• Prof. Dyron DABNEY, Political Science Department and the Institute for Education on Japan, Earlham College
  • Prof. Parissa HAGHIRIAN, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Sophia University
  • Prof. Tai Wei LIM, Senior Lecturer SIM University and Research Fellow Adj East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore
  • Prof. John Willis TRAPHAGAN, Department of Asian Studies, Anthropology, and Religious Studies, University of Texas at Austin
  • Prof. Kealoha Lee WIDDOWS, Department of Economics, Wabash College
  • Prof. Jonathan ZWICKER, Department of East Asian Language and Cultures, University of California, Berkeley
  • Prof. Karen Nakamura, Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
  • Prof. Toru Shinoda, School of Social Sciences, Waseda University

Courses Description

Business I
Japanese Business and Management

Prof. Parissa HAGHIRIAN

This introduction course presents Japan as a place of business and provides an overview on the main aspects of Japanese management. It discusses Japanese social and cultural concepts which form the base of the J-Firm and describes the Japanese business environment and consumer markets. Major points of discussion are production management, distribution, human resource, strategy and knowledge management within Japanese corporations. Students will investigate the topic in form of interactive discussions, case studies, a field project and a company visit.

Business II
Case Studies in Japanese Marketing and Management

Prof. Parissa HAGHIRIAN

This course focuses on strategic management of Japanese corporations and helps students develop strategic thinking in a Japanese market context. Students will learn about the particularities of the Japanese market by developing solutions for case studies of Japanese Fortune 500 companies. They will analyse firms, learn to deal with complex business situations in an international setting and can so train their analytical and sharpen their written and oral presentation competencies. Utilizing a teaching approach that mixes cases, class discussions and group workshops, students will learn key concepts and tools used in solving marketing and management problems of multinational Japanese corporations.

Culture I
Japanese Culture and Society

Prof. John Willis TRAPHAGAN

This course is intended as an introduction to the diversity of culture and lifestyles that exist in Japan. We briefly explore the concept of culture used in anthropology and then move to an application of that concept to the Japanese context. Our aim will be to develop a general understanding of the complexities of the Japanese experience by looking at elements such as kinship and family, internal migration and immigration, political organization, gender, aging and death, education, ethnicity, and identity. One significant aim of the course is to develop a deep understanding of the dramatic demographic change Japan is experiencing and how this is influencing life in rural (and urban) parts of the country. We will combine readings, lectures and critical discussion to think about ways in which the Japanese inhabit and contest cultural frames.

Culture II
Tourism and Japanese Culture

Prof. John Willis TRAPHAGAN

Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries internationally—one that often forms a key element in building local economies and expressing local and national cultural identities. Tourism also represents a complex cultural, economic, and political phenomenon that can have significant impacts on local communities and the environment. In this course we examine some of the anthropological approaches to studying tourism as it relates to Japan. We will explore the culture of tourism in Japan, attempts by local communities to develop tourist industries, and the role of religious sites as primary targets of tourist activities. There will be field trips to important tourist sites in Tokyo, including Yasukuni Shrine, and there may also be an opportunity for students to join a weekend trip to rural Japan, where we will explore a community developing a heritage tourism site.

Culture III
Japanese Popular Culture: Globalization, Cultural production / Consumption and Creative Ecology

Prof. Tai Wei LIM

This course is centered round an interdisciplinary area studies (specifically Japanese studies) approach to studying Japanese popular culture. It is divided into three main sections. For its conceptual and theoretical approach, the Japanese studies course employs area studies perspectives in ethnography, globalization studies, historical perspectives and cultural studies to examine the subject matter. In examining the ideas of globalization, the course critically looks at the ethnography and ecology of creative production. In terms of mechanisms of dissemination, it then examines how globalization facilitated the popularity and proliferation of Japanese ACG (Anime, Comics, Games) products.

Economics I
Encountering Tokyo: A Look at the History, Business, Politics, and Economics of the World’s Most Fascinating City

Prof. Kealoha Lee WIDDOWS

The primary text for this course is the great city of Tokyo. Largely burned to the ground in World War II, Tokyo rose from the ashes to become the largest metropolitan economy in the world and a global epicenter for finance, business, media, technology, and pop culture. Through a series of readings, moderated discussions, as well as class travel and field work to actively engage sites and institutions around the city of Tokyo, we will interrogate Tokyo’s recent history, current economic and political challenges, and the lifestyle of its residents through a multi-disciplinary lens.

