ES/HS 339 - Environmental History of Japan
In this course we will explore the modern environmental history of Japan the late-1860s to the early-2000s. This course is designed for students without any background in Japanese history. But even for students who are familiar with the modern history of Japan will find that the historical terrain covered in this course will look different because we will be examining how people felt these changes of Japan in their bodies. The modernization of Japan was fundamentally (although not exclusively) a process of material transformation by which natural resources were converted into railway tracks, electric wiring, and a vast array of commodities and by-product wastes which were distributed unequally throughout the Japanese archipelago. We will also be discussing the historical change of current environmental issues such as the problem of so-called invasive species, industrial whaling, waste management, and nuclear power in Japan.