Fiches de cours

Contemporary Japan I


Enseignant(s) :

Vogel Chevroulet Irène Elizabeth




This introductory course is an inquiry into the culture of Japan - its thought and way of life - that is designed to foster future study of the archipelago. It elucidates the specificities of a Japanese identity that is imbued with both tradition and openness to innovation.


Culture and thought as mirrored in cinema and anime

Specifics in four parts

Do ' The Way

Keys of understanding: Japanese society after the opening of Japan to the West at the end of the 19th century. 

Spirituality and martial arts: Akira Kurosawa's film Judo Saga (Sanshiro Sugata) 1943 

Introduction to Zen: traditional as in Japanese temples and in a contemporary global context.

Professional and private life

Several reflections on the lives of women and men from the postwar period to the present day

Examples of arranged marriage Yasujiro Ozu's film Banshun (Late Spring) 1949

Communication through a third party 


First examination: written answer to one thematic among five


Cool Japan ' Aging Japan: innovation and ethics

Animé and science fiction: Osamu Tezuka

From Hiroshima to Fukushima: questioning ethics in a nuclear context

Visualizing dreams: Satoshi Kon's animé Paprika 2006

Contemporary Japan

From technological visions to reality: 'Soul' in Japanese robotics, by Raphaël Holzer

Nature ' nurture ' Shinto as a social reinvigorator: Naomi Kawase's film An (Sweet bean) 2016



Second examination: research plan for the spring semester (individual or as a group)


Interculturality, Do, Shinto, Zen, arts, communication, robotics, food, nurture, innovation, ethics, cinema, anime

POLY-perspective :

Learning Prerequisites

Recommended courses

Japon Contemporain A BA5

Histoire de l'Asie contemporaine A BA3

Histoire de l'Asie contemporaine B BA6

Chine Contemporaine BA4

Economie de la Chine BA5

Chine: une nouvelle puissance globale? BA6

Introduction au monde russe BA6


Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

Transversal skills

Teaching methods

Fall semester: lecture and visiting speakers supervision (English/French) of the elaboration of a research plan

Spring semester: supervision of research, mini-colloquium, a memoir sample will be furnished to students

Expected student activities

Elaboration of an individual or group research plan, active participation, critical lecture of articles and books, working discipline and time management, writing skills

- Fall semester: written examination, research plan (two pages: title, issue, detailed plan, bibliography)

- Spring semester: abstract (300 words), participation to a mini-colloquium, memoir (4500 words)

Assessment methods

Fall semester: written examination (50%), quality of the research plan (50%)

Spring semester: oral presentation at the mini-colloquium (40%), memoir (60%)


Office hours Yes
Assistants No
Forum No



Bibliography will be furnished (see below), plus specialized resources on the moodle


' Fosco Maraini Japan Arthaud 1969

' Brian McVeigh Interpreting Japan Routledge 2014

' Keiko McDonald Reading a Japanese Film in Context Uni Hawai 2005

' Robert Elwood Introducing Japanese Religion Routledge 2008

' Kenzaburo Ôé Hiroshima: Notes Marion Boyars 1997


Ressources en bibliothèque

Dans les plans d'études

Semaine de référence

16-17  ELA2  
18-19  ELA2  
      Exercice, TP
      Projet, autre


  • Semestre d'automne
  • Session d'hiver
  • Semestre de printemps
  • Session d'été
  • Cours en français
  • Cours en anglais
  • Cours en allemand