Students who complete this course will have a broad understanding of Abenomics including its potential effect on the everyday lives of Tokyo residents; the recent history and complexity of Japanese politics and the prospect for policy reform; aspects of the daily lives of Tokyoites including transportation, food, and work; and the challenges of Japan’s aging population.

Economics II
The Changing Face of Japanese Retailing

Prof. Kealoha Lee WIDDOWS

Though long regarded as traditional or even backward by outsiders, Japanese retailing has demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to changes in the competitive landscape, consumer behavior, and internationalization during the so called “lost decades”. This course will introduce you to the many facets of Japanese retailing, from the opulent department stores to “combinis” to tiny mom-and-pop operations. We will investigate changes in the structure of the retail sector through lectures, class trips, readings, case study discussions on Uniqlo and 7-11, as well as individual fieldwork. A final group project will allow students the opportunity to apply creatively what they have learned to an aspect of Japanese retailing of particular interest.
Students who complete the course will have a broad understanding of the evolution of the retail sector and distribution network in Japan, as well as specific knowledge about retail trends and strategies for success in a deflationary environment and a changing global competitive landscape.

History I
The Contemporary History of Heisei Japan - An Area Studies Approach in Examining Historical Transitions in Postwar and Contemporary Japan

Prof. Tai Wei LIM

This course introduces class participants to selected issues and developments in contemporary Japan. It studies the crucial debates, challenges and trends that have shaped Japanese history, including developmental history, natural disaster recovery, environmental perspectives, demographics, culture and society. It does not pretend to be comprehensive but utilizes these selected issues to motivate class participants to analyze critically contemporary Japan from eclectic perspectives. Two focused cases studies, the Great East Japan Earthquake recovery as well as the demographic transition in Japan, will be discussed in the course. Embedded in the course are fieldtrips and video presentation for the experiential learning experience.

Literature and Art I
Tokyo on Page and Screen about modern fiction and cinema and the city

Prof. Jonathan ZWICKER

This course will explore depictions of Tokyo in major literary and cinematic works from twentieth-century Japan. We will examine films by directors including Mizoguchi Kenji, Ozu Yasujirō, and Kurosawa Akira, and fiction by writers including Higuchi Ichiyō, Natsume Sōseki, Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, and Dazai Osamu. Themes will include the changing nature of the city, how the experience of urban space shaped narrative techniques in fiction and film across the twentieth century, and how the experience of the city changes our own reading and viewing of the works.

Literature and Art II
Murakami Haruki and Miyazaki Hayao: the Politics of Japanese Culture from the Bubble to the Present

Prof. Jonathan ZWICKER

This course will examine the works of the novelist Murakami Haruki and the animator Miyazaki Hayao within the context of contemporary Japanese aesthetics and history. Both Murakami and Miyazaki debuted in 1979 and their work has very much defined Japan’s cultural experience from the tail end of the Era of High Growth Economics through the Bubble Era, the Lost Decade, and into the twenty‐first century. Students will explore the works of these two figures in the context of the history of Japanese literature and film and its relation to larger political, social, and cultural trends of Japan from the 1980s to the present.

Politics I
Contemporary Japanese Politics

Prof. Dyron DABNEY

Japan remains a critical democracy among nations in Asia, yet its political history and makeup remain largely unknown to many Westerners. Students will ascertain a deeper appreciation for the institutional features of Japan that shape their political attitudes and political outcomes. By the completion of this course students also will comprehend the important domestic socio-political issues of Japan, and will acquire a fundamental understanding of the political history and political development of modern Japan.

This course offers an overview of the political structure and institutional processes of postwar Japan. The course begins with a historical narrative of Japan’s war and early postwar years, and continues with in-depth, critical inquiries into contemporary government and politics in Japan, including the Japanese decision-making bodies, electoral and party politics. Within the context of the political institutions, this course surveys Japanese political culture and society. An important objective of the course is to showcase political pluralism and democracy from a Japanese (i.e. non-Western) lens and context.

