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 contemporary Japanese culture and society.  Various aspects of contemporary Japan will be explored through a readingof  basic scholarly works on Japan and watching popular films (in English).  Topics include popular culture and technology, family and gender matters, education and socialization, Japanese identity and diversity, fashion and tradition, globalization and localization.  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.

This course provides students an opportunity to develop their reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills in order to express their opinions in argumentative discourse. Students read and discuss a variety of Japanese texts to deepen their understanding of Japanese society and people and to improve their intercultural communicative competence.

Prerequisites: Japan 100, Japan 100B, or Japan 100X; or consent of instructor

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 will 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.

Prerequisites: Japanese 120. One semester of classical Japanese. Prior background in Buddhist history and thought is helpful, but not required

This course will introduce students to the world of early modern Japanese travel writing through a close examination of Matsuo Bashō's 1702 Oku no hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Deep North).  We will read Bashō's poetic travel account in the original as well as look at how Bashō was influenced by earlier writers and how his work and life were understood during the eighteenth century.

This course is an introduction to Japanese modernism through the reading and discussion of representative short stories, poetry, and criticism of the Taisho and early Showa periods. We will examine the aesthetic bases of modernist writing and confront the challenge posed by their use of poetic language. The question of literary form and the relationship between poetry and prose in the works will receive special attention.

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. Studentswill 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) sustainability and 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.

Topics run from Japan's earliest extant poetic anthologies in Chinese (Kaifuso) or Japanese (Man'yoshu) to medieval linked verse (renga) and Edo haikai.

Reading and critical evaluation of selected texts in postwar (roughly the 1940s through the present) Japanese literature and literary and cultural criticism. Texts change with each offering of the course.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing and permission of instructor