Built Japan: Places, architecture and heritage (Japan Studies Content Course 3) (E24)

Course content

This course will approach modern and contemporary Japanese society and culture by analyzing select portions of the built environment in Japan. Through a close analytical focus on a handful of very famous sites – iconic buildings, neighborhoods, and local communities across Japan – we will disentangle layers of meaning and social practice, proceeding from the history of Japanese architecture and spatial organization to locally and spatially embedded forms of social life and meaning-making. Among the questions we will address are: what is the connection between authenticity and cultural heritage in Japan? How are legacies of colonialism, militarism, and postwar prosperity and pacifism materially manifested and traceable in buildings and monuments? How are contemporary art and architecture used to revitalize rural communities, and how do urban environments shape social interaction and subcultural formations in Japan’s megacities? The course will take us from industrial ruins to urban sprawl, from urban neighborhoods to sacred sites, and from historical monuments to art museums. Engaging with the historical and ethnographic literature, we will train our critical and analytical skills, develop systematic reading skills and train our ability to read “beyond the facts” to identify textual layers and critically reflect on research questions, methods, and arguments in the course readings.


Bacheloruddannelsen i asienstudier (japanstudier) 2019, BA-tilvalg



Learning outcome

Bacheloruddannelsen i asienstudier (japanstudier) 2019
Japanstudier realia 3 (Aktivitetskode: HJAB00991E)
Japanstudier realia 2 (Aktivitetskode: HJAB00981E)


Bachelortilvalg i japanstudier, kinastudier, koreastudier (asienstudier) og moderne Indien og sydasienstudier 2019 Japanstudier realia A: (Aktivitetskode: HJAB10211E)
Japanstudier realia B: (Aktivitetskode: HJAB10221E)

Exchange students BA level
Japan Studies Content Course B (HJAB10221E)

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assessment

Academic targets

At the examination, the student can demonstrate:

Knowledge and understanding of

important processes or significant problems in specific periods of the history, society or culture of the country/region studied.

the position of studied country/region in a historical and contemporary context in interaction with the outside world.

important institutions and structures of importance to history, society and culture in the area studied. 

Skills in

identifying, delimiting and applying relevant academic literature and other source material.

correctly using notes, references and bibliography.

critically assessing scientific literature and the empirical material in their research context.

Competencies in

navigating sources for understanding the history, society or culture of the country/area studied.

adopting a critical, reflective and analytical approach to a specific topic.

applying research methods and theories relevant for a specific topic to analyse the topic in a critical way

Written communication.


The take-home assignment is written on the basis of 1,200 standard pages of academic literature. A bibliography of pages read and a specification of the topic must be enclosed with the synopsis. 

The bibliography and topic/problem formulation must be approved by the examiner and enclosed with the take-home assignment. The examiner may decide that the literature used in the instruction must be included in whole or in part.

The time of the signing of the bibliography is to be agreed between the student and the examiner.

For group exams with two participants, a minimum of 1,800 standard pages are required, and with three participants, at least 2,400 standard pages of academic literature.

Teaching and working methods

The teaching and working methods may include both combinations of lectures and exercises with the active involvement of the students, e.g. in the form of a student presentation or a paper on a delimited assignment, as independent study combined with individual supervision.


Exam provisions

Form of exam: Take-home assignment, optional subject.

Scope: 16-20 standard pages.

Assessment: Internal exam with a single examiner with assessment based on the 7-point grading scale.

Regulations for group exams: The exam can be taken individually or as a group (max. 3 students) with individual assessment. If several students work together on an assignment, each participant’s contribution must constitute a distinct unit that can be identified and assessed separately. The joint part must not exceed 50% of the total.

Take-home assignments for group exams are: 24-30 standard pages (2 students) or 32-40 standard pages (3 students).

Exam language(s): Danish or English.

Permitted exam aids: All.

Make-up exam/resit: Conducted in the same manner as the ordinary exam.

Special provisions: The topic of the take-home assignment must be approved by the examiner and differ from topics covered by other realia subjects.




Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • English
  • 412,5


Course number
See exam description
Programme level
Bachelor choice

1 semester


Dette er et dagkursus via tompladsordningen mod betaling på Åbent Universitet. Tilmeld dig og se aktuel prisoversigt på denne side.

Se skemalink nedenunder
Study Board of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Contracting department
  • Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator
  • Jens Sejrup   (6-76686d757873436b7870316e7831676e)

Jens Sejrup, sejrup@hum.ku.dk

Saved on the 15-03-2024

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Courseinformation of students