JPN 101 Beginning Japanese I

An introduction to the basics of spoken and written Japanese as a foundation for advanced study and proficiency in the language. Fundamental patterns of grammar and syntax are introduced together with a practical, functional vocabulary. Mastery of the katakana and hiragana syllabaries, as well as approximately seventy written characters, introduces students to the beauty of written Japanese.

JPN 102 Beginning Japanese II

A continuation of JPN 101, this course is normally taken immediately following JPN 101 in order to provide a yearlong introduction to the language. Through dynamic exercises carried out inside and outside the classroom, students extend their proficiency in speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Japanese. An additional seventy written characters are introduced. Prerequisite(s): JPN 101.

JPN 109 Anime: Shojo and Society in Japanese Animation

Some refer to shojo animation as “girls’ anime,” but the figure of the shojo–an adolescent somewhere between girlhood and womanhood, has a complex role in Japanese storytelling and society. Who is the shojo? Is the shojo a “third gender?” Does the shojo hold a special role compared with other age and gender categories? Why is the shojo so often chosen as a figure who confronts social crises or bridges social gaps? This class will explore the age and gender category known as “shojo” primarily through the lens of animation, but occasionally making use of literature and manga as well. The class will focus on how adolescent girls in Japanese animation interact with social problems and crises such as gender role limitations, environmental crisis, natural disaster, and urbanization.

JPN 125 Japanese Literature and Society

This course examines major trends in Japanese literature and society from its beginnings to the modern period. Students consider well-known stories, plays, and novels from the classical, medieval, early modern, and modern periods, placing each text within its unique sociohistorical context. All readings are in English.

JPN 130 Japanese Horror Film: Silent Era to Present

Horror films are a familiar pop-culture touchstone, and many Americans are somewhat familiar with horror films from Japan. To deepen their appreciation of such films, students consider Japanese horror films in the context of genre theory and cinematic, psychological, social, political, and artistic elements. Students have the opportunity to think critically about popular films: What intellectual and artistic value do we find in genre films? How do we evaluate the claims of film scholars? Students also explore theory related to both filmic expression and horror themes, including psychoanalytic theory, feminist theory, film theory, and trauma theory. What does horror film say about the social, temporal, and cultural context from which it emerges? What does horror film say about filmmaking itself? How are formal filmic techniques used to express and induce fear and anxiety? No prior familiarity with Japan is required. Conducted in English.

JPN 201 Intermediate Japanese I

A continuation of JPN 102, the course stresses the acquisition of new and more complex spoken patterns, vocabulary building, and increasing knowledge of cultural context through role play, video, and varied reading materials. Approximately seventy-five new written characters are introduced. A range of oral as well as written projects and exercises provides a realistic context for language use. Prerequisite(s): JPN 102.

JPN 202 Intermediate Japanese II

A continuation of JPN 201, this course is normally taken immediately following JPN 201. It stresses further acquisition of complex spoken patterns, vocabulary and cultural knowledge through exercises in culturally realistic contexts. Students extend proficiency in the written language through writing projects and the introduction of approximately seventy-five new characters.

JPN 215 Film, Literature, and the Cultures of Postwar Japan

From monster movies to abstract poetry, this course explores the diverse cultural currents running through Japan’s era of high-speed growth during its dramatic economic recovery following the widespread destruction of World War II. Students examine some of the major literary, cinematic, and artistic movements of the period, their interrelationships, and their global reach and reception. Analysis of individual works considers broad thematic trends and choices made by postwar artists, including engagement with-or breaks from-the cultural and historical past; varying degrees of social engagement; and use of realism, experimentalism, or abstraction. Conducted in English.

JPN 261 Cultural History of Japan: From Jōmon Pottery to Manga

This course starts with two questions: What is cultural history? Has there been just one culture in the history of the Japanese isles? The course considers cultural features of the prehistoric Japanese isles and then explores the development of aristocratic, warrior, and mercantile cultures in premodern and early modern Japan, focusing on literature, the arts, and religion. The course then considers culture in modern Japan. How have the premodern arts informed the cultural development of modern Japan? How does popular culture reflect earlier cultural concerns while reformulating them in novel ways? The aim of the course is to promote critical engagement with Japanese cultures. Readings are in English, and no previous familiarity with Japanese culture is required.

