The two-year specialisation in Japanese studies is unique in the Netherlands. With a world-class teaching and research portfolio that covers East Asia and looks at the region from a multi-disciplinary standpoint, the programme provides you with unique insights into a comprehensive range of cutting-edge topics in modern and pre-modern Japan.
The MA programme in Leiden is an international and cosmopolitan one, drawing students from around the world. This gives the programme an outward-looking and creative tone that seeks to foster ‘world citizens’ as well as first-class scholars.
Building on the uniquely long and intimate relations between The Netherlands and Japan, Leiden University has one of the oldest and most established centres of Japanese Studies in the Western world.
As a graduate of the MA specialisation in Japanese Studies, you will be qualified to follow a career in which the use of high-level Japanese is a key requirement. You will have sophisticated analytical and critical skills, and will be able to interrogate a range of textual and oral resources. You will be able to conduct research independently and isolate areas of critical interest in a field. You will also have a well-developed academic understanding of the most pertinent aspects of Japanese Studies, a precursor to future research or academic study.
This two-year programme has a maximum of 17 places. The application deadline is 1 April for all students. (For East Asian Studies, the comparable one-year programme, there is no restriction on the number of places available.)
.. 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)