Spring 2022 - GA 201 D100

Introduction to Japanese Civilization (3)

Class Number: 4645

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    WMC 3220, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 20, 2022
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    15 units.



An introduction to historical and cultural perspectives covering the basic aspects of Japan: geography, history, culture, politics, economy, etc. Students with credit for ASC 201 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


This lecture- and tutorial-based course provides students with an introduction to selected cultural and historical perspectives on Japan from its origins to the present. The goal of the course is to learn some of the foundations of Japanese civilization, which will help to understand how Japan has developed over time and how it interacts with the world today. The main themes of the course will include: spiritual beliefs and traditions, particularly Shinto and Zen Buddhism; the changing roles of the imperial family; the development of the samurai; the impact of Western imperialism on Japanese society; the role of technology in modern Japan’s identity; the environmental legacy of natural disasters. This course does not require prior knowledge of Japanese history or society nor any fluency in Japanese.

Normally in this course, I organize a field trip where you can have a hands-on Japanese cultural experience. Sadly, we cannot do this in the uncertainty of the pandemic. So your major writing assignment for this course will be to organize your own Japanese cultural activity, such as a tea ceremony demonstration, an anime film festival, a taiko drumming concert or some other activity of your choice. You will write a cover letter and a proposal that outlines how you will organize your cultural event as well as present an overview of your chosen element of Japanese culture.


  • Tutorial attendance and participation 20%
  • Japanese Cultural Event project (10% + 30%) 40%
  • Midterm test 20%
  • Final Exam 20%



Coursepack will be provided.

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.