movement are then introduced, before moving onto developments during and since the Cold War.

The module brings events up to date to cover Japan's SDF activities in the Gulf in recent years, and the potential for Japan to become a 'normal' nation.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours86.00
Total Contact hours14.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

- Background reading in preparation for lectures
- Reading and preparation of appropriate presentation material
- Revision for exam.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Monitoring will take place in seminars, in which students give presentations on topics discussed in the lectures, and during lectures which include some in-class discussion.

Students also undertake a formative coursework essay of 1,500 words, to be submitted mid-way through the semester, on which feedback is provided and which also enables monitoring of progress.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/09/2017


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