Campus weather update
Douglas College wordmark
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Snapchat logo YouTube logo Wordpress logo
Registration for the Winter 2020 semester begins soon.  Watch your email for more details.
back to search

Introduction to Japan: Language, Culture and Society

Course Code: MODL 2273
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Modern Languages
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course surveys Japanese language and culture from social, historical and theoretical perspectives. During the course, students will learn about the linguistic, cultural, and social aspects of modern Japan by exploring the history and usage of the Japanese language and by examining various cultural products. The course is taught in English. Prior knowledge of Japanese is not required.

Course Content

This course consists of the following three integrated components:

Basic concepts and theoretical frameworks

Students will learn basic introduction on the terms and concepts needed for critical analysis and understanding of language and culture.

- The nature and definition of language and culture

- Critical perspectives related to language and culture (e.g., ideology, discourse and discursive formation, language and power)

- Concepts and terms related to language and culture (e.g., high/low culture, popular/mass culture, collectivism and individualism, harmony, uchi and soto, honne and tatemae, orientalism and self-orientalism, Self and Other, imperialism, nationalism, hegemony)

Japanese language, culture, and society

With a particular focus on linguistic elements, students will learn about the language, culture and society of Japan.

- The development of Japan as a nation state and the Japanese language

- Japanese language education in the world

- Language policies and language education in Japan

- Linguistic ideologies in Japan

- The development of Japanese orthography and its usage in different contexts

- Japanese lexis and expressions: etymology of Japanese words, loanwords in Japanese, Japanese loanwords in other languages, slang, idioms and proverbs

- The Japanese language and translation: difficulty, what is lost in translation

- Gender/regional/generational difference in the Japanese language

- Japanese nonverbal communication

Analysis of Japanese cultural products

Students will explore aspects of Japanese language, culture and society through an examination of various cultural products such as literature, anime, food, mascots and festivals. The topics and themes may include, but are not limited to:

- Japanese social and cultural identities

- Japanese aesthetic values and religious beliefs

- The discourse on race and ethnicity in Japan

- Social stratification and minorities in Japan

- Gender and family system in Japan

- Japanese sub-cultures and pop-cultures (e.g., cosplay, otaku culture)

Methods of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include, but are not limited to, the following: lectures, screening of audio-visual materials, small group work, class discussions and debates, and field trips

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on this general outline:

- Attendance and participation worth no less than 15% but no more than 20% of the final grade

- One term project or exam worth no less than 20% but no more than 30% of the final grade

-One final research or analysis paper worth no less than 20% but no more than 30% of the final grade

- One final presentation worth no less than 10% but no more than 20% of the final grade

- Other means of assessment - such as quizzes, journals, portfolio, and in-class essays to be presented to students in the course outline at the beginning of the semester

Learning Outcomes

Successful students will:

-develop their knowledge of linguistic, cultural and social aspects of modern Japan

-develop their ability to critically analyze the construction and representation of the language and culture

-develop a critical awareness of their own views and attitudes toward different languages and cultures

-develop their appreciation of, and sensitivity to, different cultural practices and perspectives

-develop their ability to express their thoughts and opinions verbally and in writing, including the ability to demonstrate their understanding of course content

course prerequisites

None (however, students are encouraged to register in MODL 1171 concurrently)





curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.