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Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2011
Coordinator(s)Assoc Prof Alison Tokita


Previously coded JST4100


This unit takes the form of a three-week program of study in Japan, which involves travelling from modern Tokyo, to sacred Ise, mysterious and syncretic Kumano, to traditional Kyoto and vibrant Osaka. The theme of pilgrimage is developed in this itinerary by going beyond a touristic appreciation, to quasi-religious visits to sacred sites. The cultural expression of religious practice and pilgrimage will be appreciated by attending theatrical and other performances, visiting museums and galleries, and interaction with local experts and practitioners of Japanese cultural forms.


On successfully completing this unit students will have:

  1. acquired a sound foundational knowledge of Japanese cultural history and its modern transformations
  2. developed an understanding of the cultural relationships between Japan and China and Japan and the West and the implications for Japanese uniqueness
  3. experienced first-hand the culture of religious pilgrimage in Japan and its manifestations in art and literature
  4. experienced the apparently contradictory nature of Japanese cultural forms, ranging from the refined to the kitsch and the popular consumer culture of comics and animation
  5. become more aware of their pre-existing conceptions through a direct encounter with Japan in an informed intellectual framework and thus enhanced their own self-understanding
  6. continued the development of their skills in the area of research and interpretation, intercultural communication, both oral and written, through the application of appropriate critical tools.


Travel diary-essay (2000 words): 50%
Research essay (2500 words): 50%

Contact hours

Three weeks (21 days) in January, with compulsory core activities for at least 33 hours. Some pre-departure lectures.

Off-campus attendance requirements

Three weeks in Japan during January, comprising site visits, informal tutorial instruction, and interaction with local experts and practitioners of Japanese cultural forms. Pre-departure lectures, and research project supervision after return.


One or two first-year core units in the Master of Asian Studies or other Master's degree program