Fall 2003 MW 4:25-5:50
Dr. Takashi Kanatsu
Hofstra University
Department of Political Science

This course is intended to raise students' interests on various issues that pertain to modern Japan. Emphasis will be placed on 1) the evolution of Japan as a modern nation-state since Meiji Restoration in 1868, 2) right wing ideology that shaped modern Japan and its opposition, 3) technology innovation and economic aspects as well as 4) party politics. This course is suited for political science majors as well as those who are interested social, cultural, and economic aspects of Japan. By the end of the course, students will gain the ability to provide sophisticated comments and analyses on the various aspects of the Japanese politics.

This course will provide comprehensive coverage of the significant aspects of the Japanese politics and society. The followings are some of the examples of the significance of Japan: the second largest economy in the world and the only Asian country that has been a member of Summit meetings (G-8); the only Asian country that attacked the soil of the United States in Dec. 1941; the only country that experienced the disastrous effect of nuclear weapon; the country that is known as a modern high-tech powerhouse as well as two thousand years of tradition; the country that is known for Zen spirit and honor as well as atrocities committed during the World War II; the country that is proud of the most peaceful Constitutional Law that renounced the war while holding one of the largest and most sophisticated military forces in Asia; the country with one of the largest US military presence in the world; the country still embraces the longest monarchy Emperor while maintaining democracy since the end of World War II; the country that cannot get rid of more than a decade of economic downturn. Students will learn these aspects via various multi-media and through intense and frequent in-class and Blackboard discussions.

Course Texts/Materials

All course readings will be in the required texts or on reserve (as hard copies or electronic reserve) in the Axinn Library. All texts are available for purchase from the Hofstra Campus Bookstore. Journal articles on reserve are listed under the author's name. Short selections from books (other than those from the required texts) are listed on reserve by the author of the book.

Required Textbooks

Louis Hayes, 2001, Introduction to Japanese Politics, 3rd Edition. (New York: M.E. Sharpe)

Recommended Textbooks (Chapters from these books will be assigned for courses.)

Maruyama, Masao. 1969. Thought and behavior in modern Japanese politics. New York, Oxford University Press.

Samuels, Richard J. 1994. "Rich nation, strong army": national security and the technological transformation of Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Friedman, David. 1988. The Misunderstood Miracle: Industrial Development and Political Change in Japan. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Johnson, Chalmers A. 1982. MITI and the Japanese miracle: the growth of industrial policy, 1925-1975. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.

Katz, Richard. 1998. Japan, the system that soured: the rise and fall of the Japanese economic miracle. Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe.

Krauss, Ellis S. 2000. Broadcasting politics in Japan: NHK and television news. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Bix, Herbert P. 2000. Hirohito and the making of modern Japan. New York : HarperCollins.

Dower, John W. 1999. Embracing defeat: Japan in the wake of World War II. New York : W.W. Norton & Co./The New Press.


This course uses point system. The maximum possible points, including bonus points, are 110 points. Any student who gains more than 90 will receive A grade. See below for the detail.

Class Participation (30 pts):

Class participation is a major component of a student's final grade in this course. The aim is to provide a stimulating classroom environment in which students engage directly with the material and learn through interaction with their peers and the professor. Students are expected to follow certain guidelines:

Students are required to attend class.

Students are expected to arrive on-time for class.

Students are expected not to disrupt the class discussion by talking among themselves in class, leaving the classroom during class hours, using beepers or cell phones or through other disturbances.

Students are expected to come prepared for class and complete the assigned reading before class in order to participate in class discussion.

Students are expected to contribute to class discussions.

Finally, students should respect the views of other students, even though they may disagree over issues.

Please note that more than TWO absences will significantly lower a student's final participation grade (the automatic deduction of five points, which is equivalent to one letter grade). Absences will only be excused with a doctor's note or funeral director's notice. A pattern of tardiness, disruptions and lack of respect toward fellow students will also significantly lower a student's final participation grade.

Presentations (30 pts):

Students are expected to make presentations on the topic of discussion in class. The number of presentation depends on the number of enrolled students. The details will be discussed in the first meeting.

Research Paper (40 pts)

Students must submit a research paper that focuses on a narrowly defined issue related to Japanese Politics. (10-15 pages, 12 font, double-spaced, typed) Students are encouraged to select the topic of the paper based on their interest(s). Papers will be graded on the substance of the paper, the research thoroughness and the presentation of the material. Students must discuss the topic and decide by Oct. 2nd and submit an outline and references by Nov. 1st. The research paper is due Dec. 11th (7:30pm or when I leave the office). Students must turn in a hard copy of your final paper. IN ADDITION, you must submit an electronic version of paper either via e-mail or via a disk.

