HJAB0109EU Built Japan: Places, architecture, and heritage (Japan Studies Content Course 3) (E22)

Volume 2022/2023

Curriculum for BA elective program in Japanese Studies, 2019

Curriculum for MA program in Japanese Studies, 2019



This course will approach modern and contemporary Japanese society and culture by analyzing select portions of the built environment in Japan. Through a close analytical focus on a handful of very famous sites – iconic buildings, neighborhoods, and local communities across Japan – we will disentangle layers of meaning and social practice, proceeding from the history of Japanese architecture and spatial organization to locally and spatially embedded forms of social life and meaning-making. Among the questions we will address are: what is the connection between authenticity and cultural heritage in Japan? How are legacies of colonialism, militarism, and postwar prosperity and pacifism materially manifested and traceable in buildings and monuments? How are contemporary art and architecture used to revitalize rural communities, and how do urban environments shape social interaction and subcultural formations in Japan’s megacities? The course will take us from industrial ruins to urban sprawl, from urban neighborhoods to sacred sites, and from historical monuments to art museums. Engaging with the historical and ethnographic literature, we will train our critical and analytical skills, develop systematic reading skills and train our ability to read “beyond the facts” to identify textual layers and critically reflect on research questions, methods, and arguments in the course readings. The course ends with an exam essay aiming to combine such skills and concerns with newly acquired topical knowledge.

Learning Outcome

BA 201-studieordning:
Japanstudier realia 3 (Aktivitetskode: HJAB00991E)

BA-tilvalg 2019-studieordning:
Japansk Realia A (aktivitetskode HJAB10211E)
Japansk Realia B (aktivitetskode HJAB10221E)
Japansk Realia C (aktivitetskode HJAB10231E)


To be announced.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • Total
  • 412,5
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment