• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Non Language Asian Studies, History, Asian Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Simon Avenell
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Semester 1 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. On-campus activities may also be available.

This course traces the history of Japan from the 17th century to the present, examining the dynamics of the early modern period (Tokugawa era), the Meiji revolution, the political, social and economic transformations of the early 20th century, the tumultuous 1930s and 1940s, and the dynamics of the post-1945 era.  Thematic issues to be covered include nation- and empire-building, state-society relations, total war and defeat, the Allied Occupation, Japan in the Cold War, socio-economic and demographic change, intellectual developments, and Japan’s international relations. A key emphasis of the course will be to understand and to position Japan in wider regional and global processes. The course will focus closely on the approaches historians have employed in studying Japan’s modern history.  In other words, what social and political theories have historians deployed and why? How have these approaches changed and/or enriched our understanding of modern Japan? The course will pay close attention to some of the ongoing controversies and debates in the historiography of modern Japan.  Students will be expected to think critically about both the history of Japan and the approaches historians have adopted. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Display thorough knowledge of key processes, transformations, and themes in Japan's modern history.
  2. Develop comprehensive understanding of key scholarly debates on Japan's modern history.
  3. Develop ability to critically examine primary source documents from Japan's modern history.
  4. Develop analytical reading skills through careful reading of relevant secondary literature in the field of Japanese history.
  5. Develop analytical writing skills in the field of Japanese history and historiography through completion of written assessment tasks.
  6. Develop presentation and discussion skills in the field of Japanese history and historiography through active participation in class debates and discussions.

Other Information

This is a co-taught course. Any cap on enrolments in one course applies to both courses combined.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Seminar Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,6]
  2. Historiography Analysis (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Research Essay (35) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Final Exam (35) [LO 3,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course consists of a 1.5 hour lecture and a 1.5 hour seminar per week. It demands seven hours of independent preparation, including assigned readings, review of lectures, and written assessment tasks. Postgraduate students will be expected to complete an independent study project and make a class presentation.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ASIA2009.

Prescribed Texts

Allinson, G., 'The Structure and Transformation of Conservative Rule', in Gordon (ed) Postwar Japan as History, UC Press, 1993
Hane, M., Modern Japan: A Historical Survey, Westview Press, 1986
Gordon, A. ed., Postwar Japan as History, University of California Press, 1981


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2022 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3686 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In-Person and Online N/A

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