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Crime and Criminal Justice: East Asian Perspectives (ResMA)


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Asian Studies (research) or another relevant Research MA. Students from other departments are kindly referred to the course description of the regular MA course.


This course will address various developments in formal and informal responses to crime in East Asia (here: Japan, China and South Korea), with an emphasis on Japan. It will examine some of the diverse ways in which crime is addressed, prevented and controlled in these countries by both state and non state actors. While acknowledging diversity, the course also aims to address shared influences and themes.
Topics that will be addressed include:

  • Trends in criminal justice (with a specific focus on the death penalty, the increased attention for crime victims and increased participation of lay people in criminal justice in East Asia).

  • Trends in crime prevention strategies.

  • The impact, if any, of “Asian values” on formal and informal responses to crime.
    Through addressing these topics the course will engage with existing criminological and (legal) sociological theories and paradigms, many of which developed in North American and European contexts. By doing so it will explore the ways in which insights gained within Japanese, Chinese and South Korean contexts may inform, contribute to, refute or build upon these theories and paradigms.

Course objectives

The main goal of this seminar is to provide students with a grounding in relevant criminological and (legal)sociological theories, and a good grasp of important trends and developments in formal and informal responses to crime in Japan, China and Korea, with an emphasis on Japan. The course also aims to foster students’ analytical skills through the reading and discussion of the assigned theorical and empirical readings, as well as their ability to develop and present their own argument in written work and oral presentations. Students will also receive instructions for conducting independent research, a survey of the literature in their field of interest, and the writing of a major research paper.


Two times per week, in block 3; tutorials for ResMA students only in block 4.
Check timetable

Mode of instruction


Attendance and participation are obligatory. Classes missed for a good reason (to the discretion of the conveners and to be discussed BEFORE the class takes place) will have to be made up with an extra assignment. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the term end essay and a failing grade for the course.

Course Load

10 ects = 280 hours
Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars (2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours)
Extra contact hours for ResMA students: 6 hours
Time for studying the compulsory literature (6 hours x 12 weeks = 72 hours)
Time needed to do extra reading, to prepare for presentation and other assignments, to conduct research and write papers: 178 hours

Assessment method

Participation element (including attendance, assignments and presentation): 35%
Analytic element (position papers): 25%
Research element (research essay 4,500 words): 40%

The research essay is written in two stages: a first version, which will be commented on, and a final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the first version will lose the right to get comments and will only be graded based on their final version. Students who do not meet the deadline for the final version, will get a failing grade.

In order to pass the course, students must obtain an overall mark of 5.50 (=6) or higher. A new version of the final assignment may be written if the overall mark for the course is “5.49” (=5) or lower. If students take this option, they must choose an alternative topic. They will not be permitted to resubmit the same paper. The deadline for this version will be determined in consultation.

The course is an integrated whole. All categories must be completed in the same academic year. No partial marks can be carried over into following years.


Blackboard plays an essential part in this course. All important information about the course, including the syllabus, course requirements, course readings and announcements will be available on the course website. As part of class participation, students will also be required to make postings on the Blackboard website. Blackboard access is therefore essential in order to complete this course.

see for more info Blackboard

Note: there is no separate Blackboard page available for this ResMa course. Please subscribe to the Blackboard page of the regular MA course.


See Blackboard, Course Documents.


Students are required to register through uSis. To avoid mistakes and problems, students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetable in the column under the heading “Act.nbr.”.

Not being registered, means no permission to attend this course. See also the ‘Registration procedures for classes and examinations’ for registration deadlines and more information on how to register.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.




Students with disabilities

The university is committed to supporting and accommodating students with disabilities as stated in the university protocol (especially pages 3-5). Students should contact Fenestra Disability Centre at least four weeks before the start of their courses to ensure that all necessary academic accomodations can be made in time conform the abovementioned protocol.

Academic Integrity

Students are expected to be familiar with Leiden University policies on plagiarism and academic integrity. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. If you submit any work with your name affixed to it, it is assumed to be your own work with all sources used properly indicated and documented in the text (with quotations and/or citations).