Course syllabus



ASIAN 708: Religions in Modern Japanese Society

SEMESTER 1, 2019

15 points

Course Convenor: 

 Mark Mullins 


  Mark Mullins 

Course delivery format:

 2 hours of lectures and 1 hour of tutorial each week

(Timetable and room details can be viewed on Student Services Online)

 Summary of Course Description:              

The aim of this course is to understand the role of religious beliefs, practices, and institutions in modern Japanese society. Topics to be covered include the invention of State Shinto and its role in nation-building, the decline of established temple Buddhism, the emergence and impact of new religious movements, and social conflict related to religion-state issues in the postwar period.

 Course outcomes:

This is a core course for the advanced study of religion in modern society, which reviews sociological and historical approaches and key issues of critical debate on the place of religion in contemporary Japanese society. At the end of this course, students 1) should have acquired a broad knowledge of the key characteristics and social significance of both established and alternative religious traditions in modern Japan; and 2) should be able to provide an extended analysis in essay form of issues surrounding the role of religion in contemporary Japanese society that demonstrates a critical understanding of the larger cultural, political, and legal context. 

 Assessment Summary:

100 percent coursework (6000 words)

  1. Tutorial participation/Reading Reports: 20% (500 words)
  2. Literature Review: 30% (2500 words)
  3. Final Paper and Oral Presentation: 50% (3000 words)


Weekly Topics:


Prescribed Texts:

There are no required textbooks for this course, but two to three articles or book chapters will be assigned each week.

 Recommended Texts:

Optional info depending on course requirements

 Workload and deadlines for submission of coursework:           

The University of Auckland's expectation is that students spend 10 hours per week on a 15-point course, including time in class and personal study. Students should manage their academic workload and other commitments accordingly. Deadlines for coursework are set by course convenors and will be advertised in course material. You should submit your work on time. In extreme circumstances, such as illness, you may seek an extension but you may be required to provide supporting information before the assignment is due. Late assignments without a pre-approved extension may be penalised by loss of marks – check course information for details.


Well-being always comes first

We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.


Course summary:

Date Details