2019 Japan Studies II

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Saito Hirofumi  Okazaki Naoaki  Minamide Yasuhiko  Bektas Yakup 
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Course description and aims

This course is specially designed for the Tokyo Tech Summer Program 2018 participants. It focuses on Japan (Nippon, 日本) mainly from the following aspects: Disaster management in Japan, site visits to advanced technology facilities; brief introductions to Japanese computer sciences, and the history and development of Japan's science and technology.
This course is intended to be a gateway for the summer program participants to gaining a basic understanding of culture, life, work, nature, technology and science in Japan. It aims to enhance students' motivation to learn more about Japan on their own.

Student learning outcomes

The Disaster management class will help students understand how Japanese people have established the self-protection technologies and measures against natural disasters.
The classes on the history of science and technology will help students better understand the background of Japan's rapid development in science and technology after the 19th century.


Japan, International exchange students, Disaster management, History of Japanese Science and Technology, Computer science

Competencies that will be developed

Intercultural skills Communication skills Specialist skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
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Class flow

May vary by instructor.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Japanese protection technologies against natural disasters. Understand how Japanese people have established the self-protection technologies and measures against natural disasters including earthquakes. What learnt at the class can be utilized by anyone regardless of the nationality in case of disasters.
Class 2 Artificial Intelligence for Communicating in Japanese. Understand the human capability of communicating with natural language through the state-of-the-art technologies of artificial intelligence.
Class 3 Computer Science Research in Tokyo Institute of Technology, including observation of the Tokyo Tech's supercomputer TSUBAME 3.0. Learn basic theory of computer science.
Class 4 History of Japanese science and technology Part1: The Beriberi Controversy in Meiji Japan. Understand various modes of "scientific explanation."
Class 5 History of Japanese science and technology Part2: The banning of fire arms in Edo Period. Understand the banning of fire-arms in the early Edo period as a unique example in the history of technology.
Class 6 Excursion to the Nissan Motor Yokohama factory Part 1. Submit a report paper.
Class 7 Excursion to the Nissan Motor Yokohama factory Part 2. Submit a report paper.
Class 8 Excursion to the Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI) Part 1. Submit a report paper.
Class 9 Excursion to the Port and Airport Research Institute (PARI) Part 2. Submit a report paper.
Class 10 National Diet Library tour. Understand the role of the largest library in Japan.
Class 11 Mini-Presentations (by students) Part 1. Students will present individual oral reports on what they learned themselves in the course.
Class 12 Mini-Presentations (by students) Part 2. Same as above.


Handouts will be given in each class or distributed electronically, online.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

For disaster management in Japan, refer to the following web-manual "Tokyo Bosai." It is translated in 9 languages.
For history of Japanese science and techonology: Noel Perrin, Giving up the Gun: Japan's Reversion to the Sword, 1543-1879, (1988), Alexander R. Bay, Beriberi in modern Japan : the making of a national disease (University of Rochester Press, 2012).

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis; based on attendance, written reports (essays), and a final presentation.

Related courses

  • LAW.X420 : Japan Studies I

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Only participants of Tokyo Tech Summer Program can take this course.

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