EAS (East Asian Studies) Program
The core of international exchange is developed through the East Asian Studies Program. Through the EAS Program, the faculty and staff of Musashi University are committed to helping students gain intercultural competence, develop their talents, and contribute as global citizens. The fundamental educational philosophy of Musashi University is chi to jissen no yugo (the fusion of knowledge and practice). This philosophy underpins the EAS Program, where we feel students deserve a comprehensive educational experience in and out of the classroom. Simply put, the classroom is not conned to Musashi’s campus; it is Tokyo, the Kanto region, Japan.
EAS courses are taught in English and meet twice a week for 90 minutes per session. Each EAS course is worth 4 credits. Students are required to enroll in a minimum of three EAS courses per term.
Lecturers in the East Asian Studies program come from a variety of professional backgrounds and have included individuals from the business, media, and diplomatic elds as well as those from a traditional academic background. Course offerings typically include subjects in the elds of business, economics, foreign policy, history, media studies, politics, religion, and sociology.
EAS Course List (Sample)
EAS Semester I Course Summaries
Cultural Identity in Contemporary Japanese Society
This course aims to study contemporary Japanese society through the construction and representation of identities in Japan. This involves applying ideas developed in the West to a non-Western society and thus testing their claims to universality. Concepts such as ‘social identity,’ as described by Richard Jenkins, the analysis of power (often missing from Japanese analyses) along the lines of Michel Foucault, concepts of Ethnicity developed by the likes of Frederik Barth and Thomas H. Eriksen and cultural theories such as those proposed by Pierre Bourdieu or the Birmingham school in the UK all come into play. These ideas will be employed in respect to discussions of Returnees in Japanese education, the redefinition of ‘work’ in the current economic climate (the rise of so-called ‘Fureeta’ and ‘NEETs’), Nikkei and other ‘foreign’ communities in Japan, crime and foreigners (and reporting in the mass media), cultural nationalism in its varied forms, including the romanticisation of the ‘furusato’ to the quasi-deification of cuisine . a concept in Japan very close to that of Terroir in France.
Japanese Foreign Policy
Since the Meiji period, academics and commentators have often viewed Japan as a “Western” nation within Asia. What does such a characterization mean for the practice of Japanese foreign policy and diplomacy? In such a context, how normal or realistic are Japan’s diplomatic strategies and efforts and international relations aims and goals in the 21st Century?
This course aims to broadly examine Japanese diplomacy since 1952 through key events, issues, and personalities in Japanese foreign policy from the 20th and 21st centuries. To that end, we will survey issues such as: security policy, Japan’s role in international peacekeeping, the utility and impact of soft power on international relations, ODA policies and practices, and human rights. Through these issues we hope to understand Japan’s diplomatic relations with the United States, China, Korea, Russia, SE Asia, the EU, and the Middle East.
Globalization & East Asian Economies
I investigate evolution of capitalist world system after World War II paying special attention to industrialization of East Asia: the reindustrialisation of Europe and Japan to catch up with US productivity and the cyclical crises in the golden age; the structural crisis that changed the accumulation regime in the 1970s; the ‘flying geese’ pattern of development in East Asia and compressed pseudo Lewis-type industrialization in China in the neo-liberal accumulation regime. And finally I will discuss whether the subprime loan crisis is a systemic crisis that will destroy the present capitalist world system.
This lecture focuses evolution of bureaucratic capitalism paying special attention to re-emergence of Asia. This lecture is useful to student in a wide range of social science who would like to get a feel for the ‘big picture’ of the evolution of economic systems.
Contemporary Japanese History: Japanese-Sino Relations
Since the late 19th century until 1945, Japan’s development and economic growth had been closely linked to its colonialist expansion into the East Asian Continent, especially into China (and, of course, Korea). On the other hand, the struggle for decolonization, modernization and nation-building in China during the same period had been always confronted with the presence of the ‘Japanese Empire,’ both as a precedent successful ‘model’ to follow and as the most menacing ‘invader’ to fight against.
The aim of this course is to give an introduction to this quite complicated historical context of modern Sino-Japanese relations. The course will provide systematical basic knowledge of:
-What happened between Japan and China in the modern period.
-Socio-cultural effects of what happened in both sides.
-Historical structure of the Japanese view of China and Chinese view of Japan.
