Start Date: March 1st, 2024
Duration: 1 month (2 credits; 32 hours)
Tuition Fee: 320 USD
More information at:
A four-week course that unravels Japan’s journey from a feudal society steeped in isolation to a technological and economic powerhouse with global influence. Participants will delve into Japan’s rich history, examining the socio-political, economic, and cultural changes that propelled the nation’s transformation. From the feudal era to the Meiji Restoration, imperial expansion, and World War II, this course offers an in-depth exploration of pivotal moments. The culmination is a focus on Japan’s unique contributions in robotics and AI, underpinned by a deep cultural perspective. By blending lectures, readings, discussions, and hands-on activities, participants will gain profound insights into Japan’s modernization and its lessons for the world.
In the first unit, students will analyze Japan’s early past, beginning with its feudal era and its policy of isolation, to lay the foundation for subsequent studies of its development. They will begin with the intricate social hierarchy of feudal Japan, where samurai culture reigned, and explore concepts such as Sakoku, the centuries-long policy of self-imposed isolation, that ended with the Meiji Restoration, a crucial moment in Japanese history, where a new Estate overthrew the shogunate.
The second course week deals with the first comprehensive reforms that transformed Japan, both industrially and culturally, into a completely renewed state. In this way, participants will gain an appreciation for the profound impact of the effects that the Meiji era had on Japan’s trajectory. Following, the students will approach the new imperial ambitions, its expansion into Asia and the Pacific, as well as its involvement in World War II. Both the geopolitical context and its role in the global conflict will be examined, setting the stage for the analysis of its emergence as an influential global player.
The next unit will delve into the unique case of Japan as a technological and economic powerhouse in the postwar era will be studied. Special emphasis will be placed on the secrets behind the Japanese Economic Miracle and the technological innovations that catapulted Japan to global recognition in industries such as electronics and automotive. Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of Japan’s transformation and the lessons it offers for nations seeking to navigate the complex path of modernization and global influence.
Lastly, we explore Japan’s forward-looking approach, focusing on its pioneering contributions in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI). We delve into Japan’s unique cultural perspective that influences technological innovation, emphasizing concepts like “wa” (harmony) and the integration of traditional arts. We also examine Japan’s advancements in AI, from natural language processing to robotics integration, and consider the ethical implications within Japanese and global contexts.
Antonio López Amores has been a professor of Early Modern History, with experience at several universities throughout Spain, since 2016. In addition to his expertise in Western Mediterranean history, he has extensive knowledge of both Western Mediterranean and Asian history. His lectures cover a wide range of topics, such as the social and cultural history of early modern Iberia, the history and political evolution of Britain and Ireland, the history of feudal Japan, and the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to his teaching, combining his knowledge of history with other areas of study.