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Courses

Japanese Course Descriptions


Language Courses

JPN 1, 2 Elementary Japanese
Pronunciation, basic grammar, and conversation. An introduction to modern written Japanese, including hiragana and katakana syllabaries and some kanji. No previous knowledge of Japanese required. Members of the Department

JPN 3, 4 Intermediate Japanese
Continuation of Elementary Japanese. Emphasis on grammar, reading, writing, and conversation. Prerequisite: Japanese 2 or equivalent. Members of the Department

JPN 21, 22 Reading and Conversation
Continuation of Intermediate Japanese with more emphasis on reading, writing, and conversation. A considerable portion of the class will be conducted in Japanese. Prerequisite: Japanese 4 or consent. Members of the Department

JPN 93, 94 Directed Study
Guided independent study in Japanese language and culture. Prior consent of instructor is required.

JPN 95, 96 Teaching Internship
For students who have acquired a good command of Japanese, i.e. completion of Japanese 22 (minimum). Students learn basic principles of language pedagogy through in-class instruction and an on-site practicum. All students teach weekly Japanese language and culture courses at local public schools. Enrollment limited to 10. Initial screening required. Prerequisite: Japanese 021 and concurrent 121 or above. Morita

JPN 121, 122 Advanced Japanese
Discussion of Japanese literary and nonliterary texts in Japanese. Prerequisite: Japanese 22 or equivalent. Morita

JPN 123, 124 Advanced Readings in Japanese Culture
For students with a good command of Japanese. Fiction, poetry, film, newspaper articles, and essays. Course work includes oral and written reports. Prerequisite: Japanese 122 or equivalent. Kiyomi


Literature and Culture Courses Taught in Japanese

JPN 191, 192 Seminar on Special Topics in Japanese
An intensive reading course on selected topics. Conducted entirely in Japanese. Prerequisite: Japanese 124 or equivalent. Hirata, Inouye


Courses Taught in English

JPN 61 An Introduction to Japanese Culture
Fundamental principles of Japanese thought and sensibility: animism and communion with nature and the dead, transience, the beauty of sorrow. China as a source of high culture. Focus on the Noh plays and their literary sources. Cross-cultural comparisons. Taught in English. No prerequisites. (May be taken at the 100 level with consent; see Japanese 161 below.) Inouye

JPN 62 Modern Japanese Literature
A study of modernity and the meaning of post-modernity. Crucial Japanese texts from 1600 to the Second World War. Taught in English. No prerequisites. (May be taken at the 100 level with consent; see Japanese 162 below.) Inouye, Hirata

JPN 63 Postwar Japanese Literature: Modern to Postmodern
Introduction to representative writers of the postwar period, including Tanizaki, Kawabata, Tsushima, and Murakami. Examines the nature of Japanese culture after 1945, focusing on such issues as the devastation of the War, the effect of the occupation, the "economic miracle" of reconstruction, and changing work and gender roles. Taught in English. No prerequisites. (May be taken at the 100 level with consent; see Japanese 163 below.) Hirata, Inouye

JPN 80 Japanese Film
Survey of important Japanese films, including internationally renowned works by the "masters," Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Kurosawa; the 60's avant-garde cinema of Oshima and Shinoda; and some innovative works by contemporary filmmakers, such as Itami and Morita. Understanding Japanese culture through its cinema and exploring that cinema's relation to Western cultural hegemony. Taught in English. No prerequisites. Napier

JPN 81 The World of Japanese Animation: Culture, Cult, and Commerce
The themes, directors, and imagery of Japanese animation (anime). Analysis of animation as a medium. Discussion of relation between manga and anime and cultural roots of both media. Study of major themes--elegiac, carnival-esque, and apocalyptic. From prewar military propaganda to the contemporary work of Satoshi Kon, Hayao Miyazaki, Mamoru Oshii and Katsuhiro Otomo. The anime industry and the spread of anime worldwide. A consideration of otaku culture. Taught in English. Napier

JPN 91, 92 Special Topics
Courses on selected themes and authors. Conducted in English.  Some recently taught Special Topics:

  • Japanese Popular Culture
  • Fantasy and Japanese Culture
  • Cultural Legacies of the Atomic Bomb
  • Woman’s Film and Literature in Japan
  • East-Asian Cinema
  • Japanese Animation
  • Gender and Identity in Japanese Popular Culture
  • Love and Sexuality in Japanese and Russian Literatures
  • Ethnic Narratives of Japan and Korea

