An Introduction to Japanese Art

Ref: C3741358

Japanese culture has developed through the assimilation of foreign influences and has often proved to be a curious mix of the old and new. This course will examine Japanese art using historical, social, cultural and aesthetic contexts, highlighting the main characteristics.

Course aim

To provide an introductory knowledge of the historical development of Japanese art from ancient times to the present, referring to some aspects of the country’s culture and people’s way of life.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners

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

  • Have an overall picture of Japanese art history.
  • Be able to visually identify Japanese art works.
  • Recognise some of the important issues in Japanese art, which are often problematical issues relating to non-Western art.
  • Be better able to examine and discuss Japanese art.
  • Gain easier access to some relevant art and cultural organisations in the UK to further develop your interest in the subject.

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?

  • Viewing many images of Japanese art works is an achievement in itself. Questions and answers, classroom discussions and informal feedback will provide students with the opportunity to measure their progress. There will be no formal assessment.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre-reading is required; however, the below will be useful. Joan Stanley Baker, Japanese Art (London: Thames & Hudson [World of Art Series], 1984 and 2000).

What can I do next?

  • The Japanese cultural organisations such as the Japan Foundation often provide lectures and events of the relevant subjects. Sometimes relevant courses are held by adult educational organisations, and some universities run academic courses.

Download full Course information sheet

An Introduction to Japanese Art


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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