JPN 263 Producing Gender in Japanese History: Theater, Literature, Religion, Thought, and Policing

How well does the gender binary describe cultural, religious, and linguistic identities and sexual relationships in premodern Japan? This course looks at gender identities and their conventions in premodern religious and political institutions as well as among professional entertainers, performers, and sex workers. Additional factors within these contexts are age and class. We will consider consent and the age of sexual maturity in the aristocratic court, boy entertainers in service at Buddhist temples and the shogun’s court, and gender onstage in public and private performances. To understand the fate of gender as Japanese society modernized according to European and North American models, the course will introduce material on the policing of gender identities in the Meiji Period. Sources will include well-known examples of Japanese literature as well as less known texts, supplemented with art and material history. There are no prerequisites. All materials will be in English.

JPN 305 Upper Intermediate Japanese

A continuation of JPN 202, this course completes the introduction of essential Japanese syntactic forms and sentence patterns and prepares students to read, write, and discuss a range of texts in Japanese. Students continue development of oral skills through culturally realistic exercises involving a range of topics. Emphasis is placed on increased competence in the written language. Prerequisite(s): JPN 202.

JPN 350 Topics in Advanced Japanese

Through the discussion and study of literary and non-literary texts on topics of student interest, faculty expertise, and current event, the course seeks to utilize, develop, and integrate skills acquired in the earlier stages of language learning. Through class presentations and discussion students further develop oral skills and expand their understanding of Japanese culture. Students may repeat the course for credit with instructor permission. Prerequisite(s): JPN 302 or 305.

JPN 360 Independent Study

JPN 457 Senior Thesis

An extended research project on a topic in Japanese literature, culture, or language utilizing some source materials in Japanese. Qualified students may, with approval of the Committee on Asian Studies, choose to write the thesis in Japanese. Students register for 457 in the fall semester or for 458 in the winter semester unless the committee gives approval for a two-semester project. Majors invited to pursue honors register for 457 and 458, contingent on the approval of the committee.

JPN 458 Senior Thesis

An extended research project on a topic in Japanese literature, culture, or language utilizing some source materials in Japanese. Qualified students may, with approval of the Committee on Asian Studies, choose to write the thesis in Japanese. Students register for 457 in the fall semester or for 458 in the winter semester unless the committee gives approval for a two-semester project. Majors invited to pursue honors register for 457 and 458, contingent on the approval of the committee.

JPN S25 Traditional Japanese Theater: Noh, Puppet Theater, and Kabuki

This course explores the rich tradition of Japanese theater, focusing the three major genres: Noh (and kyogen), puppet theatre, and kabuki. Reading, watching, and discussing representative plays from medieval to contemporary Japan, students learn how to analyze each play from both a literary and a performative point of view. The goal is to foster a deep understanding of the major traditions of Japanese theater while broadening students’ perspectives on the social and cultural contexts of these works. Recommended background: No previous knowledge of Japanese language or culture is required, but one course in Japanese language or Asian studies is advantageous.

JPN S27 Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The technologies of the industrial and postindustrial age have made possible a scale of destruction that seems impossible for human beings either to grasp or perhaps even to survive. Japan is the only nation to have experienced attack by atomic weapons. What is the role of art, literature, film, and journalism in expressing the “inexpressible” and possibly preventing its reoccurrence? This course examines Japanese and Korean responses to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Conducted in English.

JPN S29 Performing Fukushima: Theater and Film

In Japan in 2011, an earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown killed nearly 16,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands. This course considers how a traumatic event is presented in theater and film. Students learn about the social and political background of the disaster through readings and watch related theater and film. They analyze these media, considering and critiquing different approaches. How can trauma be represented? Who controls the narrative? What are the ethics of performing trauma? Recommended background: one course in Asian studies, environmental studies, film studies, Japanese, or theater.

JPN S50 Independent Study