Examining Equality and Equity through the Examinations of Japanese Society in the Edo Period and Meiji Period (JPN4302.01)

Ikuko Yoshida

In this low-intermediate course students will learn and examine Japan’s drastic social changes during the Edo period and the Meiji period to investigate what equality and equity meant to Japanese people. During the Edo Period (1603-1868), Japan closed its doors to other countries for about two hundred fifty years, and this isolation helped Japan develop its own unique culture. It, however, ended in 1867 when Japanese culture was introduced to the Western world at an International Exposition in Paris. On the contrary to the Edo period, the next era, Meiji, brought rapid modernization to Japanese society. What caused Japan to close its doors to other countries in the Edo Period? Was there a social hierarchy that existed in Japan? If so, how was it organized? What was happening in Japan during the isolation period? What caused Japanese leaders to change their minds to reopen the country? How were the ideas of equality and equality perceived by Japanese society during those periods? What can modern Japanese and US societies learn from Japan’s social changes during the Edo and the Meiji periods?

In this course, students not only will practice linguistic skills, but also will obtain a deeper understanding of equality and equity through the examination of Japanese history and society. Students will seek the answers to the questions above by studying the historical events of the Edo Period (1603-1868) and the Meiji Period (1868-1912) through the examinations of various Japanese arts such as paintings, pictures, and VR video clips. Conducted in Japanese.


Learning Outcomes:
Learning Outcomes:
Students will be able to
①. Examine equality and equity from the Japanese point of view.
②. Analyze, hypothesize, synthesize, and reflect on obtained information and discuss and present their thoughts and ideas in a culturally appropriate manner.
③. Engage and communicate with their classmates respectfully and collaboratively.
④. Embrace cultural differences.


Delivery Method: Hybrid
Prerequisites: Two terms of Japanese or permission of the instructor (email iyoshida@bennington.edu).
Corequisites: CSL Series
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 8:30AM - 10:20AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Once a year

Categories: Japanese , Hybrid , All courses
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