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Unit information: Japanese Religions: Practices and Beliefs in 2021/22

Unit name Japanese Religions: Practices and Beliefs
Unit code THRS20220
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lomi
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit introduces the Japanese religious landscape, by focusing on its key practices, beliefs, and movements. We will explore a variety of issues of Japan’s contemporary religious context (such as religious identity and affiliation), understand their origins, and analyse the lived dimension of its main traditions.

Each week will focus on a different theme—such as mountain worship and sacred geography, ascetic practices, pilgrimages, religion and politics. In terms of format, a one-hour lecture, introducing the topic, will be followed a two-hour seminar including both a documentary and a class discussion.

Students will have the chance of doing collaborative assignments, as well as developing further skills for independent work.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

(1) Recognise and show familiarity with the main Japanese religious traditions (Buddhism, Shinto, Confucianism, Shugendo, New Religious Movements)

(2) Demonstrate an understanding of the role of religious practices and beliefs in contemporary Japan;

(3) Identify and discuss religious issues proper to the Japanese context

(4) Identify and present pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument, both independently and as part of a group

(5) Demonstrate skills in independent and critical thinking, analysis, and argumentation, using evidence from primary texts and secondary sources.

Teaching Information

Classes will involve a combination of long- and short-form lectures, class discussion, investigative activities, and practical activities. Students will be expected to engage with readings and participate on a weekly basis. This will be further supported with drop-in sessions and self-directed exercises with tutor and peer feedback.

Assessment Information

1 x 2000 words portfolio (formative) [ILOs 2-5]

1 x 2500-word summative essay (100%) [ILOs 1-5]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. THRS20220).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.