History 3330, section 001

Modern Japan

Mon-Wed-Fri, 11:15-12:05, Hardin 233

Fall term, 2019

Prof. Edwin E. Moise
Office: Hardin 102
Cell Phone: 650-8845

Messages can be left in my mailbox in Hardin 126, or in the box on the door of my office, Hardin 102.

Office Hours: I will try to be in my office at the following hours, but it won't always be possible. On the other hand, I will be in my office, and available to you, for much more of the week than my official office hours. E-mail me, or just check and see if my door is open.

    Monday                  2:30-3:20
    Tuesday    11:00-12:00, 2:00-3:15
    Wednesday  10:10-11:00, 2:30-3:20
    Thursday   (none)
    Friday     (none) 

Course Objectives

To give students an overview of the way Japan has developed from the feudal, isolationist society of 1850 to the major industrial power of today. Political, social, and economic changes will all be covered.

Learning Objectives

What goes into your grade

Your grade in the course will be based mainly on the written work I have assigned. You cannot do extra papers for extra credit. You can improve your grade a bit by participating in class discussion. The best way to pick up extra points is to argue against me in class; If you can point out to me that I have made a mistake you get two points extra in the gradebook. If you present a good clear argument that I am wrong about something, with evidence, then your grade may be boosted even if you do not succeed in convincing me.

I do not emphasize trivial factual details in this course. On tests and quizzes I will NOT ask you to name the Prime Ministers who served during the 1950's, much less tell me the exact dates they served. There are some facts you need to know, but they are more important things than names and dates.

The written work will be:
    --Three short papers, on assigned topics, worth 40 points each, two of which will be newspaper research exercises.
    --One minor essay quiz: 20 points.
    --A test (70 points) and the final exam (120 points), which will be mostly essay questions.

This adds up to 330 points. I use a 90%, 80%, 70% scale, sometimes modified in favor of students but never against them, depending on how the class as a whole is doing. 297 points (90% of 330) is guaranteed to be an A, 264 points is guaranteed to be a B, 231 points is guaranteed to be a C. But if very few students have 297 points or more, I may shift the line between A and B down to 296 or 295 points, or even 290 points, to create a reasonable grade distribution.

Any student who has an average of 90% or better, for work up to the final exam, will be permitted to exempt the final and will get an A for the course.

Academic Integrity Policy

Academic integrity requires that we not try to pass other people's work off as our own.

As far as I can recall, I have not caught any students committing plagiarism in this course, in past years. But experience with plagiarism in other courses at Clemson suggests that if there were to be a plagiarism case in this course, it would probably take the form of one student copying another student's 40-point short paper, maybe changing a few words and substituting synonyms, but leaving the two papers still so similar that it is obvious the resemblance could not be coincidence. I would be likely to bring charges both against the student who copied and the student who allowed his or her paper to be copied.

There are some ways in which it is perfectly all right for student to help each other. If two students want to study together getting ready for a test, great. Only if help were still being given after I had handed out the questions would the help become improper. But if two people work together on a newspaper research exercise, and turn in papers that are very similar because each has been getting a lot of help from the other in writing it, both will be in deep trouble. If one of your fellow students asks to look at your paper, to get a better idea of how the assignment was to be done, please say no. They should come to me to ask for further explanations of the assignment, rather than looking at a completed paper to give them their clues. If too papers are so similar it is obvious the author of one must have seen the other, I will file charges.

Title IX (Sexual Harassment) Statement

Clemson University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, veteran's status, genetic information or protected activity in employment, educational programs and activities, admissions and financial aid. This includes a prohibition against sexual harassment and sexual violence as mandated by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This policy is located at Ms. Alesia Smith is the Clemson University Title IX Coordinator, and the Executive Director of Equity Compliance. Her office is located at 110 Holtzendorff Hall, 864.656.3181 (voice) or 864.656.0899 (TDD).

Accessibility Statement

Clemson University values the diversity of our student body as a strength and a critical component of our dynamic community. Students with disabilities or temporary injuries/conditions may require accommodations due to barriers in the structure of facilities, course design, technology used for curricular purposes, or other campus resources. Students who experience a barrier to full access to this class should let the professor know, and make an appointment to meet with a staff member in Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible. You can make an appointment by calling 864-656-6848, by emailing, or by visiting Suite 239 in the Academic Success Center building. Appointments are strongly encouraged – drop-ins will be seen if at all possible, but there could be a significant wait due to scheduled appointments. Students who receive Academic Access Letters are strongly encouraged to request, obtain and present these to their professors as early in the semester as possible so that accommodations can be made in a timely manner. It is the student's responsibility to follow this process each semester. You can access further information here:

Policy on late work

Under normal circumstances, my policy is: If you do not do written work on time, then with any reasonable excuse you will be able to make it up. However, you will be marked off for lateness. You will be marked off even if your excuse is very, very good. You can avoid a penalty only if I have told you before the work was due that you would be able to do it late without penalty. 40-point short papers will not usually be accepted at all (you just get an F) if they are more than seven days late.

Attendance policy

You are allowed up to six cuts INCLUDING EXCUSED ABSENCES. You lose two points for every unexcused absense after that. I would advise you not to take even five. I am going to be saying quite a few things in lectures that are not in the reading. Even if you are very careful about doing all the assigned reading, you will have trouble answering the questions on my tests if you have not been at the lectures.

