• Offered by Department of Political and Social Change
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Non Language Asian Studies, Political Sciences
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course ASIA6031
This course will offer an introduction to the foundations of Japanese politics, with a special focus on the theme of state-society relations in contemporary Japan. The course will begin by analyzing the power structures and institutions that have underpinned the political world in Japan from the post-World War II era through to the present day. It will proceed to examine the workings of the Japanese government through contemporary issues pertaining to domestic and foreign policy and the role of civil society therein. Lectures and tutorials will feature topics such as relocation of the military base in Okinawa, the Fukushima disaster and nuclear energy, constitutional revision, and the “comfort women” issue.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Display thorough knowledge of key processes, transformations, and themes in contemporary Japanese politics.
  2. Develop comprehensive understanding of key scholarly debates on Japanese politics.
  3. Develop analytical reading skills through careful reading of relevant literature in the field of Japanese politics.
  4. Develop analytical writing skills in the field of Japanese politics through completion of written assessment tasks.
  5. Develop presentation and discussion skills in the field of Japanese politics through active participation in class debates and discussions.

Indicative Assessment

Seminar Attendance and Participation: 10% (LO 1, 2, 5)
Presentation: 10% (LO 1, 2, 5)
Mid-term Essay: 20% (LO 1, 2, 3, 4)
Research Essay: 30% (LO 3, 4)
Final Exam: 30% (LO 1, 2, 4)

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The course consists of a 1.5 hour lecture and 1.5 hour seminar per week. It demands seven hours of
independent preparation, including assigned readings, review of lectures, and written assessment tasks.
Some iterations of the course may incorporate group projects or other skills-based assignments.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed 36 units of university courses. Incompatible with ASIA6031

Prescribed Texts

An electronic reading brick will be provided

Preliminary Reading

J. A. A. Stockwin, Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Resurgent Economy (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell
Pub., 2008)
Louis D. Hayes. Political Systems of East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan (New York and London: M. E.
Sharpe, 2012), Chapters. 16-18

Indicative Reading List

Yoichi Funabashi and Barack Kushner, eds. Examining Japan’s Lost Decades (London, New York.
Routledge, 2015).
Louis D. Hayes. Political Systems of East Asia: China, Korea, and Japan (New York and London: M. E.
Sharpe, 2012)
Ronald J. Hrebenar and Akira Nakamura, eds. Party Politics in Japan: Political Chaos and Stalemate in the
Twenty-First Century (New York and London: Routledge, 2015)
Chalmers Johnson. MITI and the Japanese Miracle: The Growth of Industrial Policy, 1925-1975 (Stanford,
CA: Stanford University Press, 1982).
Jeff Kingston, ed. Critical Issues in Contemporary Japan (New York and London: Routledge, 2014)
T. J. Pempel. Regime Shift: Comparative Dynamics of the Japanese Political Economy, Cornell Studies in
Political Economy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998).
T. J. Pempel. "Between Pork and Productivity: The Collapse of the Liberal Democratic Party." Journal of
Japanese Studies (2010) no. 36 (2):227-254.
Frances M. Rosenbluth and Michael F. Thies. Japan Transformed: Political Change and Economic
Restructuring (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010).
Jacob Schlesinger. Shadow Shoguns (Stanford University Press, 1999).
Leonard J. Schoppa, ed. The Evolution of Japan’s Party System: Politics and Policy in an Era of Institutional
Change (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2011).
J. A. A. Stockwin, Governing Japan: Divided Politics in a Resurgent Economy (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell
Pub., 2008)

Assumed Knowledge

No prior knowledge of Japanese politics is required




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 1
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3420
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $4860
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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