All paper submission due dates will be STRICTLY ENFORCED.

  • Paper Topic: OCT. 8 (a hard copy 7:30pm: e-mail---midnight)
    --5points reduction from your final paper grade per day after the deadline

  • Outline & Reference: NOV. 10 (a hard copy 7:30pm: e-mail---midnight)
    --5points reduction from your final paper grade per day after the deadline

  • Final Paper: DEC. 10 (MUST BE a hard copy by 7:30pm EST)
    [Without a proper (official) document such as a doctor's letter, the professor WILL NOT ACCEPT any papers submitted after this deadline.]

The followings are the general guideline of your paper grade. (Note: Each paper differs tremendously and your points can be a combination of various aspects. This guide is just for your reference and does not guarantee any grade on a particular paper.)

  • 90 and above: superb, well constructed design, consistent argument, deep and through research, unique viewpoint etc.

  • 80 and above: consistent argument with a clear thesis, minor problems, some shallow, unsubstantiated arguments

  • 70 and above: overall consistent arguments, occasional structural problems, unclear

  • 60 and above: clear thesis, but arguments do not support your thesis. Contradiction etc.

  • 50 and above: major research input effort, but no effective thesis nor arguments

  • Below 50: at least you have written something...

All papers must include the sources of their material (either through footnotes, endnotes or internal citations). All quotes, paraphrases, statistics, figures and ideas of other scholars must be cited, including those from web sites. Papers must follow a standardized format. Papers should be typed, 1 inch margin, 12 pt. Font and well-written. For guidelines as to the format of citations, see the Hofstra Writing Guide. NO HAND WRITTEN papers will be accepted.

It is student's responsibility to understand the reasonable format of social science research paper. Although the instructor will explain the format briefly during the course, students are encouraged to consult the instructor individually as it is impossible to cover the detail during regular course hours. Another recommendation is to submit your paper draft at least two weeks before the deadline so that he/she has chance to edit before the final submission.

A student must submit BOTH a hard copy (paper) AND an electronics version (via e-mail or via disks). Although the late submission of the electronics version is acceptable, the official final grade will not be submitted until a few days after the submission of the electronics version. (Students will receive Incomplete (INC) grade until the electronics version is submitted.)

The professor encourages students to submit a paper a week or two earlier so that the paper can be improved. The professor might give students "TENTATIVE" grade for students' reference. HOWEVER, this tentative grade does not guarantee your final grade. For example, if the professor found any shortcomings such as a paper later with fewer pages than it was required, he retains the right to change any TENTATIVE grade. If you want to get a final grade before the deadline, please indicate clearly that it is your FINAL submission by writing on your Title Page. Final submission MUST be a hard copy, not an electronics version. The grade that the professor gives you on your FINAL submission will be honored.

It is student's responsibility to check the paper length. Shorter papers will be penalized regardless the quality of paper. Also, longer paper does not mean you are a good researcher and writer. Excessive long papers such as a forty-page paper will also be penalized.

Final Grading:

A: 90pts and above

A-: 85 and above

B+: 80 and above

B: 75 and above

B-: 70 and above

C+: 65 and above

C: 60 and above

C-: 55 and above

D+: 50 and above

D: 45 and above

F: below 45pts

Note: Hofstra University prohibits the professors to reveal your final grade to you in any manner but the following two methods. First, you can come and talk to me directly. Second, you can leave me a self-addressed, stamped envelope in my office. Professors cannot even send your grade via e-mail. Thank you for your understanding.

Class Policies

General Rule

By registering this course, the instructor considers that registered students have agreed to the policies described below. The class policies do not violate the department and university policies. Both the instructor and students discuss with sincerity should any dispute occur. These policies were not intended to restrict reasonable trust between the instructor and students. It would be ideal if we do not have to refer to these policies during and after the semester. If the instructor and students fail to agree, the dispute should be solved according to the department and university policies.

Policy Change

The instructor retains the right to change the policies at any time to improve the class management and to provide more effective teachings. Although the policy changes may be consulted with some or all students, the instructor retains the sole final decision making authority.

If such needs of change occur, the instructor will announce the policy changes in class orally and explain the changes on the Blackboard course page. It is student's responsibility to check the Blackboard.

It is also student's responsibility to make sure he/she understands the policy change. If a student is absent from a lecture or is late for a lecture, it is a student responsibility to confirm any change of policies by asking the instructor and/or classmates or by consulting class homepage.


