Japan is known for its unique culture and way of living. Also, it has been well-known for its insular character and closedness in the course of history. However, the recent trade agreement between Japan and the EU as well as the growing openness in fields of education and economy shows clearly how global forces impact countries in enabling mutual exchanges and understanding. Because of that, Japan is an intriguing example for finding answers to the following questions - how to maintain country’s unique culture, but at the same time be open to cooperation and internationalization? How does the country see oneself and one’s neighbours? And how does one implement certain conceptions into politics, education and literature?
The summer school in August is addressing these questions by using the example of Japan. At the same time, we encourage students in seminars and discussions to reflect on their own countries’ examples.
There are several definitions of open and closed society that are currently in use. In the summer school, we will discuss the commonalities and differences of them. However, as concepts we originate from Karl Popper thoughts by which we can say that in open society individuals are confronted with personal decisions, critical thinking and freedom of expression, not with commands from tribal or collectivist society. Also, open society is linked with cultural and religious pluralism and is always open to improvement. To the contrary, closed society is very much on the spot, claiming to have found the ultimate truth about rule of law and reality. Critical thinking of its members is not needed, as there is no room for development.
The program takes an interdisciplinary look at fields of politics, history, education, and literature. Together with students we want to discuss in how far the concepts of closedness and openness are applicable to societies, and where do we move in the light of recent global developments.Methods of the summer school:
The focus of this summer school is on the personal development of the participant. Therefore, we take into account participants needs of development and wishes as much as possible. We use different methods to create interactive learning environment - reflecting lectures, group and individual tasks are some of them. By the time of the application, students are requested to write 3 questions or topics they would like to discuss or focus on during the summer school.
As a result of the summer school we hope to motivate students for further exchange of thoughts, promoting their knowledge about Japan and initiate the possibility of publishing a short article in an academic journal in English on topics related to Japan. Organizers will support students in their idea creation and writing process. This opportunity gives students the experience in writing an academic paper as well as a visible outcome of the summer school discussions.
Applications are evaluated based on
Motivation letter (up to 1.5 page) that demonstrates the applicant’s motivation to participate, explains his/her expectations about the programme and how participation in the summer programme is connected with his/her studies and interests, and how the applicant plans to use the gained experience and knowledge in the future.
As the focus of this summer school is on the personal development of the student, all the participants are requested to add 3 questions or topics of interest they would like to discuss or focus on during the summer school.
Level: BA and MA
Credits: 2 ECTS
Time: 10–16 August; 2019
Programme fee: 350€ includes tuition, cost of the study visits, cultural and social programme and services of the host university.
Students are responsible for their accommodation, travel and travel insurance (visa arrangements, if needed) from their home country to Tartu and back to their home country.
Please note that this is a preliminary programme.
Arrival of participants. Introduction to the summer school.
Group work: workshop
Closeness and openness in modern world: case of studies of different countries and cultures
Welcome dinner and team building
Overview of the historical closedness of Japan: from medieval ages up to the end of WW II
Workshop on historical issues
Influence of historical closedness on Japanese culture and society in modern times: 20th century up to present
Reflections and discussions, group work
Development of Japanese universities – from open institutions to closed institutions?
“Multicultural” on Japanese campuses/ in Japanese education
Students and work/ job-market (discussing aspects of migration and education)
Reflections, discussions, group work
Issues of immigration and foreigners in present Japan
Workshop on topic of immigration and foreigners
Japan and its neighbours
Reflections and discussions, group work
Gathering, hike to the camping site
Teaming up, work with presentations
Work with presentations in teams
Presenting ideas, discussion
Reflection of summer school, group photo, ending words
Hike back to the university
Please note that the programme is being finalized and more information will be added.
Eva Liias studied Japanese studies, Chinese studies and linguistics at Tübingen University and completed her PhD in Japanese studies at the Free University Berlin in 2018. She is interested in education and developments of the job-market in Asia, women in Asian societies and language policies. Her dissertation research focused on higher education reforms and internationalization in Japan. While working on her PhD she was a guest researcher at the University of Tokyo. Prior to the recent studies in Berlin and Tokyo she worked three years at the Qingdao University of Science and Technology in China.
Ene Selart is a junior researcher of media studies at the Institute of Social Studies. Her research topics are media history (image of Japan in Estonian media) and diplomatic relations between Estonia and Japan. She is teaching the courses of Japanese history and history of Estonian journalism.
Read more about Ene here: https://www.etis.ee/CV/Ene_Selart/est
Yorimitsu Hashimoto is the professor of comparative literature at the School of Letters in Osaka University. He is specialized in the fields of Anglo-Japanese Relations, Japonisme and the Yellow Peril in Britain. Prof Hashimoto’s recent edited books include: Caricatures and Cartoons, 1921-1930, 3 volumes (Tokyo: Edition Synapse, 2018), Oshu Koro no Bunkashi [A Cultural History of Japanese Ocean Liners] (Tokyo: Seikyusha, 2017).
Please note that this is preliminary list and more lectures will be added.
The Asia Centre at the University of Tartu coordinates and develops research and teaching of Asian studies as a cooperation network between faculties. The aim of the Asia Centre is to make the Asian studies at the University of Tartu more visible and more beneficial for the society by arranging prestigious research events, developing the existing study modules, offering in-service training courses and popularising the acquired knowledge actively in the public. The Asia Centre at the University of Tartu attempts to involve all researchers, institutes and projects that deal with Asian themes in a broader or narrower sense into a cooperation network. The Centre forms a joint platform for these activities by uniting researchers within the University, contributing to the presentation of various research areas (Asian languages, Chinese and Japanese culture, Oriental religions, etc.) to the public and helping to find cooperation partners for launching research projects.
Asia and the Middle East are two of the most fascinating and rapidly developing regions of the World, creating challenges and offering opportunities for the 21st century. By 2050, close to 60% of world’s consumers will live in the region, China will be an indisputable superpower, Hindi, Bengali and Urdu will dominate much of the world business, Islam will change and diversify due to its contact with modernity, and migrantion will continue to put pressure on the Middle East.
Come join our English-taught master’s programme in Contemporary Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at The University of Tartu. We provide a comprehensive curriculum in Asian and Middle Eastern economies, politics, languages and societies, a flexible and personalised study plan, and a multinational study environment. The programme creates tailor-made study packages at our partner universities across Asia and the Middle East, and values the need to fine-tune your practical skills through internships (included in the program) in private companies, state organisations and NGOs.
Photos by Mari Mäesaar