Medieval Japan: People & Systems in the World of the Shogunate

October 8, 2017
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Professional Development Course

Medieval Japan : People & Systems in the World of the Shogunate
NYC Department of Education accredited course

Saturday, October 7, 9 AM—4 PM
Sunday, October 8, 9 AM—4 PM
Wednesday, October 18, 6:30—9:30 PM
Saturday, December 2, 9 AM—4 PM
Sunday, December 3, 9 AM—2 PM

This 24-hour, 5-session professional development course explores and analyzes the world of Japan during the 12th through 15th centuries as the warrior class rose to power under the Kamakura Shogunate. This two (2) credit course will provide participants with the resources and skills to create and refine lesson plans for the high school classroom and beyond. Key components of feudal Japan such as land ownership; the intersection of religions during this era including Shintoism, Buddhism and Christianity; and agricultural development and village community life will be discussed. Educators will hone their understanding of sengoku daimyo and how Japan was united under the Tokugawa Shogunate. Participants will also have the opportunity to study the evolution of social ideas and aesthetic values of the time including the culture of tea and decorative screens. Each topic is presented with sound pedagogical strategies for implementation in the classroom and in alignment with present teaching standards. 

2P credit is available from the NYC Department of Education for in-service teachers. To receive credit, participants must also register for this course on the ASPDP website. Credit is pending course approval by the NYC Department of Education. Registrants seeking continuing education credit from NYC Department of Education should also register here:

Full Course Registration: $125/$110 Japan Society members
*Scholarships for in-service NYC educators available. Contact [email protected] for details.

Box Office Policy

Course Schedule:

Saturday, October 7, 9 AM—4 PM  (A la carte registration: $30/$25 members. Register →)
Rise of the Samurai & Kamakura Era

  • Introduction & Overview of Medieval Japan—Public vs. private ownership of land; the growth and organization of shoen; Kamakura Shogunate and its rule; rise of the bushi (warrior/samurai) class; and Mongol Invasions. Instructor: Hitomi Tonomura, University of Michigan.

Sunday, October 8, 9 AM—4 PM (A la carte registration: $30/$25 members. Register →)
Peace and Upheaval: The Ashikaga Shogunate

  • Feudal Institutions from 1337 to 1573—Examine the rise of Ashikaga Takauji’s rise to power and the Northern and Southern Courts; formation of village community and agricultural development; establishment of Buddhist thought and practices; emerging merchant class, trade guilds, and money economy. Instructor: Paul Drobie, Manhattan College.
  • Medieval Shintoism & Buddhism—Cultural diffusion of ideas and practices of Buddhism and Confucianism tied to China and Korea; Jodo sect of Buddhism for the samurai, commoners, and emperors; principles and connection of Zen. Instructor: James Kodera, Wellesley College.

Wednesday, October 18, 6:30—9:30 PM (A la carte registration: $15/$10 members. Register →)

  • The Zen Aesthetic—Discover clues to the complex thought of the rich artistic tradition of Zen. Explore everyday objects, art and artifacts as they illuminate stereotypes. Instructors: Pamela D. Winfield, Elon University; Steven Heine, Florida International University, Miami.

Saturday, December 2, 10 AM—4 PM  (A la carte registration: $30/$25 members. Register →)
Civil Wars to Unification

  • From Civil Wars… to Unification—Explore how the denial of traditional authority within Japanese society sets off a series of internal conflicts/civil wars; examine specific roles of key historical figures Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Ieyasu Tokugawa through the use of kinesthetic movement and reenactment scenarios that later cultivated subservient attitudes useful in the feudal system; and the impact on Japan as it engaged with European Renaissance ideas. Instructor: Thomas Conlan, Princeton University.

Saturday, December 3, 9 AM—1 PM (A la carte registration: $30/$25 members. Register →)
The Golden Age of Arts in the Muromachi Era

  • Cultural Life in Medieval Japan—Explore and examine the evolution of new interior settings of medieval Japan; interactions and developments in the arts as east and west meet; participate and practice the etiquette and details of an original expression of Zen in the “high art” of an authentic Japanese tea ceremony. Instructors: Matthew McKelway and Urasenke Chanoyu Center.

  • Sunday, October 8, 2017
  • 9:00 am