JPN 110 Major Japanese Writers
A Study of major Japanese men and women novelists - their major works and their social contexts. Selection of authors will change year to year. Includes Natsume Soseki, Enchi Fumiko, Mishima Yukio, Kawabata Yasunari, Oe Kenzaburo, Yoshimoto Banana, Murakami Haruki. No prerequisites. Hirata, Inouye

JPN 111 Japanese Poetry: from Traditional to Avant-Garde
A Study of Japanese Poetry, from its classical forms of waka and haiku to its modern transformations through various Western modernist movements. By encompassing both classical and modern modes of Japanese poetry, we investigate how the function of poetry in society has changed through history. The course also addresses the reciprocal relationship between Western and Japanese poetics. Taught in English. No prerequisites. Hirata

JPN 112 Major Japanese Film Directors
An in-depth study of one or two important Japanese film directors, such as Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, and Nagisa Oshima. Prerequisite: Japanese 80 or consent. Enrollment limited to 15. Taught in English. Napier

JPN 113 Japanese Visual Culture
Examination of the roots of manga (comic books) and anime (animation) through a study of the Japanese narrative tradition and its close ties to the visual arts. Emphasis on illustrated gesaku (frivolous letters) texts, the theater, and the woodblock prints of the Edo and Meiji periods. Comparisons with the manga of Osamu Tezuka, and with the anime of Miyazaki Hayao. Inouye

JPN 114 Gender in Japanese Culture
The role of femininity and masculinity in Japanese culture, from the writings of Muraskai Shikibu, creator of "The Tale of Genji" to the heroines of contemporary Japanese animation (anime). Our sources will include , literature, film, essays, television series, manga (comics) and anime. The role of women as a repository of tradition, the use of women in contemporary horror films, the rise and fall of the iconic salaryman, the crisis in contemporary masculinity, and issues in queer sexuality. Taught in English. Napier

JPN 115 Haruki Murakami
In-depth study of one of the most important contemporary Japanese writers, Haruki Murakami. Readings: A Wild Sheep Chase, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Norwegian Wood, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, etc. Murakami’s status as an international writer. His relation to American Literature. No prerequisite. In English.

JPN 116 The Writings of Natsume Soseki
The essays and novels of the brilliant yet tortured Natsume Soseki , one of modern Japan's most important writers. A consideration of his turbulent times and of his major themes--woman as oasis, modern masculinity, redemption, the omnipresent allure of death. An assessment of his role in the formation of the modern Japanese literary canon. Taught in English. Napier

JPN 0117 Horror and Reverence in Japanese Culture
Examination Japan's long tradition of monstrosity and horror, "Japanese gothic." The earliest texts to contemporary treatments: literature, film, anime, manga, painting, popular culture. The influence of animism on fear as both reverence and horror. Consideration given to each side of this duality, and attention to the dynamism that destroys the distance between one and the other.

JPN 0118 Haruki Murakami and World Literature
(Cross-listed as ILVS 118). Comparative study of Haruki Murakami's literature in the context of World Literature. How some Western writers' works have shaped Murakami's work. How literature travels the globe, breaking national boundaries. The writers to be examined may include, besides Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut, Raymond Chandler, Raymond Carver, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Franz Kafka, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Dostoevsky. Freud, Girard, Karatani, Nietzsche, Damrosch, and others, provide theoretical insights. Taught in English. No prerequisites.

JPN 161 An Introduction to Japanese Culture
(See Japanese 61 for course description.) For 161, additional readings in the original Japanese; extra class meeting. Inouye

JPN 162 Modern Japanese Literature
(See Japanese 62 for course description.) For 162, additional readings in the original Japanese; extra class meeting. Inouye

JPN 163 Postwar Japanese Literature: Modern to Postmodern
(See Japanese 63 for course description.) For 163, additional readings in the original Japanese; extra class meeting. Hirata

JPN 170 The “Orient” in the Mind of the West
Two centuries of the role of Asia in the Western mind. Edward' Said's "Orientalism" and its subsequent critiques. The "Orient" vis a vis the West in global power relations. Rudyard Kipling's "Kim", Puccinis's "Madama Butterfly" and tropes of Asia. How these stereotypes have played out in both high and popular Western culture. Student research papers and class presentations on the interflow of images between the civilizations of the West and those of China, India, and Japan. Napier

JPN 191, 192 Seminar on Special Topics
Special seminar on selected topics in Japanese literature and culture conducted in English. Contingent on the approval by the IR program, it may satisfy the IR seminar requirement. Enrollement limited to 15. Hirata, Inouye

Some recently taught seminars:

  • Japan and Postmodernism
  • Modernization and Japanese Literature

JPN 193, 194 Advanced Directed Study
Guided independent study of Japanese language and culture for advanced students. Prior consent of instructor is required.

