Spring 2018 - HIST 464 D100

Problems in Modern Asian History (4)

Propaganda Mod Japan

Class Number: 3320

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 5017, Burnaby

  • 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 the course on Japan prior to this one.


  • Seminar presentation(s) 5%, participation 30% 35%
  • Book review (3-5 double-spaced pages maximum) 15%
  • Essay (10 double-spaced pages maximum) 40%
  • In-class analyses (2-4 double-spaced maximum x 2) of wartime and post-war films 10%



Andrew Gordon, A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present.  New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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