East Asian Languages and Cultures | Seminar in Traditional Japanese Literature
J653 | 21332 | Jones

Topic:  Contemporary Japanese Popular Culture and Its Traditional

This course will study features of contemporary popular culture by
placing it in the context of tradition. Two or three texts will be
studied side by side not as the source and receptacle of influence
but as old and new expressions of the same idea, theme, or
strategy.  The majority of the texts will be chosen by the members
of the class during the first two sessions, based on the members’
research interests. As starters, the following combinations of texts
may be considered. Mishima Yukio’s Hagakure and Yukoku, some
Kamikaze interviews, and Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure: Abe Kobo’s
Suna no onna, its film version by Teshigahara Hiroshi, and “Mushi
mezuru himegimi” from Uji Shui monogatari: business novels by
Shiroyama Saburo and Shimizu Ikko, Ishimori Shotaro’s manga Nihon
keizai nyumon, Itami Juzo’s film A Taxing Woman, and Ihara Saikaku’s
fiction, Nihon eitaigura: Tanaka Yasuo’s novel Nantonaku kurisutaru
and Sei Shonagon’s Makura no soshi, for example.

The course is designed to give students a basic training in reading
Japanese in classical (wabun and kanbun-yomikudashi) and modern
(from Meiji prose to contemporary speech) styles. A short selection
will be made for a close reading and each text is presented, with a
short critical introduction, by one of the seminar’s members. The
course will be conducted in Japanese as much as possible, both in
lectures and discussions. Final papers should be written in English
with a glossary and bibliography in Japanese wherever relevant. The
working-paper presentation around mid-semester will be accompanied
by a discussion by a classmate and followed by one or two revisions
based on the advice from the instructor as well as the members of
the class.

The course also gives each student an opportunity to experience an
academic symposium as a presenter, a discussant, and/or a panel
chair. The research paper, which will be presented once within the
class, will be considered for inclusion in the symposium that will
take place toward the end of the semester. This symposium will
include a few selected papers resulting from the fall 2005 course
C574 as well.