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Japan Practicum: Japan in the time of Samurai and Geisha

June 1-July 1, 2008

Nagoya and Kyoto, Japan


Program Overview

The Japan Practicum is a four-week summer program that focuses on Japan in the time of the geisha and samurai, the Tokugawa era.  During morning classes, students will be learning about history, literature, art and architecture, and then apply the coursework by taking field trips to see the actual sites. A central part of the practicum will be a trip to Kyoto, the cultural capital of Japan.







There we will see the old geisha houses as well as the most famous examples of religious architecture in Japan.  Our readings and discussions will enrich our visits to these important sites and vice versa.  Students can expect to come away with a deeper knowledge and appreciation for Japanese history and culture of the past as well as an awareness of contemporary Japanese culture

The Setting

The city of Nagoya began its life as a castle town located in an important harbor between Osaka and Tokyo.  It flourished during the reign of the samurai and soon developed into the bustling commercial center it is today. Nagoya is currently Japan’s fourth largest city with a population of 2.2 million.  During the program, students will also visit Kyoto, the old capital of Japan.


EASIA-208:  Japan Practicum

Students who successfully complete this program will earn one course credit (the equivalent of four semester hours). It fulfills the Division II and/or Comparative Civilization requirement.  For East Asian Studies majors, the Japan Practicum counts toward the major.  Students will receive a letter grade for the course. Please note that Japanese language ability is not required for the program.


In Nagoya, students will take morning classes Monday through Thursday, and spend the afternoons and Fridays visiting various cultural sites. In Kyoto, classes will be conducted at the locations that the program will be visiting.  Program readings and discussions will enrich students’ understanding of cultural site visits. Requirements include participation, daily journal entries of observations and analysis, and a final paper/presentation.  Most of the grade will be based on the final research project allowing students to explore topics that they found interesting over the course of the program. 

Program Activities

In Nagoya, afternoon site visits will include the Atsukta Shrine, Osu Kanon Temple, the Nagoya Castle, and the Tokugawa Art Museum and Garden.  Day trips will be to:  Ise Jingu, one of the three Grand Shrines of Japan and spiritual home of Shintoism; Inuyama Castle, which dates from 1537 and is the oldest standing castle in Japan; and the Meiji-mura village, which is an open-air museum for preserving and exhibiting Japanese architecture from the Meiji period.  Students may also participate in a tea ceremony and sushi making class at Nanzan University. 


In Kyoto, students will visit the Shimabara geisha district, as well as the following temples: Kinkakuji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, of the Zen sect, dating from about 1400; Kiyomizudera, Pure Water Temple, a famous temple founded in 780 of the Hosso sect; and Sanjûsangendô, a temple founded in 1164 famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.



In Nagoya, students will stay at the Nanzan University International Dormitory.  Students will receive a meal stipend for meals not eaten together as a group. For the trip to Kyoto, students will be staying at a Japanese style inn, and meals will be covered by a stipend.  One group meal is planned during the trip to Kyoto.

On-Site Administration

The program will be directed by Professors Alex Bates and Akiko Meguro of the East Asian Studies department. Professor Bates has spent many years living in Japan, most recently as a Fulbright Fellow at Ritsumeikan University, in Kyoto Japan.  Professor Meguro is a native of Japan and teaches Japanese Language classes at Dickinson College.  She was also a program director for the Japan Practicum in 2006. 

Program Cost

The estimated comprehensive fee will be approximately $5,100, which covers tuition, room and board, excursions, and cultural site visits. Not included in the program fee are primary medical and accident insurance purchased in the U.S., travel costs to/from Nagoya, and all other incidental expenses.

For more information, contact

 Assistant Professor Alex BatesDepartment of East Asian Studies, Dickinson CollegeTel: 717-245-1127


Japanese Instructor, Akiko Meguro

Department of East Asian Studies, Dickinson College       

Tel.: 717-245-1437


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