skip to content

Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

Part IB

J.10 A Japanese Politics:Modernization, Cultural and Political and Economic Exceptionalism (Michaelmas Term)

The course is an introduction to post-1945 Japanese politics examining Japan’s political parties and institutions from a comparative perspective, particularly with reference to other liberal-democracies including the Republic of Korea.

In considering the distinctiveness of the Japanese political system, it addresses a number of central issues including some (albeit not necessarily all of the following themes): the role of the United States during the Occupation of Japan in shaping Japan’s postwar political evolution; Japan’s rapid post-war economic growth and subsequent slow down in the 1990s and beyond; central-local government relations; the legal system; the nature of prime ministerial leadership; populism and identity politics; and the politics of defence and foreign policy. The paper pays particular attention to the nature of domestic political change since the early 21st century as well as the economic and security policy challenges for a country that is increasingly active both globally and regionally. While a stand-alone course, J.10A complements J.10B which addresses comparable themes

Form and Conduct

The assessment consists of one essay from a selection of topics/questions assigned by instructor, of no more than 3,000 words, to be submitted digitally by the first Friday of Lent Term.

J.10 B Korean Politics: Korean Politics: Fractured Identities and the Struggle for Legitimacy on the Korean Peninsula (Lent Term)

The course is an introduction to the politics of the Korean Peninsula. It analyses the emergence of two separate nation-states, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the aftermath of the peninsula’s liberation from Japan’s colonial rule in 1945.

Topics included in the course include the Korean War as both a civil and an international conflict, the tensions between authoritarianism and democracy in the ROK over the course of six Republics, the ROK’s post-1945 political economy, the nature of authoritarian leadership in the DPRK, the foreign policy of the DPRK; US alliance relations with the ROK, the foreign policy of the ROK (particularly its “middle power” diplomacy), ROK-Japan bilateral relations and issues of historical identity, and the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. While a stand-alone course, J.10B complements J.10A and builds on some of the comparative insights developed in J.10A.

Form and Conduct

The assessment consists of a take-home, open book examination during Easter term. Students should answer 3 out of 10 questions set by the instructor, to be completed within a 48-hour period.

This description is subject to change, for the latest information, students should consult the Undergraduate Handbook available on the Faculty Intranet.

Terms taught
Michaelmas, Lent
Michaelmas, Lent