2020 Field Studies in Japan application now open

Theme: “Heritage and Tourism”

How is heritage defined? Who decides what is preserved and remembered? How is heritage packaged for tourist consumption? What controversies and possibilities surround the future of heritage in Japan? Heritage is a vital concept for understanding Japan, with UNESCO adding Mt. Fuji, Japanese cuisine, and float festivals to its list of World Heritage. This theme is particularly timely with UNESCO’s recent addition of sites related to its so-called “hidden Christians” (AKA kakure kirishitan), and the recent release of Martin Scorcese’s related film, “Silence.” Such events bring new attention to questions about what is forgotten and remembered from the past, preserved in the present, and enjoyed in the future. This module investigates the interface of heritage and tourism in Japan and what role they play in the construction of identity across geographical scales.

The field study begins with four days of instruction at NUS, where we will interrogate the themes of heritage and tourism; learn contemporary demographic, political, social, and aesthetic issues facing rural Japan; learn about the history of Christianity in Japan and current efforts to market sites associated with its hidden Christians; and learn several qualitative research methods. Then we will spend ten days in Japan visiting locations that show different perspectives at the interface of heritage and tourism, including Hakata, the Oguni/Minami-Oguni area, the city of Kumamoto, and the Amakusa islands. Along the way, we will utilize various qualitative methods and reflect on the experience through daily field notes.


May 11-15 Coursework at NUS
May 15-25 Study in Japan
Application deadline: 31 January @5pm
Access the application here:


In order to learn more about eligibility and costs, please read the FAQ on this blog. Contact Dr. McMorran with any questions.

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