This may be somewhat helpful in considering the background of recently increasing political and cultural antagonism between Japan and China, which is strongly related to the ‘historical problems’ as well as the actual incidents in these days.
EAS Semester II Course Summaries
Contemporary Japanese History: 1850s-1960s
This course covers the political, cultural, and environmental history of the people of Japan from the mid-1850s to the early-1960s. The course is designed for students without any background in Japanese history. We will begin with an examination of the construction the nation-state of the Japan in the context of an imperialized East Asia. Through a selection of translations, secondary sources, and field trips, we will discuss how people were enrolled in the making of Japan and how their participation in the construction of this empire differed depending on their gender, class, and ethnicity. In the second half of the course, we will discuss uneven growth and consequences of Japan’s postwar reconstruction up to the 1960s. Students will be evaluated based on participation, short writing assignments, and mid-term and final examinations. English is the language of instruction and evaluation.
East Asian Business
Japan, Korea and China have all achieved spectacular economic growth since the end of World War II. While those three countries are often described as ‘East Asia,’ as opposed to ‘Anglo-Saxon’ or ‘Western’ countries, each of them has experienced different developmental paths under different political regimes at different periods, and they all have distinctive characteristics in relation to business and management systems. After going through the ‘Asian financial crisis,’ ‘the burst bubble economy’ (in Japan), and the recent global financial crisis, it is clear that those three Asian countries are core driving forces for the recovery of the global economy. Through an examination of the development stages and current issues facing these three countries, students will have acquired specialized knowledge on diverse models of business and management systems in East Asia, as well as acquired skills to critically analyze regional business and management systems in a global economy.
The module begins by discussing why East Asian countries are important to the study of the contemporary global economy. Next, it focuses on the developmental models and paths, and the characteristics of business and management of each country . Japan, Korea and China. It then moves onto current issues facing those three countries. Finally, it sheds light on the rolls those three countries will play in the recovery and development of the world economy.
International Political History of East Asia
This course aims to provide students with a general introduction of the countries in and issues facing East Asia. We begin with a general understanding of the conceptualization and evolution of East Asia and examine Japan’s relations with neighboring countries. We will then look at specific issues facing the region, and conclude with an eye towards the futures of East Asia. Students do not need to have any background in international relations or comparative politics. This course aims to be interactive with lectures and discussions as well as linking students to out of class academic presentations and experiences within Tokyo.
Aspects of Japanese Culture & History: Introduction to Japanese Society & Culture
This course provides an exploration of numerous questions and dimensions of modern Japanese culture. What is culture? What is Japanese culture? Is there anything uniquely Japanese? How the Japanese language is related to the Japanese culture? How can we study and analyze Japanese culture? How do foreigners and the Japanese themselves view Japanese people and culture? What kinds of subcultures are there in Japan and how are Japanese values and beliefs manifested in them? Is the idea of “homogeneous Japan” a myth or reality? There exist a number of answers to these questions, because Japanese culture, like the cultures of other countries, has many factors and facets. In this course, we attempt to explore these questions from the anthropological perspective. We will examine a variety of topics, from the Japanese identities, family, schooling and education system, religion, work and employment, arts and entertainment, and the government, politics, and law.
Exchange Student Comment
Saskia Scholz, Passau University (Governance & Public Policy) studied at Musashi during Spring Term 2010. Currently student of MA Peace and Conflict Studies at Goethe University Frankfurt Main
All the classes I took within the East Asian Studies Program were valuable experiences and benefited me in my understanding of Japanese politics and society. Inspired by the class ‘Japanese Foreign Policy’ I later on wrote my BA Thesis in Passau on the topic of Japanese Security Policy under American influence, which was published in a scientific magazine in 2012. This certainly would not have been possible without the many-faceted insight into Japanese foreign policy and diplomacy provided in this class.
Yohan Leclerc, Lyon III University (Japanese Studies) studied at Musashi from 2007 to 2008. Currently working as a translator (mostly for French manga publishers).
The year I spent at Musashi was one of the most instructive and enlightening, not to mention exhilarating, of my life. Although the classes were interesting, covering a wide range of subjects I knew little about, and the teachers and EAS staff were always super friendly and helpful, it was probably ordinary life in the dormitory, the dayto- day interactions with Japanese students, the daily lunches with fellow foreign students, the bonding experience of the field trips that taught me the most about Japanese life and language. Every waking hour was an occasion for learning. It did not stop when we left the classroom.