Japan Project Center (Multiple Locations) - HUA

Current Director(s)
Active Program Term(s)
E-Term during summer
Project Opportunities
Humanities and Arts Requirement (HUA)

The HUA Japan project center, which began in 2019, will travel between 4 different locations in Japan over 4 weeks, using a JR rail pass:

Kyoto, which is the ancient capital of Japan and is considered the heart of Japanese traditional culture. Here, we will study the intersection of cultural preservation with modern life.

Osaka, the historical merchant hub of Japan, and now second largest city in Japan. Here, we will consider the birth of the Tokugawa Shogunate and its movement into pre-modern Japan, and how that emerges in the popular imagination.

Hiroshima, which hosts the Peace Park and Peace Museum. In addition to being a modern city and economic hub in the south, Hiroshima is closely located to Miyajima, or temple island, which is widely featured in pictures about Japan. Here, you can feed deer, boat through or walk through massive Tori Gates depending on the tide, and explore a massive temple complex.

Tokyo, which is the seat of government and commerce. This city is a megalopolis, currently the largest city in the world. A modern city, you will be able to participate in accessible events all over.

As part of this project center, you will travel to these different locations, visit a variety of museums: Peace Museum, Edo-Tokyo Museum, Ghibli Museum (if we can get the tickets), Osaka Castle museum, Nijojo Seond Street Castle in Kyoto, and more. We will also be going to places that focus on youth and popular culture, such as Harajuku, Shibuya, Ikebukuro, Akihabara, Umeda, Amerika-mura, and Miyajima.

Students will take a course in Popular Culture for Social Change, a methods in HUA course, and your inquiry seminar, earning 1 unit of credit and completing your HUA requirement. Coursework will start prior to travel, with two week's worth of work that can be completed asynchronously. While in Japan for four weeks, WPI students will be working with students from Illinois Institute of Technology. After returning home, students will have one week to complete their coursework.

The inquiry seminar is an individually-defined project about Japan (what is often called Japanese Studies) and asks you to pose a research question about culture, history, art, or literature and then answer that question through research.