JAPN 1216 Popular Culture of Japan (4 Credits)
In this course we examine and analyze the emergence of particular forms of mass-produced culture, or culture for mass consumption, in Japan from the early modern period to the present. Using a variety of cultural materials enjoyed from the early modern period (1600-1868,) during which Japanese society underwent extensive urbanization, secularization, and cultural commodification, through to the present, the course focuses on overarching themes: media and information technology (woodblock printing, newspapers, and the internet); entertainment and gender (the all-male kabuki theatre and all-female Takarazuka revue); commodified romance; fiction (illustrated fiction, manga, and novels); anime and television fandom; healer-bots and cyborgs. No knowledge of Japanese required. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.
JAPN 1616 Samurai and Merchants: Cultures of Tokugawa Japan (4 Credits)
Introduction to the cultures of Tokugawa, Japan, focusing on the tension between the samurai and merchant classes, the images they construct of self and other, and the morals and mores of their respective worlds. As well as examining Tokugawa fiction, drama, and other cultural artifacts, this course also considers later representation of the period and of its people in twenty- and twenty-first-century text, cinema, and television to understand the importance of contemporary influences on historical representation. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement. Offered in English.
JAPN 1816 Classical Japanese Literature (4 Credits)
The course covers one thousand years of Japanese writing, including a myth-history detailing the origins of Japan, the development of the rich poetic tradition, female diaries, the classic The Tale of Genji, medieval tales of wars and hermits, the nô drama, and the haiku and travel diaries. It will focus on such key binaries as orality and literacy, poetry and prose, native and foreign, popular and high-brow, and masculine and feminine. The course will also stress principles of literary analysis and interpretation. No knowledge of Japanese required. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.