What will I study?
Your course structure
The Bachelor of Arts requires the successful completion of 24 subjects (300 points), including at least one major. Most students study eight subjects each year (usually four subjects in each semester) for three years full-time or the part-time equivalent.
Most Arts majors require 100 points of study (usually eight subjects) for attainment. The majority of Arts minors, including Japanese Societies, require 75 points of study (usually six subjects) for attainment. This means you have the opportunity to achieve two majors in your course as well as a minor. You’ll also complete breadth studies and other complimentary Arts subjects.
Completing your minor
If you are taking Japanese Societies as a minor, you must complete:
Level 1 (25 points)
- one core subject
- one elective subject
Level 2 (25 points)
- one compulsory subject
- one elective subject
Level 3 (25 points)
- one core subject
- one elective subject
Please view the Handbook for more detailed information.
Breadth is a unique feature of the Melbourne curriculum. It gives you the chance to explore subjects outside of Arts, developing new perspectives and learning to collaborate with others who have different strengths and interests — just as you will in your future career.
Some of our students use breadth to explore creative interests or topics they have always been curious about. Others used breadth to improve their career prospects by complementing their major with a language, communication skills or business expertise.
Explore this minor
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this minor.
Students must complete one subject from this list.
- Language and Power in Asian Societies 12.5 pts
This subject examines the intimate relationship between language and society in the historical and contemporary contexts of three internationally strategic regions: East Asia, insular Southeast Asia, and the Arabic world. It will explore recurring themes such as the relationship of language to power, hegemony and political struggle. the effect of nationalism on language. language as a means for creating social organisation and hierarchy. the relationship between minority and majority languages and cultures. and the role of the media, popular culture and literacy in contemporary linguistic and social relations.
- Asian Century: Meaning and Impact 12.5 pts
The emergence of Asia as a global economic force has instigated the discourse of the ‘Asian Century’ in international media and policy papers. This subject will examine to what extent this discourse is in line with developments in the real world, in whose interests the discourse is being used, and what its impact has been both inside and outside Asia. The subject will address the regions, issues and groups and individuals that are being included in the ‘Asian Century’ as well the people and problems that have generally been left out. Topics that are covered include politics, business, culture, society, class, gender, the media, migration and international relations.
Students must complete any Level 1 Japanese language subject (12.5 points) where it is not counted towards another major.
- Japanese 1 12.5 pts
This subject is designed for students with no Japanese learning background. Students will develop essential foundation of Japanese literacy in order to be able to engage in social events and situations in an appropriate manner, while drawing on their background knowledge in their first language. Students will be introduced to the two sets of Japanese syllabaries (hiragana and katakana) and around 60 kanji characters. Students will develop communication skills required to deal with initial social encounters (self-introduction and greetings), exchanging information on everyday life routines and surroundings, and activities in which they are likely to engage in establishing a new life in a foreign country (e.g. shopping, finding ways). Students will also develop skills to enable them to get by in everyday life in Japan. In addition, students will develop intercultural understanding through identification of common Japanese rituals and routines, reflecting on their own culture and comparing between them.
- Japanese 2 12.5 pts
This subject is designed for students who have successfully completed Japanese 1 or those who have similar experience. In this subject, students will establish basic Japanese literacy in order to be able to engage in social events and situations in an appropriate manner, while drawing on their background knowledge in their first language. Students will be introduced to around 100 new kanji characters. They will develop communication skills required to deal with giving and receiving information on people, places and events based on personal experiences. Students will also learn to engage in transactional activities such as requesting and offering, and responding to those. Students will develop literacy to communicate in Japanese effectively through basic narrative writing by recounting. In addition, students will develop intercultural understanding through identification of common Japanese rituals and routines, reflecting on their own culture and comparing between them.
- Japanese 3 12.5 pts
This subject is designed for students who have successfully completed Japanese 1 and 2, or Year 12 Japanese curriculum and can recognise around 150 kanji characters. In this subject, students will be introduced to around 100 new kanji characters. Students will develop skills to collect and use relevant information from published resources associated with history, travel and transport. Students will develop literacy through writing short informative area guides for a general audience. They will develop communication skills required to deal with giving and receiving gifts and favours, along with understanding of Japanese social norms such as reciprocity. Students will have opportunities to collaborate and interact with peers from different backgrounds. In addition, students will develop intercultural understanding through identification of common Japanese rituals and routines in giving gifts, suggestions and orders, then draw comparison between their own cultural practices.
