Japanese Language & Culture, 2002-03

Winter Quarter Program Syllabus: Weekly Themes, Required Readings, &


We will start winter quarter by examining some political and economic developments during the Taisho period after vigorous efforts to modernize the country during Meiji. Particular attention will be paid to the development of imperial and militaristic nationalism which eventually led Japan into disastrous wars. In fact, the seeds of militarism had already been planted in the visions the Meiji oligarchs had drawn for the future of the country and the role Japan would play on the world stage.

We will then explore the American occupation following the war and some subsequent changes in Japanese society. We will pay special attention to significant topics such as changes in the structure of society and family, a sense of humiliation and loss of self-identity, and the changing status of women.

Activities and Academic Requirements

We will continue the study of Japanese language, book seminars based on the weekly reading assignments, lecture/film sessions, and cultural workshops. We will basically keep the same format of activities and class schedules.

Japanese Language:

Language studies are well underway. Everyone is making rapid and steady progress. By this time, you should know the benefit of attending the tutorial sessions. In fact, student progress as reflected on the tests and other activities were in proportion to the attendance records for the tutorial sessions. You learn most having fun with the tutors or playing with them. Sometimes sessions may have seemed to be waste of time to some students, but nothing is a waste when you are immersed in the language environment with native speakers, particularly such cute, charming, kind, and well- intentioned young people in the same generation as you. Assuming that students now all know that and take advantage on their own, we are reducing the required hours of attending tutorial sessions from 4 to 2 hours a week. Tutorial times are almost the same as the last quarter, and you can, of course, attend as many as you like. Have fun!

There will be a mid-term language exam in the 5th week and a final exam in the 9th week. In addition, we are going to have Japanese Drama Production as a language project. Groups of 5 or 6 students will write substantial scripts which they then rehearse and perform for the class. The performance should be approximately 10 minutes long. It is expected to be a full production of the drama! Each group should consist of a mix of students at different levels of Japanese language study. Faculty and tutors will be available to assist in development of the scripts.

Scripts are due on Fri. 1/31 in the 4th week.  Presentations of the drama will be on Thursday morning ofthe 10th week.


Students are expected to write a research paper on World War II exploring various aspects of the war and based on topic guidelines which will be distributed during the 3rd week.  The paper should be 8 to 10 pages long, properly researched and referenced.  This research paper is due on Friday, February 28 (the end of the 8th week).


As during the fall quarter, we will see one feature length Japanese film each week.  Also as before, these films have been selected to complement weekly themes or introduce a particular aspect of Japanese film.  Although students are expected to continue taking notes during the film for use in discussion afterwards, we will not require weekly reflective writing on films this quarter.

Students will, however, write a longer film analysis paper this quarter (instead of a literature analysis paper).  This paper can be a close analysis of one of the films we have seen (or will see) in the program, or an exploration of a particular director's body of work (style, subjects, influences, etc.), or a discussion of some central characteristics of Japanese film (in contrast to the characteristics of other countries' films).  Students are free to choose their own topics within these constraints.  The paper must be at least five pages long and is due on Friday, February 14 (the end of the sixth week).  More information and advice about this paper will be presented in lectures during the 2nd and 5th weeks.

Project for the Spring Trip:

Those students who are going to Japan during the spring quarter will be expected to complete a substantial research project while they are in Japan.  The project will have both a library research component (to be largely completed in the US) and a field research component (to be conducted in Japan).

In order to prepare for this project, students going to Japan must begin working early during winter quarter to identify a suitable project and complete the necessary background research while they have access to English language library materials.  During winter quarter, students who will be going to Japan will develop a bibliography for the project and complete reading their major books. Due datesfor this project research are:

Friday, 1/24 (3rd week):   A Proposal with Bibliography for the research is due,
Friday 2/7 (5th week): A book report is due on the first major reading,
Friday 2/21 (7th week): A second book report is due.
Meetings to prepare for the spring trip will be held on Tuesday afternoons following the films in the 3rd and 4th weeks.  During the 9th week there will be a longer orientation and planning meeting on Thursday during the workshop time slot.  Additional meetings either during spring break or during the first week of spring quarter will be scheduled later as required.

Winter Quarter Schedule:  Weekly Themes and Required Readings

1st Week: An Inexplicable Fear

        Rashomon & Other Stories by Akutagawa, Ryunosuke;
        Chapter 5 of Low City, High City by Edward Seidensticker [handout].

    1/7 Tuesday:
        Lecture:  "Akutagawa and An Inexplicable Fear" [Setsuko];
        Film:  Rashomon (1950, 88 minutes), directed by Akira Kurosawa.

    1/8 Wednesday:
        Seminar:  Rashomon & Other Stories; Seidensticker excerpt.

    1/9 Thursday:
        Workshop:  Kakizome, or First Calligraphy at the New Year.

2nd Week: Meiji Reminisced

        The Waiting Years by Enchi, Fumiko;
        Chapter 6 of Low City, High City by Edward Seidensticker [handout];
        Chapter 1 of Tokyo Rising by Edward Seidensticker [handout].

    1/14 Tuesday:
        Lecture:  "The Ozu Style" [John];
        Film:  I Was Born, But... (1932, 90 minutes), directed by Yasujiro Ozu.

    1/15 Wednesday:
        Seminar on readings of the week.

    1/16 Thursday:
        Workshop:  New Year's Treat, Mochi or Rice Cake [tentative].

3rd Week: In Praise of the Traditional

        Some Prefer Nettles by Tanizaki, Junichiro;
        Chapters 2 & 3 of Tokyo Rising by Edward Seidensticker [handout].

