The Land of the Rising Sun

Ref: C2224496

In this investigation of Japanese history and civilization one focus will be the distinctive culture the country developed despite its proximity to its larger neighbour, China. Other areas of interest will include its response to the challenge from the industrial powers in the nineteenth century - imitating them - and, after this led to disaster, the emergence after 1945 of a new, reinvigorated Japan. We shall cover the following topics: Introduction, geography, origins The beginnings of Japanese civilization (5th - 7th cents. AD) The Age of Courtiers and before (AD 710-1185) The Age of Samurai I (1185-1333) The Age of Samurai II (1333-1600) Isolation (1600-1868) I Isolation (1600-1868) II Isolation (1600-1868) III Modernization (1868-1912) Towards Disaster (1912-45) Japan 1945-2017

Course aim

The aim of this course is to explore the history and civilization of Japan, the 'Land of the Rising Sun'.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • All that is required is an enquiring mind.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • outline the history of Japan
  • give a few details about any five aspects of the country's culture
  • describe and account for the distinctive character of the Japanese people and
  • using information derived from the course contribute to discussions about Japan past and present.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be welcome to discuss your progress with the tutor if you so wish. Feedback will be given to students where appropriate.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • Access to Hertfordshire Libraries' collection could be useful.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • If you wish to begin to explore this subject R. Tames, A TRAVELLER'S HISTORY OF JAPAN (2008) provides a congenial introduction. As the course progresses reading round the topics covered will enhance the value of the classes.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • This course could point the way to other areas of investigation such as the history and culture of neighbouring countries: Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and even China itself.

Download full course outline

The Land of the Rising Sun Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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