Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module JPNS1041: Introduction to Japanese Culture: From Antiquity to the Present

Department: Modern Languages and Cultures (Japanese)

JPNS1041: Introduction to Japanese Culture: From Antiquity to the Present

Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap 45 Location Durham


  • None


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules


  • To introduce students to the cultural history of Japan.
  • To foster a consciousness of Japan's role in and experience of globalisation over the longue durée.
  • To impart critical concepts and methodologies for the analysis of textual and visual artefacts.


  • Through a survey of Japanese cultural production over the last 1500 years, including literature, religion, philosophy, and visual and performing arts, this module will introduce students to new perspectives on the long history of globalisation in East Asia.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of this module students will have:
  • developed a basic understanding of Japanese cultural history, and gained critical skills for situating the products of this history within broader transnational and global frameworks.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module students will:
  • have gained the ability to contextualise, critically engage with, and effectively analyse cultual artefacts cental to the history of Japan.
  • to understand how the study of Japanese history can contribute to re-thinking the idea of "culture" in an ever more connected world.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module students will:
  • have improved written and oral communication skills.
  • develop the ability to work independently, with effective reading and research skills.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures will provide structured delivery of core module content;
  • Seminars will enable more active discussion, developing students' skills in critical thinking, discussion and oral presentation;
  • The module will be taught and assessed in English;
  • Students are expected to attend all lectures ands seminars, prepare appropriately for classes, and to participate actively in discussions.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 Hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 Hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay 1 Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 1 1,500 words 100% Yes
Component: Essay 2 Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2 2,500 words 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment will take place as a three-step scaffolded process. Step 1 comprises the collaborative online annotation of a primary source within small teams of 3-4 students. Step 2 comprises individual blogging of ca. 500 words on a theme/keyword/concept that emerged from Step 1, and a response/comment of ca. 250 words on the blog of a peer. Step 3 involves the recording of a short presentation (ca. 5-7 minutes) developing the blog post into a concrete and specific argument, referencing at least two secondary sources in addition to the primary source(s) already considered.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University