Roddy McDougall (MSc Japanese Society and Culture)
I chose the Japanese Society and Culture MSc at the University of Edinburgh as I was looking to consolidate my experiences from previously living in Japan. I had taken part in the JET Programme from 2001 – 2004, and then subsequently worked for a further two years in Iwate prefecture in the North-East of Japan. During that time I had learned Japanese and experienced first-hand modern Japanese society. In looking to learn more about the country, I sought a course that would go beyond the language and provide a broad, yet in-depth overview of the leading issues facing Japan. The Japanese Society and Culture MSc provided just that.
I am now in my third year of my PhD, continuing the research I started as part of my Masters dissertation. The Japanese Society and Culture MSc provided a fantastic framework upon which to expand my knowledge of Japan, and more importantly, give me the necessary tools to develop robust critical thinking skills. Both of these factors are integral to my ongoing research.
I would encourage all potential applicants for the Japanese Society and Culture MSc to choose this course. Beyond the reasons cited above, they would also be based within a world-class university in the heart of an amazing city where there are opportunities aplenty to both explore issues that are close to their heart, but to also tackle them in a manner they see fit. Furthermore the critical thinking and time-management skills learned during this demanding (yet highly fulfilling) year will be of tremendous value for their future careers.
Anna Aleksandrova (MSC JAPANESE SOCIETY AND CULTURE)
The MSc in Japanese Society and Culture allowed me to explore in a well-rounded manner a wide variety of areas related to Japan’s society, politics, history, religion, literature and the arts, and deepen my understanding of the topics we had touched upon in our undergraduate Japanese programme.
This Masters inspired in me what I feel will be a life-long appreciation of Kabuki theatre, tanka poems and early 20th century Japanese literature, but most of all, I believe that the knowledge and experience I gained gave me the confidence to move to Japan after graduation and study bookkeeping and business among native Japanese speakers at a vocational school while also working part-time as an in-house translator in a highly technical field using Japanese, English and Russian, which is my native language. Giving presentations about our dissertation topics and being actively encouraged to explore Japanese news media and use Japanese language sources for our essays (if possible) was particularly helpful in preparing me for my current studies and work.