History and Art History
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

HIST 357: Postwar Japan

HIST 357-001: Postwar Japan, 1945-Present
(Fall 2017)

East Building 122

Section Information for Fall 2017

During World War Two, Japan was locked in a desperate and brutal war against the United States. From Japan’s perspective, the war was a divine mission, an apocalyptic struggle to the very last man, woman, and child.  Meanwhile, America vilified the Japanese as an evil and sub-human race.  It was perhaps fitting that such a bitter war would conclude with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused horrific destruction the likes of which human beings had never before witnessed.

Most Japanese and Americans do not remember this struggle, nor can they appreciate the intense hatred created by it on both sides.  In a relatively brief fifty-year period, Japan has transformed itself from a despised international outlaw to a peaceful, “model” country and economic superpower.  How has this transformation occurred?  What have been the social and cultural effects of this transformation in Japan?  How do the Japanese see themselves, now that they have renounced their wartime identity?  The primary goal of this course will be to address these and other questions, particularly through the use of Japanese feature films from key moments in Japan’s postwar history.

Satisfies the general education requirement in global understanding.

Non-Western Culture

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Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

History of Japan from World War II to present. Examines Japanese experience of several key moments: Japan's defeat in Pacific War, reconstruction during U.S. occupation, rise to economic prominence during 1960s and 1970s, and cultural and international identity crisis during 1980s and 1990s. May not be repeated for credit.
Mason Core: Global Understanding
Specialized Designation: Non-Western Culture
Schedule Type: Lecture

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