It is important to stay abreast of the day to day social, economic and political events in Japan available through any number of media sources. To that end, discussions about current political events will take regularly in class.

Politics II
Global Issues and Political Controversies in Japan and Asia

Prof. Dyron DABNEY

This course is an introduction to the study of international relations within the context of Asia-Pacific politics and Japanese foreign policy. Past, present and emerging transnational and transregional issues will be examined by way of public policy action/inaction. This is an overview of international relations theory, political culture, political institutions and political regimes, especially democratic development, state-to-state and regional conflicts and cooperation, and national identity and nationalism.

The course is equal parts lecture and discussion. Critical to extracting the most out of this course is being informed about the day to day social, economic and political news stories in the Asia-Pacific region available through any number of media sources. To that end, regular in-class discussions on current political events in the Asia-Pacific region will serve to connect the dots to themes and concepts introduced in course. Supplementing in-class instruction will be tours of political and politicized sites, such as the Japan’s National Diet and Yasukuni Shrine, to name a few.

Sociology I
Exploring Queer and Crip Studies perspectives on sexuality and disability

Prof. Karen Nakamura

Queer Studies and Crip Studies are emerging intellectual fields that critique social categories of sexuality and disability. This course will explore the history of these interdisciplinary movements and their impact, especially within the field of Japan Studies and Japan anthropology.

Interdisciplinary I
Working Japan: From comparative, global, and comprehensive perspectives

Prof. Toru SHINODA

Why is Sen in Hayao Miyazaki's globally popular film, Spirited Away, working so hard?
This course explores the world of working Japan. In other words, we wander physically, imaginarily, and intellectually around varieties of scenes in which diverse Japans and people in them have been working. Through the interdisciplinary approaches, we conceive ideas of working not only in the Japanese contexts but also ultimately in your countries’ ones, and hopefully in universal one.

Japanese Language Courses

Either one of the following skill-based subject classes can be taken as optional during the Summer Session.

- Talk in Japanese I Syllabus
- Talk in Japanese II Syllabus
- Talk in Japanese III Syllabus

  • *The numbers after the subject names are associated with the Japanese proficiency level as follows.
  • *You will be assigned according to the result of the placement test.

Japanese Language Courses

Course Schdules

Coming Soon.


4 credits for 2 courses (Required)
Choose 2 courses out of 14 courses

1 credit for Japanese language course (Optional)

Grading Policies

Grading Policies

The student's academic performance is assessed according to four different criteria: class participation, attendance, assignments and exams. Each professor, however, may prefer a different attendance policy, and in such case, students should follow the professor's guidelines. Generally, course performance is graded on the following 100-point scale:

90-100 A+
80-89 A
70-79 B
60-69 C
0-59 F

Grading is professor's authority and privilege that the Summer Session office cannot interfere with.

Credit System and Transfer

Credit System

Students can earn 2 credits through 1 regular course. Each class is 90 minutes long and held 15 times. This means that it is necessary for students to attend each course for a total of 22.5 hours (1350 minutes (90×15)) to earn 2 credits.

Credit Transfer

Waseda University will issue an official academic transcript for the participants. We will send it to the designated address around the middle of September. Students who wish to transfer the Summer Session program credits are advised to consult with the appropriate academic authorities at their home institutions in advance, whether or not the home institutions are Waseda's exchange partners. The home institution's academic advisors decide whether a particular Waseda Summer Session course may be applied towards the major or elective requirement. Students usually refer to the uploaded syllabus on our Waseda Summer Session website to determine credit transferability to their home institution.

Extracurricular Activity

Extracurricular Activity

Field Trips

Summer Session students will take a trip with Waseda students to places of cultural and historic interest around Japan. Make new friends and learn more about Japan at the same time!

Themed fieldworks, ranging from half-day to longer periods, will also be organized for some classes by the faculty.

Student Interns' Event

Our Student Interns will organize some events for participants. You will learn more about Japan with them.

Visitor Sessions

Summer Session students will have opportunities to socialize with Waseda students over discussions on various topics.