Depending on your background and interests, in the Master’s programmes in Asian Studies you will be able to deepen and broaden your knowledge of Asia as a whole or one of the regions within Asia. You will be able to focus on acquiring in-depth knowledge of the history, language and culture of Asian societies, or the contemporary developments in the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing region.
In your course you will benefit from the breadth and depth of Asian studies research in Leiden, which is unparalleled in the Netherlands and combines the very best of Asia-related research in North-West Europe.
The different specialisations offered within this programme cater for students both with and without prior proficiency in one or more Asian languages. Students with ambitions to pursue a PhD position or a career as a researcher outside academia should consider the two-year Research Master’s in Asian Studies.
Both the two-year and one-year MA programmes in Asian Studies offer further specialisation in a country, region, or aspect of Asia. This structure allows us to accommodate students with diverse undergraduate backgrounds, objectives and expectations.
These one-year specialisations each focus on a thematic approach to Asian Studies. These specialisations do not require prior knowledge of a relevant language, although students have the option of making a start with learning one of the many Asian languages taught at Leiden University.
These one-year specialisations each focus on a particular region of Asian Studies. These specialisations do not require prior knowledge of a relevant language, although some individual courses require knowledge of a classical or modern Asian language. Students have the option of making a start with learning one of the many Asian languages taught at Leiden University.
These specialisations offer the possibility for in depth study of one of the countries in East Asia. Contrary to the other specialisations, these specialisations require advanced knowledge of the relevant language.
.. Manya Koetse, on boosting nationalism by constructing collective memories of the Second Sino-Japanese War
“I have been fascinated with the cultures and languages of East Asia ever since I was young. Japan was my first love, China came later. The unceasing interest in these countries was the motor driving me throughout my studies – graduating in Japanese and China Studies, and completing the Research MA in Asian Studies.
Studying in Japan and China, I noticed how the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) was still very much alive in their bilateral relations. Later I read an American experiment on the impact of advertisement on memory. It showed that individuals, after being exposed to a particular Disneyland advertisement, remembered they had personally met Mickey Mouse and shook his hand when they were young, even when this was not the case. It led me to my thesis topic. If a company such as Disney can affect childhood memories, then the governments of China and Japan must also, to some extent, be able to affect how the Sino-Japanese war is nationally remembered.
My thesis explains how both countries use war memorials to construct collective memories on their respective roles in war, boosting nationalism. In doing so, the government functions as an advertiser that mainly displays the strength of the own nation through its war memorials.
These kinds of national war memories become perilous when they are used as diplomatic weapons to keep present international hostilities alive. It is therefore pivotal that we are vigilant and critical about what kind of memories we carry with us, and why. After all, even our memories of Mickey Mouse cannot always be trusted.”
Manya Koetse, Asian Studies (research)