Academic year
2021/2022 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
NA003B (AF:365198 AR:195400)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Educational sector code
Summer course
Course year
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Due to the advancement of digital technologies, we now truly live in a global community. As a result, the barriers that were once limiting our access to information and content produced in other world regions have partially collapsed.
Researching, understanding, and critically assessing information generated in other areas has become a crucial skill for anyone working in a multicultural or international environment.

This course introduces essential aspects of the societies of Japan and South Korea. You will learn the tools to research these two countries' social and market phenomena. You will learn these tools while trying to answer a concrete question: what has made these two countries' cultural and industrial products so diffused and famous worldwide? We are overwhelmed by Japanese and South Korean cultural items, from the videogames to anime, from Pokemon to KPOP. What social and historical conditions have enabled the global expansion of their cultural industries?

This course is part of the "Asia: cultures, societies and markets
Minor" and targets students from multiple research areas and disciplines. At the end of the course, you will master a set of research skills, analytical skills, and critical thinking skills, which you will be able to bring back to your academic discipline and workplace.
At the end of the course you will be able to:

1) Search and gather information concerning the Japanese and South Korean society.
a. You will be able to discern between academic, journalistic, and governmental sources.
b. You will learn how to search for information using web-based tools.

2) Contextualize the data you found both synchronically and diachronically.
a. You will learn the geographical and historical context of these two regions.
b. You will be able to distinguish these two regions' social and market peculiarities.

3) Critically evaluate the data gathered and their hidden assumptions.
a. You will identify the limits of a eurocentric vision of the world.
b. You will be able to recognize what is an essentialist vision of culture.
Discussions will be conducted in Italian. Therefore, fluency in the Italian language is required.
English reading and listening skills are also required.
The course is divided into three sections 1) Geography and methodology, 2) introduction to contemporary society, 3) cultural industries.

1 Geography and methodology

1.1 What do we mean by "Asia"? What is "Orient"?
1.2 What representations have emerged about Japan within Europe and North American media?
1.3 Colonialism, imperialism and the Japan - Korea relationship: why are there two Koreas?

2 Contemporary society

2.1 The myth of the Japanese middle class
2.2 Gender (in)equality and sexual identities
2.3 Aging in Japan
2.4 Fukushima: nuclear energy and environmental crises
2.5 Covid-19: healthcare systems and political responses
2.6 Ethnic Koreans in Japan

3 Cultural industry

3.1 Anime, manga, and webtoon
3.2 Idols and KPOP
3.3 The gaming industry
3.4 Social media and the creator economy
3.5 Italian cultural products in Japan
Reading materials and slides will be provided in class.
Short tests will be held at each class to keep track of your learning achievements. These tests are not graded.
Moreover, at the end of each class, you will be required to write a short comment concerning the topics discussed. These comments are not graded.

The degree of your contribution in class will be graded.
You will be required to write a report on a topic of your choice.
You will also be required to discuss your report with the teacher.
Classes are held face-to-face.
Classes are designed following the principles of active learning methodology.
The course adopts multiple audiovisual materials, such as documentaries, youtube videos, films-texts, and other cultural products, and group activities and discussions will be held at each class.
Some of the topics will be introduced by guest speakers.
written and oral
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 02/07/2022