During the Edo period (1600-1867), Japan closed its doors to other countries for about two hundred fifty years, and this isolation helped Japan develop its own unique culture. However, it ended in 1867 when Japanese culture was introduced to the Western world at an International Exposition in Paris. Contrary to the Edo period, the next era—the Meiji—brought rapid westernization to the Japanese society.
What caused Japan to close its doors to other countries in the Edo Period? What was going on in Japan during isolation period? Which of the unique Japanese art forms were created during the Edo period? What caused Japanese leaders to change their mind to reopen their country? What types of westernization happened in Japan during the Meiji period?
In this course, students will seek the answers to the questions above by studying the historical events of the Edo and Meiji periods. By examining various Japanese paintings, students will analyze how one event in history can have reverberations both within Japan and throughout the world. As students examine the western influences on Japanese society and the Japanese influences on Western society. They not only will practice linguistic skills, but also will obtain a deeper understanding of the Japanese history and society.
As the final project of this course, students are required to present their understandings of 19th-century Japan and of how ideas and concepts, which are specific to one culture, travel and get adopted by another culture.