Japanese Language and Literature Courses

Japanese 1A is designed to develop basic Japanese language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students will learn the Japanese writing system: hiragana, katakana and approximately 150 kanji. At the end of the course, students should be able to greet, invite, compare, and describe persons and things, activities, intensions, ability, experience, purposes, reasons, and wishes. Grades will be determined on the basis of attendance, quiz scores, homework and class participation.

Japanese 1B is designed to develop basic skills acquired in Japanese 1A further. Students will learn approximately 150 new kanji. At the end of the course students should be able to express regret, positive and negative requirements, chronological order of events, conditions, giving and receiving of objects and favors, and to ask and give advice. Grades will be determined on the basis of attendance, quiz scores, homework and class participation. Prerequisites: Japan 1A 

This course is an overview of Japanese literature and culture, 7th- through 18th-centuries. 7A begins with Japan's early myth-history and its first poetry anthology, which show the transition from a preliterate, communal society to a courtly culture. Noblewomen's diaries, poetry anthologies, and selections from the Tale of Genji offer a window into that culture. We examine how oral culture and high literary art mix in Kamakura period tales and explore representations of heroism in military chronicles and medieval Noh drama. After considering the linked verse of late medieval times, we read vernacular literature from the urban culture of the Edo period. No previous course work in Japanese literature, history, or language is expected.

This course is intended to train students who wish to acquire reading fluency in the Japanese language in a short time period and therefore dispenses with all components not germane to that goal. Prior knowledge of fundamental first-year grammar and vocabulary is required as this course will start at the second-year level and run parallel with our full-language second-year courses, covering the same reading materials as used in J10A-B. The course will be conducted in English and students’ comprehension will be examined and analyzed in terms of Japanese-to-English translation. By completion of J10RB, students will be functional readers of Japanese for general purposes. Prerequisites: Japanese 1B or equivalent

The goal of this course is for the students to understand the language and culture required to communicate effectively in Japanese. Some of the cultural aspects covered are; geography, speech style, technology, sports, food, and religion. Through the final project, students will learn how to discuss social issues and their potential solutions. In order to achieve these goals, students willlearn how to integrate the basic linguistics knowledge they acquired in J1, as well as study new structures and vocabulary. An increasing amount of reading and writing, including approximately 200 new kanji, will also be required. Prerequisites: Japan 1 or Japan 1B

This course is designed specifically for heritage learners who possess high fluency in casual spoken Japanese but little reading and writing abilities. It introduces formal speech styles, reinforces grammatical accuracy, and improves reading and writing competencies through materials derived from various textual genres. Students will acquire the amounts of vocabulary, grammar, and kanji equivalent to those of Japan 10A and Japan 10B. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor

Introduction to Japanese culture from its origins to the present: premodern historical, literary, artistic, and religious developments, modern economic growth, and the nature of contemporary society, education, and business. Class conducted in English.

This course will develop further context-specific skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. It concentrates on students using acquired grammar and vocabulary with more confidence in order to express functional meanings, while increasing overall linguistic competence. Students will learn approximately 200 new Kanji. There will be a group or individual project. Course materials include the textbook supplemented by newspapers, magazine articles, short stories, and video clips which will provide insight into Japanese culture and society. Prerequisites: Japan 10 or Japan 10B

Students develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills further to think critically, to express their points of view, and to understand Japanese culture and society in depth The readings are mainly articles on current social issues from Japanese newspapers, magazines, and professional books as sources of discussions. Students are required to write short essays on topics related to the reading materials. Prerequisites: Japan 100, Japan 100B, or Japan 100X; or consent of instructor

An introductory look at the culture, values, and history of religious traditions in Japan, covering the Japanese sense of the world physically and culturally, its native religious culture called Shinto, the imported continental traditions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism, the arrival and impact of Christianity in the 16th century and the New Religions of the 19th and 20th centuries. Focus will be on how the internal structure of Buddhist and Confucian values were negotiated with long-established views of mankind and society in Japan, how Japan has been changed by these foreign notions of the individual’s place in the world, particularly Buddhism, and why many see contemporary Japan as a post-religious society.

An introduction to classical Japanese (bungo), the premodern vernacular, which was used as Japan's literary language until well into the 20th century and remains essential for a thorough grounding in Japanese literature and culture. Prerequisites: Japanese 10 or Japanese 10B

This course examines the historical production and reception of key Japanese literary and film texts; how issues of gender, ethnicity, social roles, and national identity specific to each text address changing economic and social conditions in postwar Japan. Prerequisites: Japanese 100A (may be taken concurrently).

This course deals with issues of the structure of the Japanese language and how they have been treated in the field of linguistics. It focuses on phonetics/phonology, morphology, writing systems, dialects, lexicon, and syntax/semantics, historical changes, and genetic origins. Students are required to have intermediate knowledge of Japanese. No previous linguistics training is required. Prerequisites: Japan 10, Japan 10B or Japan 10X

An overview of the concepts of theoretical, contrastive, and practical linguistics which form the basis for work in translation between Japanese and English through hands-on experience. Topics include translatability, various kinds of meaning, analysis of the text, process of translating, translation techniques, and theoretical background. Prerequisites: Japanese 100, Japanese 100B, or Japanese 100X; or equivalent

This course will examine the works of the novelist Murakami Haruki and the animator Miyazaki Hayao within the context of contemporary Japanese aesthetics and history. Both Murakami and Miyazaki debuted in 1979 and their work has very much defined Japan’s cultural experience from the tail end of the Era of High Growth Economics through the Bubble Era, the Lost Decade, and into the twenty-first century. Students will explore the works of these two figures in the context of the history of Japanese literature and film and its relation to larger political, social, and cultural trends of Japan from the 1980s to the present.

The course considers the different literary, social and ethical formations that arise or are destroyed in disaster. It explores how Japanese literature and media, before and after 3:11, attempt to translate the un-representable, and in so doing, to create a new type of literacy about 1) trauma and the temporality of disaster, 2) precarity, community and the public sphere and 3) sustainabilityand ecological scale. The course will pay particular attention to a range of works that explicitly or obliquely reframe iconic or popular representations of disasters in cinema, literature and other media, taking into account of the readiness with which certain cultural forms lend themselves to vistas of disaster.

This course is a lecture and discussion course focusing on Japanese animation, or anime, as a medium from its earliest forms to contemporary works. This semester the theme is Auteurs of Anime

Topics may include examples from the Noh, Kyogen, Joruri, or Kabuki theaters. Prerequisites: Two semesters of classical Japanese