If I am Late

If I have not gotten to class by five minutes after it was supposed to begin, I would be grateful if a student would go bang on my office door and see whether I am there. If I still have not arrived by ten minutes after the time the class was supposed to begin, you can give up on me and leave.

If Class Is Cancelled Due To Weather

If class is cancelled due to weather, on a day when an assignment was due or a test or quiz was scheduled, the date of the assignment, test, or quiz will simply be postponed to the next class, unless I inform you otherwise by e-mail.

Assigned reading

There are three books you should buy:
    A Modern History of Japan, 4th ed., by Andrew Gordon
    Shadow Shoguns, by Schlesinger
    Peasants, Rebels, Women, and Outcastes, 2d ed., by Mikiso Hane

There will also be reading that I ask you to do online.

Course Outline

The following course outline is tentative. It may be modified slightly because of unexpected events. Items marked >>> are required reading.

August 21: NO CLASS.

August 23: Class meets for the first time. Please read the whole syllabus carefully before class, and be ready to ask questions if anything in in seems unclear. Please also read:
>>> Gordon, pp. 3-9
>>> Hane, pp. 3-9

August 26: Japan under Tokugawa Rule
>>> Gordon, pp. 11-34

August 28: The Western Impact
>>> Gordon, pp. 35-57

August 30: The "Meiji Restoration"
>>> Gordon, pp. 57-76

September 2: Initial modernization and reactions to it
>>> Gordon, pp. 77-98. (If you have seen the Tom Cruise film "The Last Samurai," notice that the events on which the film was based are covered on pp. 85-86 of Gordon.)

September 4: Rural Life
>>> Hane, pp. 9-33

September 6: Rural Life, continued
>>> Hane, pp. 33-62

                September 6: Quiz

September 9: Rural life, continued; Rural women
>>> Hane, pp. 62-101

September 11: Female Textile Workers
>>> Hane, pp. 173-204

September 13: Class will not meet. Instead of going to class, Write a short paper. Topic: To what extent had people in Japanese villages been affected by the westernization of Japan, during the period covered by our classes and reading so far? Length: about 500 words, or more. Obviously, some villagers had become much more westernized than others, and they had become more westernized in some ways than in other ways. Your essay should consist MOSTLY of discussion of particular ways that particular groups had or had not been affected by westernization. Please do not waste a lot of words on an overall definition of westernization, or on discussion of whether Japanese villagers, as a whole, had or had not become westernized. Please turn the paper in through Canvas.

September 16: Urban Life
>>> Gordon, pp. 98-116

September 18: The Growth of the Japanese Empire
>>> Gordon, pp. 117-141

September 20: Rural poverty
>>> Hane, pp. 103-136

September 23: Outcastes
>>> Hane, pp. 138-71

September 25: Poverty and Prostitution; begin the story of woman rebel Ito Noe
>>> Hane, pp. 206-225, 247-52

September 27: Women Rebels, continued
>>> Hane, pp. 252-292

September 30: Economy and Society
>>> Gordon, pp. 143-165

October 2: Coal Miners; review
>>> Hane, pp. 227-245

  TEST October 4

October 7: Politics and International Relations in the 1920s
>>> Gordon, pp. 166-186

October 9: The Depression and the rise of Japanese militarism
>>> Gordon, pp. 187-208

October 11: The Second World War.
>>> Gordon, pp. 209-22

FALL BREAK: No class October 14

October 16: The Second World War, continued
>>> Gordon, pp. 222-31
>>> Schlesinger, pp. 19-30

October 18, 21: The American Occupation of Japan
>>> Gordon, pp. 232-51
>>> Schlesinger, pp. 30-45

October 23,25: The New Japan
>>> Gordon, pp. 253-77
>>> Schlesinger, pp. 46-58
>>> Hane, pp. 295-320

October 28: Politics in the New Japan
>>> Gordon, pp. 278-300

October 30: Kakuei Tanaka and his political machine
>>> Schlesinger, pp. 59-90.

November 4: The Strange Victory of Kakuei Tanaka
>>> Schlesinger, pp. 91-125.

November 6: Tanaka in Power, Continued:
>>> Schlesinger, pp. 126-155

November 8: The Bubble of the 1980s
>>> Gordon, pp. 301-321

November 11,13: Japan in the 1980s; the changing international environment; The Second Generation of the Gundan
>>> Schlesinger, Part III

November 15: Major problems for the economy
>>> Gordon, pp. 322-36

November 18: The Gundan in decay
>>> Schlesinger, pp. 229-264

November 20: The possibility of political change?
>>> Gordon, pp. 322-329.
>>> Schlesinger, pp. 264-285

November 22: Aftermath
>>> Gordon, pp. 329-335.

THANKSGIVING: No class November 27, 29

December 2, 4: Japan since 2008
>>> Gordon, pp. 351-75.
>>> Matt Alt, Japan's Cute Army, New Yorker magazine, November 30, 2015.

December 6: Review

FINAL EXAM Tuesday, December 10, 8:00 a.m.


Other Links

Web site of the Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas

Clemson University Academic Success Center, which provides help and tutoring for students encountering academic problems. It does not, however, have tutors specifically for History courses.

The Nikkei 225, Japan's equivalent of the Dow-Jones Average.

Edwin Moïse's homepage

Regional geography


Revised August 19, 2019.