Religion and Japanese Culture - RSST6480

Looking for a different module?

Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module explores the cultural specificity and diversity of Japanese culture, traditions, social and political systems and literature from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The topic of Japan will be approached on a thematic basis but with particular emphasis on an understanding of the historical and interpretive challenges to inter-cultural understanding between Japan and Europe/the West.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 30

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (1,500 words) – 20%
Essay 2 (2,000 words) – 30%
Examination (three hours) – 50%

Indicative reading

de Bary, W. Th (2000), Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol 1, New York: Columbia University Press.
de Bary, W. Th (2010), Sources of Japanese Tradition, Vol 2, New York: Columbia University Press.
Earheart, H. Byron (2014), Religion in Japan: Unity and Diversity, 5th Edition, Boston: Wadsworth.
Josephson, Jason (2012), The Invention of Religion in Japan, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Tanaka, Stefan (1995), Japan's Orient: Rendering Pasts into History, London and Berkeley: University of California Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module, Level 5 students will be able to:

- Demonstrate an understanding of and be able to examine a range of Japanese traditions associated with the category of religion, including Buddhism and Shinto;
- Examine a key concept, idea, theme or practice occurring in Japanese traditions;
- Demonstrate an appreciation of the problems of translating Japanese culture, traditions, practices and concepts into a western interpretive framework and language, for instance the problems of using terms like 'religion' and 'philosophy' or western notions of 'literature' in relation to Japanese contexts.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
Back to top

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.