Japanese Language and Literature Courses

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 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; or consent of instructor.

This class explores major literary writers of modern Japan and introduces important cultural contexts from the Meiji Restoration (1868) into the 21st century. Analytic focus is determined by the key directions of the texts themselves, resulting in a wide range of topics including problems with individualism, definitions of the beautiful, moral weakness / strength, conundrums in apprehending or narrating truth, revenge, and aimlessness. Readings might include Higuchi (short fiction), Tanizaki (short fiction), Soseki (short fiction & novel: Kokoro), Kawabata (short fiction & novel: Snow Country), Dazai (novel: No Longer Human), Mishima (novel: Temple of the Golden Pavilion), A-Bomb literature (short fiction), Oe (novel: A Personal Matter), and Murakami (short fiction). All readings are in English translation. Students write analytic essays as part of the courseThis class uses an “Active Learning Classroom” approach. Most course content is delivered outside the classroom via reading assignments and online lectures. In-class time is often exercises. Attendance is critical. No prerequisites. Open to all.

The goal of this course is for the students to understand the more advanced language and culture required to communicate effectively in Japanese. Some of the cultural aspects covered are; pop-culture, traditional arts, education, convenient stores, haiku, and history. Through the final project, students will learn how to introduce their own cultures and their influences. In order to achieve these goals, students will learn how to integrate the basic structures and vocabulary they acquired in the previous semesters, as well as study new linguistic expressions. An increasing amount of more advanced reading and writing, including approximately 200 new kanji, will also be required. Prerequisites: Japan 10A; or consent of instructor.

This course provides a general introduction to contemporary Japanese society and culture.  We will explore various aspects of contemporary Japan, from everyday things to political issues, learning from basic scholarly works on Japan and using popular films (in English).  Topics include popular culture and technologies, family and gender matters, education and socialization, Japanese identity and diversity, fashion and tradition.  The course offers not only ethnographic details of lives in Japan but also introduces the key concepts that are crucial for understanding Japanese society and culture in depth. Prerequisites: none.

This course aims to 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, essays, and video clips which will provide insight into Japanese culture and society. Prerequisites: Japan 100A; or consent of instructor.

Students will be trained to read, analyze, and translate modern Japanese scholarship on Chinese subjects. A major purpose of the course is to prepare students to take reading examinations in Japanese. The areas of scholarship to be covered are: politics, popular culture, religion, sociology and history as well as areas suggested by students who are actively engaged in research projects. Two readings in selected areas will be assigned, one by the instructor and the second by a student participant. Prerequisites: Graduate student standing; Japan 10B and Chinese 100B or equivalents.

This course helps heritage learners of Japanese who have completed 10X to develop further their linguistic and cultural competencies. More sophisticated linguistic forms are introduced and reinforced while dealing with various socio-cultural topics. Close reading knowledge and skills, formal and informal registers, and different genres of Japanese reading and writing are practiced. The materials covered are equivalent to those of 100A-100B. Prerequisites: Japan 10X; or consent of instructor.

Students develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills further while examining Japanese historical figures, events, background, stories, etc. Students read a variety of texts and watch videos related to Japanese history as sources for discussions to deepen their understanding of Japanese society, culture, and people from historical perspectives. Students conduct individual research on a topic in Japanese history, and write a short research paper. Prerequisites: Japanese 100, Japanese 100B, or Japanese 100X; or consent of instructor.

A critical survey of the main themes in the history of Japanese Buddhism as they are treated in modern scholarship. The course covers the transmission of Buddhism from China and Korea to Japan; the subsequent evolution in Japan of the Tendai, Shingon, Pure Land, Nichiren, and Zen schools of Buddhism; the organization and function of Buddhist institutions (monastic and lay) in Japanese society; the interaction between Buddhism and other modes of religious belief and practice prevalent in Japan, notably those that go under the headings of "Shinto" and "folk religion." Prerequistes: None.

This course is an introduction to the study of medieval Buddhist literature written in Classical Japanese in its wabun (aka bungo) and kanbun forms (including kakikudashi). The class will read samples from a variety of genres, including material written in China that are read in an idiosyncratic way in Japan. Reading materials may include Chinese translations of Sanskrit and Central Asian Buddhist scriptures, scriptural commentaries written in China and Korea, Japanese subcommentaries on influential Chinese and Korean commentaries, philosophical treatises, hagiography, apologetics, histories, doctrinal letters, preaching texts, and setsuwa literature. This course is intended for students who already have some facility in literary Japanese. Prior background in Buddhist history and thought is helpful but not required. Prerequisite: Japanese 120; or consent of instructor.

In J155 we read in the original language modern Japanese short stories by highly regarded authors from the Meiji through Heisei periods. The stories for this class are selected based primarily on these two qualities: distinct contrasts in written style and inherent interest of theme. Learning focus: Since we read in the original Japanese, there are inevitably questions of vocabulary and grammar. Our primary activity, however, is considering how sentence structure, rhythm, pace, word choice and dialect support a work's success as a literary object. Since we read a large number of short stories, the overall structure of the course also functions as an introduction to a variety of Japanese authors of merit. This class uses an “Active Learning Classroom” approach. Most course content is delivered outside the classroom via reading assignments and online lectures. In-class time is often exercises. Attendance is critical. Prerequisites: Completed or concurrent enrollment in J100B (as a minimum), or consent of instructor.

This course deals with issues of the usage of the Japanese language and how they have been treated in the field of linguistics. It concentrates on pragmatics, modality/evidentiality, deixis, speech varieties (politeness, gender, written vs. spoken), conversation management, and rhetorical structure. Students are required to have intermediate knowledge of Japanese. No previous linguistics training is required. Prerequisites: Japan 10, Japan 10B, or Japan 10X; or consent of instructor.

This course is a lecture and discussion course focusing on Japanese animation, or anime, as a medium from its earliest forms to contemporary works. We will think through issues of digital culture, seriality, transnational circulations, and the relation between anime, manga (comics), gaming and cinema; limited and full animation; cultural disaster and the post-war; bodies and sexuality, and queer/yaoi (BL) and otaku culture, as well as anime's place within contemporary media theory. We will view works by Miyazaki Hayao, Kon Satoshi, Anno Hideaki, Oshii Mamoru, and many others.