Summer 2024 - HIST 371 D100

The Asia-Pacific War in Modern Japanese History (4)

Class Number: 3272

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history. Recommended: at least one course on modern Japan.



Covers the period in Japan from the 1930s to the 1950s and will introduce students to topics such as wartime atrocities, the dropping of the atomic bombs and the prosecution of war criminals. It will also attempt to explain why so much controversy surrounds interpretations of events arising from Japan's last war, the Asia-Pacific War.


This course focuses on the Asia-Pacific War and its very long postwar, which may have still not come to an end insofar as so many issues arising from the war have not been satisfactorily resolved for individuals both in Japan and in the countries that were subjected to colonization and wartime occupation.  It thus covers both events during the war as well as how the war has been remembered by inviting students to examine events of continuing controversy, many of which arose from the problematic handling of war crimes. 

This is not a course dedicated to specific battles or military strategy, and students are forewarned that the course addresses events that can only be described as cruel.

Recommended: While it is not a prerequisite for this course, students who have taken a course on Japan prior to this one will be at an advantage.



  • Eight Page (double-spaced) Essay plus Bibliography 25%
  • Tutorial Work 50%
  • Examination 25%



GORDON, Andrew.  A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

SFU Library available online:

Tutorial readings (available through CANVAS)

Registrar Notes:


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