This class tried to balance economics and history of Japan, but utterly does a terrible job at both. The economics Weinstein covers in class is a rehash of Intermediate Micro/Macro, not really unique economics with respect to Japan. The history portion is really interesting before the midterm but afterward becomes unbearable as Weinstein conflates Japanese economic history with just the development of the Japanese banking system, which I guess makes sense for all the Goldman Sachs bros in the class. So if you want to learn about banking history in Japan since the 20th century, consider this class. The material is pretty much empirical for anything non-banking while there's tons of dates and data for the Japanese financial industry. I don't think that's a testament to the Japanese economy.

Lectures are pretty boring, especially since it's an 8:40, and Weinstein doesn't exactly have the most exciting voice nor slides.

Don't get me wrong, the professor is really friendly and has a passion for the material. The class overall is a pain that doesn't seem difficult, except the TAs for the classes are such a pain in grading. They're helpful. The review sessions they hosted would have been phenomenal, if it hadn't been that what they covered was not at all in the midterm/final. Rather, Weinstein puts some questions on random papers in the syllabus and will expect you to be able to cite some of these in the exams.

The research paper is fine, tolerable, not really much complain for it.

Course recommendation: 5/10
Difficulty: 8/10

Not sure if the trouble for this as a global core/economics elective is worth it though.

Workload:

1 Midterm (reasonably difficult)
1 Final (harshly graded)
1 Paper (if you start writing a week before deadline, you'll be fine)
4 Problem Sets (3-5 hrs)