Japanese Language and Culture, 2002-2003



John Cushing, Lab II 3247, ext. 6234, Office Hours: Wed. 8:30-9:30 & by appointment

Yukio Rikiso, Lab II 3268, ext. 6455, Office Hours: Wed. 1-2 & by appointment

Setsuko Tsutsumi, Lab II 3262, ext. 6735, Office Hours: Wed. 1-2 & by appointment

Tomoko Ulmer, Lib 3230, ext. 5494, Office Hours: Wed. 8:30-9:30 & by appointment

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This program will explore various aspects of Japanese civilization, including aesthetics and philosophy, values and morals, and the sense of community and individual. These vary from period to period, reflecting changing times and circumstances in the stream of Japanese history. We will identify elements of continuity in the midst of the significant changes that have taken place over Japanís long and distinguished history.

We will concentrate on pre-19th century Japan in the fall and modern Japan in the winter.  In the spring, we hope to conduct a field trip to Japan. Materials will be drawn from literature, history, politics, and films appropriate to the topics under consideration.

During fall we will explore Japanese literary and aesthetic traditions constituting the backbone of modern Japan. We will read the major works in Japanese literature and history, representing and illustrating the main views and concerns of specific time periods.

During winter we will pay special attention to significant topics, especially following World War II, such as changes in the structure of society and family, loss of self-identity, search for traditional moorings, and the changing status of women in Japan.

A Japanese language course will run throughout the year. Language provides an excellent window into a culture. Learning a language simultaneously with other aspects of a culture enhances the learning of each subject as well as drawing a whole picture of the culture.

During spring the program will take an optional field trip to Japan. Students will attend a language school there for the first 5 weeks, then travel as a group during the last 10 days. While living with a Japanese family, each student will also pursue individual research along lines of his/her own interests. This trip is the culmination of the program: Through first-hand experience, students will have the opportunity to shape their previous learning into an organic whole.
The details of the trip plan will be discussed in more detail during the Winter quarter.

The trip will be cancelled if we do not have at least 15 participants. If this happens, however, arrangements for a study trip may still be made for interested students through individual contracts. Students who choose not to go to Japan will be able to continue their language study on campus for 4 credits.

Fields of Activities and Academic Requirements:

The program consists of 4 major academic activities.

The first involves Japanese language classes covering the materials in Genki or Japanesefor Everyone. Students are required to attend all class sessions (including drills) and participate fully in classroom activities, to understand the cultural contexts underlying the language, to motivate themselves to use the language both in and out of class, to listen to recorded materials every day, and to prepare well for weekly quizzes.

In addition, students are required to schedule on their own at least 4 hours of small group tutorial sessions each week. Tutorial sessions with native speakers are available 2 hours every day from Tuesday through Saturday. There will be a mid-term and a final language exam each quarter. In every language session, including drills and tutorial sessions, attendance will be taken by instructors. Missing more than 4 sessions each quarter will result in losing some credits.

The second academic activity consists of book seminars based on the weekly themes. Students are expected to identify significant points in the materials and correlate these with each other in order to grasp the whole picture.  It goes without saying that students must read all the required materials well in advance and prepare questions and comments in order to fully participate in class discussions.

The third area involves films introducing various aspects of Japanese culture as well as the basics of film theory. Each film is selected to complement or illustrate or contrast with the weekly themes. Students are required to attend all the weekly showings, participate in film workshops, submit short reflective writings on each film, and generate active discussions about the films.

The fourth and the last area involves workshops in which students have opportunities to experience various Japanese cultural practices, such as calligraphy, brush painting, and flower arrangements, in addition to some computer skills. Students are required to prepare all the necessary materials for the sessions and participate fully in class activities.

Each quarter, there will be a literary or a film analysis paper and a final exam on Japanese history and culture.

Language Texts (all year):

For Beginners: Genki, Japan Times;

                             Yoneji, Noriko, Hiragana for Fun, Apricot.

For Beginners Plus: Genki, Japan Times.

For Advanced Beginners: Japanese for everyone, Gakken.

Required Readings (fall quarter):

Reischauer, Edwin, Japan: The Story of A Nation, Tuttle, 4th Edition.

Keene, Donald, Anthology of Japanese Literature, Grove Weidenfeld.

Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji, translated by E. Seidensticker, Vintage Books.

Morris, Ivan, The World of the Shining Prince, Penguin.

Kamo no Chomei, The Ten Foot Square Hut and Tales of the Heike, translated by A.L. Sadler, Tuttle.

Fukuzawa, Yukichi, The Autobiography of Yukichi Fukuzawa, Columbia U. Press.

Mori, Ogai, The Wild Geese, Tuttle.

Natsume, Soseki, Kokoro, Regnery Publishing.

Monaco, James, How to Read A Film, Oxford U. Press, 3rd Edition

Credit Equivalencies (fall quarter):

Japanese Language: 6 credits

Pre-Modern Japanese History: 3 credits

Pre-Modern Japanese Literature: 3 credits

Japanese Film: 3 credits

Japanese Arts & Crafts: 1 credit

Total 16 credits

Required Readings (winter quarter):


Credit Equivalencies (winter quarter):


Total 16 credits