Culture, Society and History of Japan

168 TUTOR: Richard Guppy

This course is for students seeking a holistic understanding of Japan, beyond media highlights and sound-bites, either as preparation for visiting Japan or as pure cultural learning. We delve into how Japanese society came into being, progressed through the ages, and how it operates today. We cover Japanese culture including multiple strands of art, music and theatre; how Japanese society formed over the centuries and how it functions today; the political and economic development of Japan; religion in Japan; and the major issues facing Japanese people now and in the future.

3 AM
AM course

Course Notes

This course can be taken as an entirely stand-alone adventure, or alongside Summer School courses dealing with Japanese language and the practicalities of visiting Japan. It aims to provide a deeper dive into where the Japan of today has come from, and a broad survey of what makes Japanese society the way it is today. The course will include visual and audio material.Written material presented during the course will be available online after the course is completed.

During the five half-days we shall explore:

-The major historical periods of Japan such as Jomon, Yayoi, Yamato, Edo, Meiji, Taisho; and the Japanese economy pre- and post-WW2 which will provide a foundation for other topics

-Japanese art such as calligraphy, Sumi-e, Ukiyo-e, Nihonga, manga, anime

-Music such as Gagaku, Shamisen, Enka, Taiko, jazz, J-Pop

-Performing arts such as Tea Ceremony, Ikebana

-Crafts such as pottery, paper

-Sports such as Sumo, Judo, Karate

-Theatre such as Kabuki, Noh, Bunraku, Manzai, Rakugo

-Foods such as Sushi, Sashimi, rice, noodles

-Politics including post-war reconstruction, major modern parties

-Religion including Shinto, Buddhism, Christianity

-Societal issues such as aging, employment, birth-rate, crime, work ethic, wealth

-High functioning societal aspects such as safety, functionality, orderliness, health


Students are not required to bring any material other than pen and paper.



Course Tutor

Richard Guppy

About Richard

Richard Guppy is a living specimen of a Westerner who has come to love Japan and its very different and beautiful customs and landscapes. A graduate in modern languages of Merton College at Oxford University, Richard is now retired after a career in global competitor intelligence in major electronics and telecoms companies. Together Richard and Wakako offer a comprehensive preparation for visiting Japan based on their own experience and expertise.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 8 Jul - 12 Jul

WK 2 15 Jul - 19 Jul

WK 3 22 Jul - 26 Jul

WK 4 29 Jul - 2 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM