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What is a MOOC ?

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses that anybody can take, and those who complete the course can earn an official certificate for a fee. Top universities around the world offer MOOCs, and the total number of registered learners on the Coursera and edX platforms has reached more than 130 million. Along with self improvement, learners are using MOOCs to improve their professional skills, and the individually validated certificates are helping learners advance in the workplace and make career changes.

Featured Courses

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Four Facets of Contemporary Japanese Architecture: Theory

This series will explore four facets of contemporary Japanese architecture; theory, technology, city, and humans. It will also span five generations of architects since Kenzo Tange. Through lectures by instructors and discussions with the most influential Japanese architects, the course will trace the development of contemporary Japanese architecture and will consider its future direction. In this first course, we will focus on one of the four facets of Japanese architecture: theory. The theory portion will feature discussions with architects who played a significant role in influencing the development of theoretical frameworks that contributed to guiding contemporary Japanese architecture. Terunobu Fujimori, Arata Isozaki, Hisao Kohyama, Kengo Kuma, Hidetoshi Ohno, and Kazuyo Sejima will visit their buildings and discuss the ideas behind their respective works. In the coming courses on technology, city, and humans, the following leading Japanese architects will discuss their work — Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban, Manabu Chiba, Sou Fujimoto, Hiroshi Hara, Itsuko Hasegawa, Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, Fumihiko Maki, Kazuhiko Namba, Yusuke Obuchi, Satoko Shinohara, Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, and Riken Yamamoto. Don’t miss the rest of this great series!

KUMA Kengo (University Professor, Office of University Professor, The University of Tokyo) OBUCHI Yusuke (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo)

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The Power of Words

This course examines how words retain power amidst crises, focusing on Japanese and English literature. It explores how words aid in resilience and self-renewal. Emphasis is placed on understanding the role of form in texts and socia interactions to deepen comprehension of expression mechanisms. Students of this course can learn the history of English and Japanese literature, particularly in terms of form as well as how the forms work in written texts and human relationships.

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Tokyo Hillside, Tokyo Riverside: Exploring the Historical City

In recent years, Tokyo became a global tourist destination as interest in the city increased in the lead-up to the planned 2020 Olympics. While the Olympic venues are concentrated in the city’s southwest and along the waterfront, Tokyo’s historical center and the roots of its urban culture are located in the northeast of the city, in an area stretching from Nihonbashi north through Kanda and Akihabara toward Ueno and Yanaka, and eastward to Asakusa. This area remains home to a wide range of unique historical and cultural heritage. This course offers an introduction to Tokyo’s urban history as Prof. Yoshimi explores northeast Tokyo by foot and boat in two sections: Tokyo Hillside and Tokyo Riverside. Visiting lesser-known historical places that have endured Tokyo’s modern transformation, this course will provide participants a different perspective on Tokyo when visiting for tourism, study, or work. Prof. Yoshimi proposes a method of geo-history that examines the city’s history in the context of its topography and social geography. Both the Hillside and Riverside sections focus on the spatial changes that took place as Tokyo underwent modernization. In particular, the course focuses on how the experience of three military occupations impacted Tokyo’s historical development. The first occupation was at the end of the 16th century, when Tokugawa Ieyasu established a new regime in Edo (modern-day Tokyo). The second was in the late 19th century, when the forces of the new imperial army arrived from Kyoto in the west. The third was the occupation by the American military that began in 1945 and preceded the rapid urban development of the 1950s and 1960s. The lectures will explain how the hillside and riverside areas were impacted by these occupations and underwent urban changes as a result.

YOSHIMI Shunya (Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo)

edX

Visualizing Postwar Tokyo, Part 1

Tokyo emerged out of the ruins of war to become a large city of 10 million people in only a quarter of a century. During this process of change, the capital of a military empire that once invaded East Asia experienced occupation by the U.S. armed forces, hosted the Olympic Games, and transformed into a consumer hub where young people could enjoy economic “wealth.” It is important to know that this process was recorded in countless photographs, documentary films, TV programs, and so on. We will retrieve many of these archived pictures and videos and analyze what happened in postwar Tokyo from different perspectives. In Part 1, you will look at the changes that occurred in postwar Tokyo over a quarter of a century from four different perspectives: 1) occupation and Americanism; 2) imperial gaze and royal wedding; 3) The Olympic city; and 4) economic-cultural clash in Shinjuku. This examination of urban history will provide you with the insights necessary when considering changes in other large cities in Asia, such as Seoul, Beijing, and Bangkok, at the end of the twentieth century.

YOSHIMI Shunya (Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo)

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