- Experience an overnight stay in a Buddhist temple, a capsule hotel, and other unique spaces!
- Learn about different forms of Japanese religions in both traditional and modern contexts
- Participate in meditation sessions and visit Zen gardens and temples
- Study popular Japanese art forms such as anime and manga
Course of Study
This interdisciplinary course introduces students to the diverse aspects of Japanese religions and popular cultures to deepen the understanding of the country. The program is designed for students interested in exploring those dimensions of Japanese culture which are influenced by Buddhist and Shinto traditions, pre-modern and contemporary cultural practices, and points of their intersection. The course consists of a week of intensive pre-trip orientation and two-and-a-half weeks in Japan. Prior to this program, the instructors will provide students with a survey of Japanese history and culture, focusing especially on multiple forms of Japanese religions in traditional and modern contexts, and their relations with popular culture. One of the unique features of this summer program lies in its emphasis on exposing students to a variety of environments that intriguingly reflect Japanese people's design of spaces. In addition to staying in unique accommodations, students on this program will observe a number of Japanese rituals, join meditation sessions, and attend lectures. Students will also visit medieval castles, Zen gardens, Shinto shrines, traditional theatre, and so on.
Students will earn three credit hours for this program for one of the following courses: MODL 398 - Special Topics, or RELG 398 - Special Topics in Religious Studies.
This program is open to undergraduate and graduate students with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. While applications from non-UNL students may be considered, preference will be given to UNL students. For more information about the eligibility requirements students must meet in order to participate in Education Abroad programs, please review the Eligibility and Conditions of Participation page of the Education Abroad website.
This program will be co-led and the course co-taught by Yaroslav Komarovski and Ikuho Amano.
Yaroslav Komarovski, Dept. of Classics and Religious Studies, is a specialist in Buddhism and Asian religions. For more than ten years, he lived, studied, and conducted fieldwork in different Buddhist societies in Asian countries including Japan, Tibet, India, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, and so forth. He has traveled in Japan extensively, and together with Ikuho Amano led this UNL summer education abroad program to Japan in 2013. Through academic training and frequent communication with locals, he has acquired proficiency in Japanese.
Ikuho Amano, Dept. of Modern Languages and Literatures, is a native of Osaka, Japan. At UNL she has taught and researched Japanese culture, film, literature, and language. Prior to her arrival in the U.S., she worked as a liaison officer at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sakai, Osaka, for seven years, coordinating business trips within Japan and to Asian countries. She has visited China, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, India, and numerous European countries. She also led this UNL summer education abroad program to Japan in summer 2013 and summer 2015.
Andrews Hall 240
Oldfather Hall 1135
Students on this program will spend the majority of their time in Japan in Osaka, Kyoto, and Tokyo. Along the way, however, students will have the opportunity to also visit Hyogo, Hiroshima, the Mt. Fuji area, and Kamakura!
Japan is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean with dense cities, imperial palaces, and mountainous national parks. In addition, Japan is home to thousands of shrines and temples of the two major religions of Japan, Shinto and Buddhism. Japan has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the world leaders in technology, and is also well-known for its cuisine (Japan is the birthplace of sushi!), aesthetic tradition, unique and abundant vending machines, and rich traditional and modern culture. This makes it an ideal destination for a student interested in observing and studying the intersections of religious life and popular culture in the modern world.
Accommodations and Other Arrangements
INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE: All program participants will fly to and from Japan as a group. Deviations from the group itinerary will not be permitted.
LODGING in COUNTRY: On this program, students will stay at a Buddhist temple, a capsule hotel, a traditional ryokan (inn) and stylish hostels.
MEALS in COUNTRY: Some meals will be included in the program cost, however students will need to budget for additional meals not included in the program cost and meals at airports during the round-trip flight from Japan to the U.S. More specific info regarding in-country meals and the budget coming soon!
TRANSPORTATION in COUNTRY: All transportation within and between cities will be coordinated for students and will be included in the program cost.
ACCESS TO LAUNDRY FACILITIES: Students will most likely have access to laundry facilities at the accommodations. More info coming soon!
COMMUNICATION & CONNECTIVITY: Students will have most likely have access to WiFi at the hostel and hotels. More info coming soon!
DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED for TRAVEL: All U.S. citizens will need a valid passport to participate on the program. U.S. Citizens will not require a visa for entry into Japan. Non-U.S. citizens need to research entry requirements specific to the country of destination at the time of applying to the program. Deadline to upload passport to MyWorld: March 3, 2017 (*deadline subject to change)
HEALTH AND MOBILITY: Participants will be asked to walk distances in whilst visiting sites and venues in Japan. In addition, students should be aware that this program relies thoroughly on public transportation. Public transportation as well as streets and sidewalks in Japan may be crowded. Recommended immunizations/medications per CDC (as of September 19, 2016) include Hepatitis A. Additionally, CDC recommends that you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. Please be sure to check the CDC for additional recommended immunizations for travelers to Japan as well as additional information regarding health and safety.
See the budget sheet (COMING SOON!) and the Fund your Experience page on the Education Abroad website.
Upon confirmation of participation, program participants will pay a $1500 commitment deposit (including a non-refundable $150 Education Abroad Fee). The deposit will be applied to the final program cost balance. If a participant withdraws from a program, the participant will be responsible for any irrecoverable costs associated with the program at the time of withdrawal. The $1500 deposit will be due Friday, February 10, 2017.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Please see the Education Abroad website for detailed information about financial aid and scholarships.
U.S. Department of State: Travel
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan
Embassy of Japan in Washington, D.C.
*UNL Education Abroad does not officially endorse, administer, or monitor the content of these links.