Japanese Course Descriptions
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
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
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
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.
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
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.)
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.
back to top