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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.

East Asian Studies Program

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 (2018) There's a possibility that class schedule may be modified.

EAS Semester I Course Summaries

Japanese Politics (2 Credits; meets once a week)

The principal aim of this class is to understand change and continuity in Japanese politics from 1945 to 2016. In doing so, the class will help  to offer solid backgrounds about political systems in Japan; foster an understanding about key political issues in Japan; and situate Japan in  a broad comparative perspective.
Japan is an important and interesting empirical case for comparative  politics. It is important, as it is one of the advanced industrial democracies outside Europe and North America, and as it is one of the largest economies with its significant economic influence in the world.
It is interesting, as it offers many theoretical and empirical puzzles:  For example, the same ruling party stayed in office for more than 50 years (with only a minor interruption), although people talk about rampant corruption scandals and intra-party factional struggles.
The class will therefore try to address these theoretical and empirical puzzles. The class will cover, first of all, the major theoretical concepts in comparative politics. Second, it will cover the historical development of Japan's politics, political institutions (party systems and electoral systems), and how political actors (politicians, executives, etc.) behave. Third, we will also talk about lots of policy
consequences (international security; corruption; pork barrel; administrative transparency; etc.). By understanding the major theoretical concepts in comparative politics, Japan's political institutions, and their policy implications, we will be able to comparatively analyze Japan and the rest of the world, in a broader scope.

East Asian Philosophies (4 Credits; meets twice a week)

The aim of this course is to help students acquire a basic understanding about the history of East Asian traditional thoughts, which would also lead to deeper and better insights into many contemporary issues of the region.
The course will consist of four sections.
1. Firstly, it will focus on the major schools of Chinese classical philosophy (such as Confucianism, Taoism and Legalism) that formed a common ideological background in premodern East Asia, tracing how they had been generated and developed into highly sophisticated theories (both metaphysical and practical), and how they had spread over a broad area of the Far East and fostered the emergence of a “sphere of civilization” (in the broader sense of term).
2. In the second section, the course will discuss the process in which the classical philosophies gradually merged with indigenous or imported religions in different parts of East Asia and ingenerated various forms of religious traditions. The examples such as following will be covered: Confucianism as a theory and ritual of ancestral worship, Taoism as a popular religion, Chinese Buddhism and its unique development in Japan, Japanese Shintoism, and Islam in China (that may seem somewhat less important but actually has played very important role in Chinese history).
3. The third section will provide a general survey of the profound influence of these teachings – especially Confucianism – to the traditional political and social systems in East Asia. The cases of China, Japan and Korea will be considered comparatively.
4. Then finally, the problems of “traditional thoughts and modernity” in East Asia will be discussed. This final section will deal with the philosophical struggles in China and Japan after the late 19th century to reconsider the traditional thoughts, transform the old ideologies and construct the new ways of thinking.

Globalization & East Asian Economies (4 Credits; meets twice a week)

This lecture focuses evolution of capitalist world system paying special attention to long waves and super long waves and 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 capitalist economy.
We 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. In the golden age after World War II, Japan shifted its dynamic industry from textile to heavy and chemical industries. The upgrading of Japanese industries left room for less-developed East Asian countries to industrialize in the flying geese pattern. After the structural crisis of the 1970s, Japan shifted its dynamic industries to machinery industries such as automobiles and electrical machinery, and Asian NIEs to heavy and chemical industries with export-led growth strategies. The centers of economic growth shifted from the US and Europe to Asia.
In the last few weeks we will concentrate into two topics: (1) the re-emergence of China and India as the economic giants; and (2) the global financial crisis.

Environmental Issues in East Asia (4 Credits; meets twice a week)

This course explores how environmental transformations have intertwined with socioeconomic,
cultural, and political processes in East Asia. The class focuses primarily on China, Japan, and Korea. Placing nonhuman nature at the center of East Asian history, politics, and societies, this course considers the changing relationships that people have developed with nonhuman actors and actants in this part of the world. Some of the major topics that we will discuss include forestry practices, water control systems, agriculture, climate, ecological change on imperial borderlands, war and the environment, human-animal interactions, economic development and pollution, and the growth of environmentalism. Students will be evaluated on their participation, short-writing assignment, field reports, and a final writing assignment. English is the language of instruction and evaluation.

