Religious practice in Japan TRS4116

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines the plurality of practice that constitutes religion in Japan through various media including films, comics and art forms. Most Japanese ascribe to at least two traditions, Shinto and Buddhism, while a large part of the population professes to be non-religious. This course analyses the complexity and fluidity of this landscape through an exploration of ritual practice and representations of Japanese religious observance.


5x2hr seminar; 5x1h seminar and 5x2hr screenings delivered as part of a 5x3hr session over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus.


This is one of the Honours options in TRS and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into Theology and Religious Studies, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Essay 1 (2,000 words) - 40%

Seminar participation - 10%

Essay 2 (3,000 words) - 50%

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to:

■ explore two main traditions in Japan (Shinto and Buddhism), as well as other traditions;

■ familiarise students with key scholarly works and debates;

■ relate various media (e.g. films, comics, art forms) to the study of religions in Japan;

■ discuss the meaning of religion in Japan through study the plurality of its religious traditions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ analyse the meaning of religion in the Japanese context;

■ examine how scholars have approached and analysed the Japanese religious landscape;

■ analyse religious practice in Japan through various media;

■ identify and develop independent research questions;

■ apply transferable skills involving independent and critical thinking, cultural awareness, information literacy and analysis.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.