Many people continue to voice the idea that the Japanese have a special relationship with nature while thinking, for example, of Japanese gardens and the deification of natural objects such as trees and rocks. The triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that occurred in 2011 has challenged that perspective. Yet few are aware of the tremendous human impact on the environment of the Japanese archipelago and its surrounding regions in both premodern and modern times. In this course we will place Japanese environmental history into a wider context while examining how economic, social, and cultural forces have had an impact on the natural environment. Topics include premodern deforestation and water management, the toxic effluvia of mining, mercury poisoning, nuclear contamination, and changes in disease patterns.