- Japanese 4 12.5 pts
This subject is designed for students who have successfully completed Japanese 3 and can recognise around 250 Kanji characters. In this subject, students will be introduced to around 100 new Kanji characters. They will develop communication skills to deal with formal interaction genres such as service encounters and job interviews. Students will also be introduced to formal written correspondence genre, such as thank-you letters and emails using honorific expressions. Students will have an opportunity to conduct online research about the Japanese writing system, and engage in discussion and interaction with others to put intercultural communication into practice. Students will also have an opportunity to engage in peer-review and will interact with other students. In addition, students will develop intercultural understanding through identification of common Japanese methods and routines in expressing personal feelings, then draw comparison between their own culture.
- Japanese 5 12.5 pts
This subject is for students who already possess basic Japanese language skills and knowledge of Japan, and have completed Japanese 4 and can recognise around 400 Kanji characters, or those who have equivalent experience in Japanese. This subject provides a basic preparation for students to engage in academic research using Japanese. It aims to further develop students’ Japanese communication skills by examining the language of various registers and discourse. Students will also develop awareness of differences between and within spoken and written Japanese used in different situations. Students will have an exposure to various Japanese written texts of different genres such episodes, stories, essays, etc. to understand differences in their rhetorical structures (e.g., narrative, descriptive, and expository). Students will also have the opportunity to practice variations of spoken Japanese (colloquial, polite, formal) depending on the relationship between the participants of the conversations. Through class activities, such as discussions and a small research project, students will build further vocabulary and expressions, including around 150 additional kanji characters. In addition, students will develop interpersonal skills to present themselves appropriately in intercultural situations.
- Japanese 6 12.5 pts
This subject is for students who have completed Japanese 5 or those who have basic language skills and knowledge of Japan and can recognise around 500 kanji characters, or those who have equivalent experience in Japanese. This subject provides a preparation for students to engage in academic research using Japanese. It aims to further develop students’ Japanese communication skills through discussions and task-based collaborative work. Students will critically examine issues and phenomena prevalent in Japan from various perspectives. Students will have further exposure to various Japanese essays in different genres (e.g., survey reports, essays of critical and or analytical nature) to understand differences in their rhetorical structures. The subject covers wide ranging topics about Japan but they will be examined in global perspectives. Students will also have the opportunity to practise variations of spoken Japanese by applying Japanese honorific system rules to the situation, depending on the relationship between the participants of the conversations. Through class activities, such as discussions and a small research project, students will build further vocabulary and expressions, including around 150 additional kanji characters. In addition, students will further develop intercultural and interpersonal skills to create rapport to achieve positive outcomes.
- Japanese 7 12.5 pts
This subject is designed for students who have completed Japanese 6 and can recognise around 600 kanji characters, or those who have similar experience. This subject will enhance students’ academic literacy skills to conduct research related to Japan/Japanese. Students will establish advanced Japanese literacy and background knowledge in order to engage in international issues surrounding Japan. Students will develop understanding of various genres through reading, and discussing issues in modern Japanese society. Students will be engaged in a small scale research project on chosen topics by further investigating the issue and by writing an opinion piece and presenting it to the class. Through the research project they will develop their research skills and will equip themselves with critical literacy by analysing issues in question from various perspectives and participating in small group discussions.
- Japanese 8 12.5 pts
This subject is designed for students who have completed Japanese 7 and can recognise around 800 kanji characters, or those who have similar experience. It will enhance students’ academic literacy skills to conduct in-depth research related to Japan/Japanese. Students will establish advanced Japanese literacy and background knowledge in order to engage in international issues surrounding Japan. Students will develop understanding of various genres through reading, and discussing issues in modern Japanese society. Students will engage in a small scale research project on one of the chosen topics by further investigating the issue and by writing an opinion piece and presenting it to the class. Through the research project they will develop their research skills and will equip themselves with intercultural literacy by analysing issues from various perspectives and participating in group discussions. Additionally, students will also develop agency and critical perspective as a Japanese language user participating in the global community.
Students must complete this subject.
- Contemporary Japan 12.5 pts
This subject examines basic themes in contemporary Japanese society, as well as commonly used theoretical models. Topics for discussion include the tension between individuals and collective society; notions of regional, gender and age-based status identities and the effects of social change. Students are expected to think critically about current events in Japan and apply these ideas to their own culture and society.
