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. Note: Enroll in Japanese 1A if you have minimal or no knowledge of Japanese.

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. 

An introduction to Japanese literature in translation in a two-semester sequence. 7B provides a survey of important works of 19th- and 20th-century Japanese fiction, poetry, and cultural criticism. The course will explore the manner in which writers responded to the challenges of industrialization, internationalization, and war. Topics include the shifting notions of tradition and modernity, the impact of Westernization on the constructions of the self and gender, writers and the wartime state, literature of the atomic bomb, and postmodern fantasies and aesthetics. All readings are in English translation. Techniques of critical reading and writing will be introduced as an integral part of the course.

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.

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 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.

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.

In this course, students will practice various techniques to read articles in Japanese on current issues in Japan, and they will learn about Japanese conceptions of the world and how Japanese society functions. They may want to compare what they have learned with similar issues in their own countries to deepen their understanding of the issues and develop their critical thinking ability. They will also learn more advanced Japanese grammar and increase their vocabulary. \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 the critical analysis and translation of traditional Japanese poetry, a genre that reaches from early declarative work redolent of an even earlier oral tradition to medieval and Early Modern verses evoking exquisitely differentiated emotional states via complex rhetoric and literary allusion. Topics may include examples of Japan's earliest poetry in Man'yoshu, Heian courtly verse in Kokinshu, lines from Shinkokinshu with its medieval mystery and depth, linked verse (renga), and the haikai of Basho and his circle. Prerequisites: Japanese 120 or consent of instructor.

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) 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.

This year's seminar will examine the formation of the major Buddhist traditions in Japan from the seventh through twentieth centuries. There will be reviews of the premodern and modern source material, both in their original linguistic form (Japanese and Chinese) and in terms of Western-language scholarship, but the required readings for the course will be entirely in English. Class discussions will focus on how the authority of traditions were established, legitimated, and defined in the ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern/postmodern periods. The nature of Buddhist Studies scholarship in modern Japan and its relationship to these traditional forms of faith, study, practice, and sectarianism will also be included. The readings will proceed chronologically, and each student will be expected to pick, in consultation with the instructor, a week (or two, depending on enrollment) in which s/he will present on that week’s readings. Prerequisites: C115 ("Japanese Buddhism") or consent of instructor.