Spring 2022 - HIST 464 D100

Problems in Modern Asian History (4)

Propaganda Mod Japan

Class Number: 4523

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: Tue, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Concepts and methodology of modern Asian history. Selected themes may include revolution, inequality, mass violence, ideology, imperialism, leadership, and the Cold War. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 464 may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


Japanese Propaganda

While this seminar focuses on Japan, students are very welcome to consider research that allows for comparison with the situation in other nations in order to develop a broader perspective on the topic. 

Japanese propaganda was said to be extremely sophisticated and effective. Recruited shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbour to assist with U.S. Army propaganda, the Oscar-winning director Frank Capra studied captured Japanese films and is said to have remarked, “We can’t beat this kind of thing. We can make films like these maybe once in a decade.”  Capra’s now famous assessment may be applied to other areas of propaganda, which was not limited to products of the mass media, such as cinema, radio, and newspapers, but also to what individuals wore and ate. At the same time, consideration should be given to the extent to which various interest groups involved in shaping public opinion became captives of their own propaganda and limited by the need to conform to state-sponsored and popularly-supported ideas.

Recommended: While it is not a prerequisite for this course, it is recommended that students take a course on Japan prior to this one.


  • *Seminar Participation: Perusall and collaborative commenting on readings (25%) and presentation/facilitation of discussion (5%) and weekly group discussion (5%) 35%
  • Book review (3-5 double-spaced pages MAXIMUM) 15%
  • Essay Project (8-10 double-spaced pages MAXIMUM) 40%
  • In-class analyses (2-4 double-spaced pages MAXIMUM x 2) of wartime and post-war films 10%


*Seminar Participation (35%)
Perusall and collaborative commenting on readings 25% 
Students will use Perusall, a social annotation tool accessible through CANVAS, to pose and respond to each other’s questions and comments.
Presentation/Facilitation of discussion 5%
 Students, preferably working in pairs, will sign up to present their opinions on one of the week’s seminar readings. In order to further encourage    discussion, presenter/facilitators may also select for group examination some of the comments and questions on the readings that other students have posed on Perusall.
Weekly group discussion 5%
All members of this course are expected to attend the weekly virtual meetings via CANVAS BlackBoard, do the assigned readings for each week, and, most important, support presenter/facilitators by participating in discussion.



Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 
Accessible through CANVAS and Perusall

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.