    1/21 Tuesday:
        Film: The Makioka Sisters (1985, 130 minutes), directed by Kon Ichikawa;
        Spring Trip Planning Meeting.

    1/22 Wednesday:
        Seminar on the readings of the week.

    1/23 Thursday:
        Workshop: Gourmet Cooking, Soba;
        Program potluck and Party with Soba Club (Organic Farmhouse, 6pm).

    1/24 Friday:
      History research paper guidelines will be distributed.
        Spring research proposal with bibliography due for students going to Japan.

4th Week: The Rise of Militarism

        In Praise of Shadows by Tanizaki, Junichiro;
        Chapters 1 through 3 of The Pacific War by Ienaga, Saburo;
        Chapter 11 of Japan, The Story of a Nation by E. O. Reischauer.

    1/28 Tuesday:
        Film: Twenty-Four Eyes (1954, 116 minutes), directed by Keisuke Kinoshita;
        Spring Trip Planning Meeting.

    1/29 Wednesday:
      >>>Morning Language Test will be in Library 4300 instead of the LongHouse<<<
        Seminar on the readings of the week.

    1/30 Thursday:
        Workshop: Brush Painting.

    1/31 Friday:
      Language Drama Script Due.

5th Week: World War II

        Patriotism by Mishima, Yukio [handout];
        Chapters 4 through 6 of The Pacific War;
        Chapter 12 of The Story of A Nation.

    2/4 Tuesday:
        Film: The Burmese Harp (1956, 116 minutes), directed by Kon Ichikawa;
        Lecture: "The Pacific War and Japanese Directors" [John].

    2/5 Wednesday:
      Japanese Language Mid Term Exam (9-11);
        Seminar on the readings of the week.

    2/6 Thursday:
        Workshop: Calligraphy .

    2/7 Friday:
      Book report due on first major project reading for students going to Japan.

6th Week: The Pacific War

       Black Rainby Ibuse, Masuji;
        Chapters 7 through 9 of The Pacific War.

    2/11 Tuesday:
        Lecture:  "World War II" [Guest Lecture by John Ulmer];
        Film:  The Grave of The Fireflies (1988, 90 minutes), by Isao Takahata.

    2/12 Wednesday:
        Seminar on the readings of the week.

    2/13 Thursday:
        Workshop: Japanese Animation, Anime.

    2/14 Friday:

7th Week: The Horrors of War

       Snow Country by Kawabata, Yasunari;
      Remainder of The Pacific War;
        Chapter 13 of The Story of A Nation.

    2/18 Tuesday:
        Lecture:  "The Literature of Yasunari Kawabata" [Setsuko];
        Film:  MacArthurís Children (1984, 124 minutes), directed by Masahiro Shinoda.

    2/19 Wednesday:
        Seminar on the readings of the week.

    2/20 Thursday:
        Workshop:  Japanese Customs [Anthony Martin].

    2/21 Friday:
      Film Analysis Paper Due.
      Second book report on spring project due for students going to Japan.

8th Week: The American Occupation

        The Setting Sun by Dazai, Osamu;
        American School by Kojima, Nobuo [handout];
        Chapter 14 of The Story of A Nation.

    2/25 Tuesday:
        Lecture:  "Japanese Education" [Guest Lecture by Professor Notsu (Kobe Shodai)];
        Film: Tokyo Story (1953, 136 minutes), directed by Yasujiro Ozu.

    2/26 Wednesday:
        Seminar on the readings of the week.

    2/27 Thursday:
        Workshop: Music of Koto [Longhouse].

    2/28 Friday:

9th Week: Sense of Loss

        The Temple of Golden Pavilion by MIshima, Yukio;
      Chapters 15 & 16 of The Story of A Nation.

    3/4 Tuesday:
        Lecture: "It was nice meeting you all" [Yukio];
        Film: Giants & Toys (1958, 95 minutes), directed by Yasuzo Masumora.
       History Research Paper Due.

    3/5 Wednesday:
        Japanese Language Final Exam (9-11);
        Seminar on the readings of the week.

    3/6 Thursday:
        Workshop: 1:00pm, Mac Lab (everyone)
                          1:45pm, Long House (Spring Trip Planning for trip students).

10th Week: Presentations

        Chapter 5 ofTokyo Rising by Edward Seidensticker [handout].

    3/11 Tuesday:
        Film:  Tokyo Olympiad  (1965, 170 minutes), directed by Kon Ichikawa.

    3/12 Wednesday:
        Seminar on the reading of the week.

    3/13 Thursday:
        9am - noon:  Japanese Drama Presentations [LH1];
        2:30-4:30:  Kikujiro (2000, 118 minutes), directed by Kitano Takeshi [LH4].

    Note:  Skit rehearsalsTuesday morning during language class;
               no language exam this week.

Required Readings:

Akutagawa, Ryunosuke: Rashomon & Other Stories;

Enchi, Fumiko: The Waiting Years;

Seidensticker, Edward: Low City, High City and Tokyo Rising [handouts];

Tanizaki, Junichiro: Some Prefer Nettles;

Reischauer, Edwin: Japan: The Story of a Nation, fourth edition;

Tanizaki, Junichiro: In Praise of Shadows;

Ienaga, Saburo: The Pacific War;

Mishima, Yukio: Patriotism [handout];

Kawabata, Yasunari: Snow Country;

Ibuse, Masuji: Black Rain;

Kojima, Nobuo: American School [handout];

Dazai, Osamu: The Setting Sun;

Mishima, Yukio: The Temple of theGolden Pavilion.

 Winter Quarter Class Schedule