Please note the overseas intensive offering is not available in 2021.
This subject is taught two times per year. It is available either as a semester-long subject taught on the Parkville campus or as an overseas subject taught at Hokkaido University, Japan. Enrollment in the overseas intensive option is by application and limited to a maximum of 20 students. The application deadline is 31 January 2020. Applications are not accepted after this date.
Students must complete one elective subject from this list.
- Media and Urban Culture in Asia 12.5 pts
This subject examines the media in Asian contexts. It will focus on the role of the media in creating and representing politics, social movements, popular expression and economic development. Students will develop an understanding of the interplay between the media and the dramatic changes that have occurred in Asia from the post-colonial and post World War II period through to Asia’s rise to economic, political and cultural prominence in the 21st century. Topics that will be examined include consumerism, identity, urbanisation, with particular emphasis on trends in film, television, music, fashion and urban lifestyle in East and Southeast Asia.
- Genders and Desires in Asia 12.5 pts
How are genders and desires imagined, performed, reproduced and contested in the diversity of societies and cultures of the Asian region? How does mobility and sociocultural change influence, or impact on everyday notions of gender within Asia, and in discourses about Asia? What is the influence of histories, religions, languages and media on gender and sexualities in the Asian region and Asian diasporas? This subject critically engages with gender and desire in relation to the Asian region by drawing on contemporary gender theories and a diversity of perspectives from the humanities and social sciences. Topics will cover the Asian region and diasporas, with a focus on languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese.
- Arts of East Asia 12.5 pts
This subject will introduce students to the mediums, genres, and vocabulary of pre-modern Chinese, Japanese, and Korean visual culture. Weekly lectures and tutorials will focus on either a specific medium (ink painting, calligraphy, ceramics, timber frame architecture, urban landscape, gardens) or a theme (tombs, Buddhism, Confucianism, genre painting, narrative painting) and through case studies, the political, social, and cultural factors that inform and shape works of art will be considered. The objects and sites under consideration will sometimes raise historical questions about the impact of one tradition upon the others, allowing us to see East Asia as a culturally connected macroregion; in other cases, the lectures will bring together works that require us to think critically about how we analyze and interpret the history of artistic production. Ultimately, this subject will provide students a foundation and framework to consider the history of East Asian art, as well as the tools by which to consider the dimensions and character of the common narratives applied to this history.
Students must complete one subject from this list.
- Social Problems in Japan 12.5 pts
This subject aims to prepare students for more specialised studies in Japanese society and culture. The subject offers interdisciplinary views of the political, economic, religious and cultural ideologies which foster inequality between different social groups in Japan. Students should become aware of the heterogeneous aspects of Japanese society, as well as the public and private institutions that deal with these issues, such as ethnicity, caste and disability. The subject will also include an examination of the relevant institutions (such as the family registry system, employment protection laws and social welfare programs) which promote or attack prejudice against heterogeneous social groups.
- Global Cultures of Japan and Korea 12.5 pts
This subject will move beyond simple comparisons between nation-states by looking at Japan and the Korean Peninsula as a regional space of historical overlap and cultural intersection. By critically examining cultural expressions such as literature, film, and television drama, this subject will analyse historical narratives and claims of legitimacy, the processes involved in the construction of “national” culture, as well as each country’s engagement with the broader international community. Lectures will focus on concepts as well as historical and cultural context, which will then be applied to the analysis of cultural texts during tutorial sessions.
Students must complete one subject from this list.
- Corruption in Asia 12.5 pts
Corruption is widely considered to be a major obstacle to sustainable economic and social development in Asia. This subject examines the notion of corruption and the analytical frameworks that scholars, policy-makers and activists have used to understand it. It also analyses the nature, magnitude, causes, and consequences of corruption within the region focusing on a set of case studies related to matters such as economic growth, public service provision, the rule of law, and environmental protection. The subject concludes by evaluating alternative strategies for combating corruption within the region.
- Asian Religions in Societal Context 12.5 pts
The subject explores the wide variety of Asian religious traditions, from examples of indigenous and folk traditions to analyses of the major world religions originating from Asia. Attention is given to Asian religion’s cosmologies and philosophy of life, their role as a normative foundation of culture and society, and their relevance to politics. Asian religion’s growing popularity in the West will be considered together with the growing influence of Islam and Christianity in Asia, charting historical processes of interaction between civilisations and the contemporary rise of global religions and identities.