Teaching Introduction to Sociology at Ritsumeikan

Teaching Introduction to Sociology at Ritsumeikan

This blog explores life in Japan from a sociological perspective. It is produced by Robert Moorehead and students at Ritsumeikan University‘s College of International Relations, in Kyoto, Japan.

Robert is currently an associate professor at College of DuPage. Previously, he taught for 4.5 years at Ritsumeikan University. He completed his doctorate in sociology at the University of California-Davis in the United States. In his research, he uses qualitative methods to study the incorporation of Japanese Peruvian immigrants into Japanese society.

In spring 2015, undergraduate classes on International Migration, Race and Ethnicity, and Precarious Japan posted on the blog. In fall 2014, students in undergraduate and graduate classes on Race and Ethnicity, International Sociology, and Imagined Communities posted on the blog.

Links to Robert’s website, Academia.edu site, and LinkedIn profile.

12 thoughts on “About

  1. Can you please help me remember a word I learned in my freshman sociology class but can’t seem to remember for the life of me, please?

    The word I am looking for is the word used to label the Japanese concept of waiting for a reward, ie. working hard so their children succeed?

    I wish I could describe the concept better. I apologize. Thanks for any help.

    • Thanks for the question. There are a few possibilities … there’s the Japanese term “gaman,” which refers to perseverance or endurance, as in having to endure difficulties. There’s “gambaru,” which means to struggle or fight, as in having to continue working at something to succeed. There’s also “shikata ga nai,” which is a phrase that was commonly expressed by Japanese Americans suffering through US racism. It means “there’s nothing you can do about it,” and this response was key in shaping how first-generation immigrants from Japan endured challenges in the US. Is this what you’re looking for? Or were you looking for a sociological concept in English?

  2. Thank you for your response. I’m honestly a lamen and only remember the general idea. I seem to remember the topic being covered in my Multicultural America course when I was in college. The text discussed Japanese-Americans and how they culturally “put off the reward.” This was followed by the example of first generation Asian-Americans being so successful in school because their parents had struggled and saved to provide them the opportunity. I really wish I could give you more details. Thanks again.

  3. Hi Robert,

    Just stumbled upon this site while searching on the Japanese perspective on foreigners and I must say, I really appreciate your work. What’s even more interesting is that many of these entries were written by your students, thus providing a very unique, valuable point of view, one from a Japanese students’ perspective. Coupled with the wide diversity of topics, this site is full of great reads and information that is difficult to obtain anywhere else for the English-speaking community.

    Japan has always been a country that has peaked my interest. Made me wonder why I didn’t come across this site sooner. Some of the articles are simply gold.

    Great site and thanks for your amazing work again.

    • Thank you for the wonderful comment. I’m sorry to be so slow in responding. I’ve uploaded another semester of posts from my students. I hope you enjoy them. Be sure to post some comments of your own!

  4. Hello,

    Thank you for creating this blog !

    Temporarily living in Japan, I have enjoyed very much life here. However I have had wonders, one of them is the use of Internet in Japan. While I enjoyed reading the article about the influence of globalization on the Japanese culture, I could not find any article about how Japanese use Internet. Would some of your students or you write in the near future any article about it?

    By use of internet, I have in mind the interactions of community. In Western Internet communities, people help each other by answering questions to others without any buck back. Would this type of “behavior” exist in Japanese internet communities?

    Also is there a strict policy with registration on blog? In some countries, you must enter your ID number to register. Is it the case with Japan? I was wondering if this does not help to reflect more on what to write, but also to more “polite behavior” than what we unfortunately can sometimes see on “Western” websites” (I mean “bad words”)

    Hopefully my English is clear enough.
    Thank you for your insight !
    All the best,

    A student working on a scenography project related to Japan


    • Thanks for the questions. Sorry to be so slow in responding. Internet use is widespread in Japan, although for a long time many people accessed it through their cell phone. Smartphone use, especially with the iPhone, is currently very widespread.

      Social networking sites are also very popular. Previously, many used a site called Mixi, however they’re currently flocking to Facebook. Almost all of my students use Facebook regularly. This includes posting online comments to each other. There are no regulations in Japan about registering on a blog using your real name or ID number, as there are in other Asian countries. While in general people are fairly polite online, there are also plenty of people who take advantage of the anonymity of the Internet to pose comments they would not say in person. Right-wing groups like Zaitokukai also use the Internet to promote their agendas.

      More questions? Please keep them coming!

  5. this sounds like a great blog. i’m applying for the spring in hopes of joining ritsumeikan university.

  6. Hello, My name is Ebony Archie and I’m a student in America at Rhodes College. I’m applying for the Watson Fellowship, which would allow me to travel around the world investigating whatever subject ignites passion. I’m very interested in the intrusion of Western Ideals of beauty in non-Western cultures. One of the countries I am hoping to study is Japan. I am looking to make contacts with institutions who I believe could be of help or resource. Hopefully you may be of help or know someone who can help. Thanks so much.

    • Thanks for the message. Send me a message via the Contact link at the top of the page, with more information on what you’re looking for, and I’ll share whatever info I can. Can you be more specific about the work you’re planning on doing?

    • Hi Ebony! I realise that this is an old post, but I am currently researching this very topic for my dissertation project. If you have any readings that you could point me towards that would be great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s