Spring 2024 - GA 303 D100

Selected Topics in Japanese Studies (3)

Japn Pop Culture & Globalization

Class Number: 4746

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Wed, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units. Recommended: GA (or ASC) 201.



Content will vary according to interests of faculty and students but will involve Japanese-related study within one or more of the social science or humanities disciplines. This course may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


In this course, students examine the dissemination, inheritance, and reception of Japanese popular culture (popular literature in a broad sense). It is well-known that Japanese popular culture, such as manga, anime, and video games, is consumed worldwide. The course aims to help students increase their understanding of modern popular culture by connecting it to the early twentieth century. To make the bridge between those two periods of time in Japanese culture, we will explore the fields of history, literature, media studies, and sociology.

The course consists of two units. The first unit will focus on the history of the dissemination, inheritance, and reception of popular culture in Japanese Canadian society as it took place in the twentieth century. In this unit, lectures and readings help students learn about the social, political, and geographic circumstances of twentieth-century audiences. Students will analyze selected materials to broaden and deepen their comprehension of the popular culture having uniqueness and universality. The materials include the following: The serialized novel “Exploration of Devil Caves” in a Japanese-Canadian newspaper, Tairiku Nippō; photographs from the SFU Library’s “The Harrison Brown Collection” taken in Japan during the 1930s and the digital collection; some exhibited items of “Women of Change: Celebrating Japanese Canadian Leaders,” currently held at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural
Centre at Burnaby, BC.

The second unit will focus on recent popular Japanese culture inspired by pre-modern works. Students will explore manga, anime, game products such as Ōkami, and the Pacific Northwest-local anime convention events. Through lectures and readings, students will broaden and deepen their comprehension of popular culture’s powerful ability, which has been supported by the development of communication technology and AI over the past thirty years. The experience helps students recognize that new media provided transnational and cross-linguistic environments to the audiences. Moreover, it facilitates their critical thinking as a modern audience.


  • Attendance (15%) + In class participation (5%) 20%
  • Online discussion 10%
  • Quizzes (2.5% x 8) 20%
  • Field trip report (7.5% x 2) 15%
  • Final project (250-word proposal 10% + 1,500-word paper 25%) 35%



Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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