I have taught history courses at J. F. Oberlin University (and occasionally, at other Japanese universities) for over twenty-five years, but since 2016 I am taking a break because of my administrative workload. Following are examples of courses previously taught at J. F. Oberlin.
Premodern Japanese History (College of Arts and Sciences)
This is a survey course I taught in English for exchange students from J. F. Oberlin’s many overseas partners. By “premodern” I mean everything up until the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Since this is a very long span of time and the course only lasts 15 weeks, it is impossible to cover historical events in much detail. What I try to do, instead, is give students a sense of the general flow of Japanese history, what the important themes are, and why understanding these things matters in the first place. I also try to make the course as relevant and accessible as possible by drawing comparisons with present-day Japan (or other countries, when appropriate) and by placing a lot of emphasis on the history of the Kanto Plain, where J. F. Oberlin is located.
Sekaishi ni okeru Nihon (College of Arts and Sciences)
This is a course on “Japan in World History,” taught in Japanese. It makes use a world systems perspective, coupled with a lot of material relating to environmental/ecological history.
Nihon Zenkindaishi (Graduate School of International Studies)
This is a graduate survey of premodern Japanese history, also taught in Japanese. In recent years I have used Amino Yoshihiko’s 3-volume Nihon shakai no rekishi (A History of Japanese Society) as a text.
Kankyoshi (Graduate School of International Studies)
This is a graduate survey of world environmental history, taught in Japanese. I usually use Clive Ponting’s old but useful A Green History of the World, which is available in a convenient Japanese translation, as well as various works by Jared Diamond and other authors.