Instructor: Professor Jacob Kovalio
Office: PA 411; Phone: 613-520-2600 ext. 2839
A – Introduction: Japan and China, East Asia’s top two nations [neighbouring Russia is considered a European entity] have each experienced two major transformations in the modern era. Japan’s first radical change was an intense modernization drive after the revolutionary Meiji Restoration of April 1868, legally anchored in the Emperor-centred 1889 Constitution – Asia’s first. Japan underwent a second fundamental reform after 1945, becoming a hidden constitutional monarchy [absent from the nation’s name] and a global beacon of democracy and pacifism enshrined in the 1947 Peace Constitution.China’s millenary imperial system was overthrown in the 1911 Xinhai Revolution. The failed Republic of China ended on the Mainland in 1949 but was revived as a genuine presidential democracy in Taiwan since 1996 .The communist regime launched by Strongman Mao Zedong , since 1978, under Strongman Deng Xiaoping and his successors, has turned into a system which has all the political and socio-economic characteristics of a corporatist entity reminiscent of those of Italy and Germany until 1945. In the realm of foreign policy, Japan, in the age of imperialism, became the first modern Asian imperialist power – for 50 years , until 1945. In the postwar post-imperialist era, Japan has embodied genuine democratic pacifism . In contrast, China – the world’s oldest and most successful imperialist power – since 1949 , renewed its expansionism , embodied in today’s Critical Areas [Heshin liyi] imperialism .
B – Aim and procedure : This most interesting and intense half-credit seminar [meeting in weekly three-hour sessions] aimed at introducing students to the domestic and foreign policy of modern Japan and China, commences with a detailed introduction by Professor Kovalio. Subsequently, each session will be a colloquium on a theme [chosen from a list compiled by the instructor and ] presented by each participant , then submitted as a research essay at the end of the course. Grading contains three elements: 1 – the Research Essay [50%]; 2 – the Colloquium Presentation [30%]; 3 – Participation in Discussions [20%]. Deadlines and completed assignments are mandatory in order to be in Good Standing.
The introductory text for the course is: Yoda, Yoshiie, 1996. The Foundations of Japan’s Modernization – A comparison with China’s Path towards Modernization, trans. by Kurt W. Radtke [as electronic source or in hard copy format]