Nuclear Japan


This is an example of a past Summer program offered by CSB/SJU. This program is currently not offered.

Program Highlights

  • Trips to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the only cities in the world to be attacked by nuclear bombs
  • “Disaster tour” of areas of Fukushima impacted by the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant
  • Lighter cultural diversions, such as live sumo, hot springs, and a visit to the Ghibli Museum
  • Opportunity to attend and present at academic conference in Kyoto
  • Mini-excursions in Tokyo, and day trips outside of Tokyo, with students from our host school, Bunkyo Gakuin Daigaku
  • Of special interest to Japanese minors, students in Asian Studies, Peace Studies, and Environmental Studies, Global Business, etc. due to the focus on issues impacting our world politics, justice, and the environment

Explore more Japan - Embedded Program details on CSB/SJU Global Portal.

Course & Program Information

Course Name: Nuclear Japan

Course Number: JAPN 330D

Credit Number: 4 credits

Common Curriculum: Ethics (ES)  & Intercultural (IC)

Integrations Curriculum:  CS & GL pending

Prerequisite: completion of FYS 101, HONR 101, FYS 201 

Course Description:

This course combines classroom learning at CSB/SJU during CD mod and ends with an experiential component abroad. With portions both at home on campus and abroad in Japan, this “embedded” course explores the legacy of nuclear weapons and energy in Japan through ethical perspectives. While we consider the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on one hand, and the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima following the triple disaster of March 11, 2011 on the other, we also look for points of convergence and divergence between the understanding of atomic weapons and atomic energy in the imagination of Japan and the world. We look at witness narratives in short story and novel form, and traverse media such as film, manga, anime, photography, painting, children’s books, poetry, and digital art to gain insight into the possibilities for expression and representation in the atomic age. After establishing a foundation for understanding Japan’s nuclear legacy in the domestic portion of the course, we deepen our knowledge by visiting Japan’s nuclear ground zeros. The Japan portion of the course will be based out of Tokyo, where there are many exhibits and spaces that commemorate Japan’s nuclear tragedies. From there, we will make trips to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kyoto, as well as safe areas outside of Fukushima. Through discussions as a class and with Japanese students, reflections (journals) that compare our pre-Japan learning to that on site, and portfolio creations, students will demonstrate integration of the home and abroad portions of the course.

Program Information:

On March 11, 2011, Japan faced a triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Northern Japan, in which reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant exploded. The meltdown at Fukushima was the worst nuclear incident since the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, and led to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents. Japan is the only country in history to be targeted with atomic bombs, and the meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi constituted what writer Ōe Kenzaburo called a self-inflicted “third atomic bombing.”
This course explores ethical perspectives though various approaches (literature, film, history, politics, science) to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima. While treating each event in its specificity, this course also considers points of convergence and divergence between atomic weapons and atomic energy in the imagination of Japan and the world.
After spending two months at CSB/SJU doing readings and coursework that provide a strong background on nuclear issues in Japan and the world, students and instructor will continue the course in Japan by visiting the “ground zeros” of nuclear Japan, meeting survivors, and experiencing sites of memory. Bunkyo University in Tokyo will serve as the launch pad for visits to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kyoto, as well as safe areas (outside the exclusion zone) within Fukushima prefecture. 

Program Cost & Financial Considerations

Students on an embedded program will pay an education program fee in addition to the cost of attendance for the semester. Find additional Fee information on theCSB/SJU Global Portal.  

Students should plan early for a successful study abroad experience. Financial aid and scholarships may be available to help with program costs, but must be searched out well in advance.   

Bunkyo Gakuin Daigaku, our partner school for exchange, will host us at our home base in Tokyo. During our excursions to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, we will stay in Japanese-style inns and hostels.

Program Director Information

This program is directed by Dr. Jeffrey DuBois, Assistant Professor of Japanese language, literature, and culture at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. His courses include “Nuclear Japan: Atomic Bombs, Atomic Energy, Atomic Art,” “Japanese Folklore,” “Contemporary Japanese Women Writers,” “Transnational Japan,” all levels of Japanese language, and more.