Hujapan 2018 group pic

Honors Seminar in Japanese and Korean Studies

This seminar is designed for third year students majoring in Japanese Studies and Korean Studies. It offers these students to learn about political and cultural connections between Japan and Korea in modern times with a particular focus on effects of Japanese colonialism and the Pacific War on Koreans and Japanese. Japan and Korea are major players in contemporary East Asia that influence global economy, politics, and security; and it is important to understand their relations from a comparative and historical perspective in order to enhance our knowledge about their culture and society.

The seminar provides historical background to the Korea-Japan relations in political, economic, and cultural contexts with a special focus on local and national identity in Cheju Island in South Korea and Okinawa in Japan. The seminar is reading-intensive and it is expected that students participate in the class discussions and debates actively.

Some of the critical questions students will grapple with are: how did the Japanese colonialism affect the lives of people in Okinawa and Cheju Island? What was the decolonization process in South Korea and Japan like after the war? How do people in Okinawa and Cheju try to maintain their cultural identity? What is the role of Cheju and Okinawa in South Korea and Japan’s regional security? How have the stories about the people in the two places been constructed? How are their stories about ethnicity, culture, and history different from that of the ‘mainland’ history? How could their narratives expand our perspectives on modern histories of Japan and Korea?