Students are responsible to check e-mail every 24 hours. (By registering this course, you will receive all e-mail in your Hofstra e-mail account. However, you need to arrange mail forwarding if you want to receive e-mail in currently using non-Hofstra e-mail account such as AOL.)

Contacting the instructor regularly via e-mail is strongly encouraged. The instructor will try his best to respond to any questions and concerns within 24 hours.

By registering this course, you agree that you are responsible for any e-mail related problems except the problem related to Hofstra's e-mail system.

Deadline (Due Date)

Deadline means deadline. Although the instructor might provide some leniencies occasionally, it is not a rule but an exception. The instructor may occasionally provide reducing grades option for the late submission, which also should be considered an exception rather than a rule.

Deadline is determined assignment by assignment. If not specified in advance, deadline is the beginning of the class if there is a class on the date of deadline and at 7:30pm if the deadline is other than the regular class date.


The instructor considers the fairness to other students as the most important criterion to grant any special treatment to certain students. Therefore, any petitioner of special treatment such as the postponement of deadline should consider whether he/she is entitled to claim to other students, not to the instructor, that he/she deserves special treatment.

In general, the followings are considered good reasons of some limited special treatment: 1) absence due to the sickness supported by a written note from a medical doctor, 2) absence due to the death of relatives supported by funeral director's signed letter, 3) widely known natural or human created disasters of which reasonable documents are not obtainable.

Computer related problems, such as virus, printer's malfunction, the failure to back up documents, are NOT considered a good reason for special treatment. It is student's responsibility to maintain virus free computing environment and the backup of any important documents. Ask Hofstra's Computer Help Desk for guidance.

Ethical Standards

Students are required to uphold ethical academic standards in this course. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. All major offenders will be reported to the Provost's Office and face university action. Should any plagiarism occur, the instructor discusses the issue with a suspected student first and the graveness and the punishment will be determined.

Keeping Materials

A student is responsible to keep any documents such as graded papers, e-mail replies, mid-term exams from the instructor that prove her/his performance until he/she receives final grade. Those documents are the sole evidence that a student can use to claim her/his performance.


TWO absences are allowed without academic penalty. More than TWO absences without good reasons with supporting documents discussed above will significantly reduce the class participation points.

Those who leave the class during the session and those who are late for the session can be considered as absent under instructor's discretion. In general, students are required to stay in class at least the 2/3 of lecture hours.

Class Schedule and Reading Assignments

*Note: The reading assignments are tentative and can be updated during the course.









Sep. 3


Rule & Assignments/Overview

**VIDEO on Japan**




Sep. 8


Key Political & Economic Concepts



Sep. 10


Japan in the context of History & Geography

Hayes 3-10



Sep. 15

Japan Before Meiji

Feudal Japan

Hayes 11-16


Sep. 17

Meiji Restoration

Causes of Revolution

Hayes 17-19



Sep. 22

Meiji Government

Hayes 20-31


Sep. 24

Japan before WW II

Democratic Experiment, Nationalism & Militarism

Hayes 32-50

Mishima (ERES)

Maruyama Ch.5



Sep. 29

GHQ & Post-World War II

Dower Chs. 2,6,7


Oct. 1


Ideology: Left & Right

Maruyama Ch.2



Oct. 6



Oct. 8

Emperor & "Tennoism"


Maruyama Ch.1

Bix Intro.



Oct. 13




Oct. 15

Party Politics 1: 1955 System

Hayes 51-97



Oct. 20

Party Politics 2: Opposition Parties

Hayes 98-114


Oct. 22

Party Politics 3: Corruption

Hayes 115-133



Oct. 27

Movie: Bad Guy Sleeps



Oct. 29


"Rich Nation, Strong Army"

Samuels Chs.1-3



Nov. 3

MITI & Industrial Policy

Johnson Ch.1,2

Friedman Ch.1


Nov. 5

Bubble Economy & Current Struggle




Nov. 10



Hayes 169-172


Nov. 12

Movie: Shall We Dance? Shomu2



Nov. 17


Hayes 211-236


Nov. 19

Public Safety

Hayes 237-254



Nov. 24




Nov. 26





Dec. 1

Foreign Policy

US & Japan: Perry, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima

Hayes 286-312


Dec. 3

Movie: Tora Tora Tora, Black Rain




Dec. 8

US & Japan: Trade Dispute & Base

Tyson Ch.1, 7


Dec. 10

Japan in the 21st Century


FINAL EXAM: Monday, Dec. 15 4:00-6:00pm