Course Description

May 13, 2024 - June 6, 2024

This course promotes competence and appreciation of graphic narratives and moving images by examining selected superheroes from Japanese manga and anime and from American comics and movies. Students will explore the historical, socio-political, cultural, racial, and gender issues of these superheroes, following their path from creation to modern day. The course combines lectures with reading and writing assignments, as well as active participation in viewing the examples of manga, anime, comics, and movies in the class. By examining media from Japan and the United States, we will explore the depth of superheroes as they evolve in different social, political, and cultural climates. This course will challenge students to look deeply into Japanese culture and their own culture. We will examine the underlying themes from these media and make connections between the themes and broader societal issues. Questions we will engage in include: How did superheroes originate in the United States and what were their historical, cultural, and social significance? What was the path for manga and anime Japanese superheroes, and what was their impact on American popular culture? What are common themes in anime and manga, and how do they differ from American-style superhero comics and movies? What representations of diversity appear or do not appear, and what are the implications on readers? How do art, storytelling, and superheroes impact society and/or broader social issues?

Program Instructor:

Dr. Mark R. Martell     

Program Assistant:

Alyson Kung     



The syllabus is finalized and available at Click on the link that says "Readings," and you should be able to access the syllabus there. Be sure to read it thoroughly. Please be flexible just in case we have to modify things when we are in Tokyo.


1000 Yen for the Ghibli ticket

1000 Yen for the Hiroshima Breakfast

You will receive 2000 Yen at the Cultural Orientation Session on May 15th.


You will receive your ICOCA Card either during the hotel check-in or at the Cultural Orientation Session.

Tokyo Subway Map (like the Chicago El) -

JR Rail (like the Metra or Amtrak) -


Meals included in the program costs are listed below. The rest of the meals are on your own:

Welcome Dinner

Group Dinner after Hiroshima

Farewell Dinner

(Tips included)

Students with any dietary requirements should note that on the Study Abroad portal. That is the only way we can make sure special requirements are provided. Also, be sure to complete everything else on the portal (passport info, flight info, etc.).


Participants should arrive at Haneda Airport (HND) between the hours of 4:00PM to 6:00PM to access the private coach bus. Meet the Guide in Terminal 3. Look for someone holding a UIC sign. Those arriving much earlier can look for Alyson Kung and wait for the rest of the group who are arriving after 3:00 p.m. or travel to the hotel on their own. It will take around 1.5 - 2 hours to go through immigration and customs and to grab luggage, so the driver won’t depart until the last student gets on the bus. The driver will have a list of names. We will track your flights just in case it is delayed. If your flight gets delayed after 6:00 p.m. or if you arrive later than the designated time, you will need to travel on the train.


You should have received an email from Irina from Study Abroad asking you to purchase your tickets for Tokyo. You must purchase a ticket to Haneda Airport that leaves on May 13th; you will land in Tokyo on May 14th. The program ends on June 6th; you may return to the U.S. or venture on your own elsewhere.


Once your registration ticket opens, please register for GLAS 290 CRN 24602 for 3 credit hours. 


There has been a change regarding the Ghibli Museum outing. The program won't be able to purchase tickets because each Purchaser is limited to six tickets, and with about twenty of you participating, it will be difficult for UIC or the Japan partner to purchase them. Also, the Purchaser will need their passport to pick up tickets. Hence, this is what will occur:

Each student will be given 1000 yen ($6 USD), at the Orientation session in Tokyo, for the cost of the ticket to keep the overall program cost the same. The student can use that 1000 yen for something else or use it for a ticket to the Ghibli Museum to visit on their own.

If you opt to visit the museum, you must order your tickets ahead at and click on "Sales online by LAWSON TICKET." Please note that tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. (Japan Standard Time) on the 10th of each month for the following month. For example: Tickets for April 1st through April 30th went on sale on March 10th. 

Therefore, if you want to go in May while we are there, you will need to purchase your ticket online on April 9th at 8pm (Chicago time). For June dates, you will need to purchase on May 9th at 8pm (Chicago time). 

Please note that the museum will be closed May 7, 13-24, 28, and June 4 so it is advised that you go at your leisure when we are not in class or we are not on a cultural excursion. Potential Dates you can go on your own: May 25, 26, Jun 1, 2, 3​.

Because you won't be able to purchase your ticket until April anyway, you have time to coordinate and plan once the program schedule is finalized in a forthcoming date. Please note that it takes 1.5 hours on the train to get to the museum from the hotel. Remember: You will need your passport to pick up your ticket as a Purchaser. I wish there were an easier way to collectively order tickets, but that is not the case, so I hope you understand. 

Past Events

GLAS 290 Tokyo Study Abroad Meet & Greet Social

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

723 W Maxwell (UIC Asian American Resource and Cultural Center)

Food will be served.

Students, faculty, and staff who will be participating in the GLAS 290 Tokyo Study Abroad experience will gather to meet each other. Final details will be shared, and students will meet their roommates and will have opportunities to ask questions before the May departure

GLAS 290 Tokyo Study Abroad Counseling Center Q&A Session

Thursday, March 7, 2024

12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.

723 W Maxwell (UIC Asian American Resource and Cultural Center)

Food will be served.

Committed students of the Tokyo summer program are invited to hear from UIC’s Counseling Center Dr. Mengxi Yin about first-hand experiences living in Japan, tips on navigating Tokyo culture, and advice on best practices to keep one’s mental health balanced before, during, and after the Tokyo experience.

GLAS 290 Tokyo Study Abroad Info Session

Thursday, February 8, 2024

7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


Open to new interested students or students who have already applied. New details and Tokyo tips will be shared. This session will be held on Zoom. Please come with questions.

To watch the Zoom video of the last info session, please click here and log in with your UIC Zoom credentials -