East Asian Community in the 21st Century (4 Credits; meets twice a week)

East Asia’s growing geopolitical flashpoints and interweaving sociocultural contradictions provide significant insights about the national security strategies and comparative political economy of Northeast (NEA) and Southeast Asian (SEA) countries. This course offers critical and analytic perspectives on the overarching contexts and underlying conditions (strategic, political, economic and cultural) that shape East Asian relations in the twenty-first century.  The central themes of the course are the two types of security dilemma that NEA and SEA governments confront today: strategic security dilemma at the regional level and economic security dilemma at domestic level.
The first part examines the strategic security dilemma induced by intensified militarization of the East and South China Seas. The lectures in Part 1 will show how the pressure to adopt robust deterrence policies, on the one hand, and risk of escalation that such policies create, on the other, leads to paradoxical choices for East Asian states. Should the rest of East Asian states hedge against China? Should Japan and South Korea try balance China’s aggressive power by involving the United States and affording it a more proactive role in East Asian regional affairs? Should East Asian states, particularly the smaller ones, already accept the ‘realities’ of impending Chinese hegemony and start aligning themselves with China to avoid huge consequences? These are some of the questions that will be answered in Part 1.

The second part explores the economic security dilemma induced by the steady proliferation of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). The discussions in Part 2 will reveal the nature of FTAs as a double-edged sword that simultaneously secures and threatens the national interests of East Asian countries. How do East Asian governments use FTAs to promote, enhance and secure their national interests? Conversely, how do security issues and threats (both traditional and non-traditional) influence the creation and implementation of FTAs in East Asia?  These are the key questions that will be answered in Part 2.
The course concludes with a discussion of how the creation of an East Asian Community (EAC) might serve as a vital platform for mitigating fault lines of geopolitical clashes and boosting the regional economy, thereby reducing the levels of strategic and economic security dilemma that East Asian states confront.

Ethnicity in East Asia (4 Credits; meets twice a week)

This course will examine issues of ethnic identity in Japan, China and South Korea and how discourses of ethnic identity have historically informed the construction of these nation-states and national identities. As a starting point, we will attempt to arrive at concrete definitions of the terms used in discussing these issues, namely ethnicity, nation and identity. Dismissing the notion that any of these properties are primordial in origin or innate to human beings, we will argue that all of these are best understood as socially constructed concepts. This implies that the concepts are therefore also subject to social deconstruction and reconstruction, and cannot be properly understood if we imagine them to be distinctive reified, essential properties of specific groups of human beings.
Having established the ground rules, students will be presented with two opposing arguments concerning the origins of national identities derived from  studies in nationalism. The first position is that contemporary nation-states and the concomitant identities and nationalisms associated with them are products of the modern, industrial world. This position is supported by writers such as Ernest Gellner (Nations and Nationalism), Benedict Anderson (Imagined Communities) and Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (The Invention of Tradition). The opposing position is known as ethno-symbolism. The main proponent of this position is Anthony Smith (The Ethnic Roots of Nations). Smith argues that contemporary nation-states and nationalisms have their roots in pre-modern ethnic identities. 
Having presented the two opposing models, we will turn to the specific case studies of Japan, China and South Korea and attempt to identify the salient discourses of ethnic and national identity current in each society. We will examine how these discourses have developed over time and how they have been employed to shape each society. We will assess whether the modernist, the ethno-symbolic or neither model of the origins of national identity best fits our East Asian examples of nation-states.
Students will be required to attend class regularly and be prepared in order that they can contribute to class discussions. Students will be required to make an in-class presentation of about 15 minutes duration on a theme drawn from the class. Students will further be required to submit a term paper, properly annotated and cited, of approximately 2,000 words.

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.