JPN 198, 199 Honors Thesis


Japan Related Courses from other Departments

Art and Art History

11 Buddhist Art. (Cross-listed as Religion 11.)
A survey of the Buddhist art of India, China, and Japan. Painting, sculpture, and architecture in relation to changing liturgical requirements. Changes in form and iconography that occurred when Buddhism encountered indigenous traditions. Offered in alternate years. Kaminishi

10 Japanese Art and the West.
Artistic exchange between Japan and the West from the sixteenth century to the present. Focus on Japan's Occidentalism and the West's Japonisme movements; also Japanese nationalists' rebellion against cultural and artistic invasions from the West. Major artists include Hokusai, Degas, Aoki Shigeru, and Van Gogh. (May be taken at 100 level with consent; see below.) Kaminishi

14 The Arts of Japan. (Cross-listed as Religion 14.)
Study of traditional painting, sculpture, architecture, and ceramics from pre-Buddhist times to the Meiji Restoration (1868). Particular focus on national modes of expression developed in response to foreign cultural influences. Offered in alternate years. Kaminishi

15 Japanese Architecture. (Cross-listed as Religion 15.) Historical survey of major developments in Japanese religious and secular architecture and gardens from pre-Buddhist times to the modern age. (May be taken at 100 level with consent; see below.) Kaminishi

107 Japanese Narrative Painting.
The concepts and development of this major genre of Japanese art from the Heian (794-1185) through the Edo (1615-1867) periods. Focus will be on the subjects, methods of representation, narrative devices, and the relationship between text and image. Trips to museum collections. Prerequisite: Art History 14 or consent. Kaminishi

Religion

43 Asian Religions.
A survey of the living religions of Asia from a historical point of view. Special attention is given to historical development, the major tenets of faith, and the distinctive ceremonies. Religions studied include Shintoism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

45 Introduction to Buddhism.
The history, doctrines, and practices of Buddhism in India, Sri Lanka, China, Korea, and Japan. Philosophical theories of the Buddha, meditation, and nirvana. Aspects of Buddhist social and institutional history.

54 Japanese Religion.
A study of Shinto and Japanese Buddhism and their roles in Japanese society and culture, with attention to recent developments, including nationalistic Shinto and the new religions of Japan.

History

47 Japan to 1868.
Prehistoric times to the eve of the Meiji Restoration. Emphasis upon early continental ties; Shinto, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions; Japanese feudalism; struggles for control of land and peasants; the changing composition of the ruling class; incipient capitalism of the Tokugawa period; breakdown of the Tokugawa order. Primary materials used in translation. Leupp

48 Japan from 1868 to the Present.
From the eve of the Meiji Restoration to the twentieth century. Topics include the unequal treaties with Western powers, the Meiji Restoration, early industrialization, growth of the imperialist state, fascism, war, defeat, recovery, and recent role as a member of the Western camp. Leupp

123 Japanese History through Literature.
Reading and discussion of primary sources with both historical and literary interest, including representative samples of chronicles, courtly diaries, war tales, novels, kabuki dramas. Leupp

124 Tokugawa Japan. Japanese history from 1603 to 1868.
Emphasis upon the Tokugawa legacy to modern Japan. Topics include commercial growth, the urban tradition, feudal-bureaucratic rule, philosophical and religious thought, education, gender and sexuality, and peasant rebellions. Prerequisite: History 69 or consent. Leupp

125 Gender and Sexuality in Japanese History.
Discussion of ancient matriarchy, marriage customs, the status of women in ancient courtly and medieval military society, female samurai, childhood, initiation rites, monastic and samurai homosexuality, male and female prostitution, ruling-class "deployment" of sexuality, and the appeal of androgyny in theater and other arts. Leupp

Music

MUS 27 The Music of Asia.
Musical systems, musical instruments, music in its historical, social, and cultural context. Topics from the musical traditions of diverse Asian cultures. (May be taken at 100-level.)

Political Science

PS 131 Democracy and Capitalism in Japan.
Survey of contemporary politics and economics in Japan, Asia's oldest democracy and the world's second largest economy. Examines Japan's institutions (parties, the Diet, bureaucracy, courts); politics (elections, interest groups, social movements); and public policy (macroeconomics, social welfare, finance, labor, high technology, ecology, trade, defense). Compares Japan with East Asia, Western Europe, and the United States. Fujihira.

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