Japanese Studies Courses

JS501 Modern Japanese Visual Culture This seminar is going to focus on how the issue of gender plays out in various contemporary art practices in postwar Japanese and global contexts. The details will be announced at the beginning of the semester. Special attention will be paid to the works by female artists including Atsuko Tanaka, Yoko Ono, Yayoi Kusama. Hayashi
JS504 Japanese Art History ****** Syllabus will be uploaded later ******** staff
JS505 Modern Japanese Art History This course will study the manifold interactions that have taken place in the visual arts between Japan and the US since the second half of the 19th century to the present. We will approach art from a transcultural perspective, and will study various media including painting, prints, industrial design, architecture, as well as exhibitions and other modes of display. We will also investigate the role of visual arts in diplomatically and politically charged circumstances from Japan's resumption of trade with Western powers in the mid-19th-century, to the Pacific War, the Cold War, and to the age of globalization. **Due to unpredictable enrollment, the instructor reserves the right to modify the schedule of the course, depending upon enrollment, once the semester begins. A detailed syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class. If you need further information about the course before the first day of class, please contact the professor (nmurai@sophia.ac.jp). Murai
JS507 Critical Theory in Media and Cultural Studies This course will help build the theoretical foundation for graduate students and prepare them for future courses in graduate studies. The course will cover various critical theories, ranging from Marxism, psychoanalysis, gender and sexuality, racism, postcolonialism to postmodernism. Critical theory contextualizes, examines, and theorizes culture as it influences and shapes our everyday lives and social structures. Graduate tudents will learn about the various approaches on how to analyze culture based on the canonical works of critical cultural study theorists and learn how to apply their critical theories to contemporary visual media examples. Choo
JS508 Interpretations of Modernity 1 ***Interpretations of Modernity 1 and 2 must be taken together*** This course focuses on the moral vision in modern Japanese literature with regards to environmental issues and war responsibilities. We will read salient full-length novels, documentary, and short stories that deal with nuclear issues, environmental pollution, human experiments, and war responsibilities to address questions of moral vision in Japanese literature. What are our moral responsibilities as stewards of the environment we inhabit? What do we learn from past mistakes and efforts? What can literature do to help us understand the world we inhabit in relation to our lives? Yiu
JS509 Interpretations of Modernity 2 ******Interpretations of Modernity 1 and 2 must be taken together******* This course focuses on the moral vision in modern Japanese literature with regards to environmental issues and war responsibilities. We will read salient full-length novels, documentary, and short stories that deal with nuclear issues, environmental pollution, human experiments, and war responsibilities to address questions of moral vision in Japanese literature. What are our moral responsibilities as stewards of the environment we inhabit? What do we learn from past mistakes and efforts? What can literature do to help us understand the world we inhabit in relation to our lives? Yiu
JS510 Contemporary Japanese Literature Contemporary Japanese Literature, as the title suggests, is a course dealing with Japanese literary texts produced by writers who are living, or at least were living in the recent past. In historical terms, however, it might be considered a course in literature written in the post-postwar era, i.e., after 1970. In principle, our focus is on writing from the past four decades or so. Strecher
JS517 Religion and Japanese Society This course explores the religious traditions of Japan and their social and cultural impact. One of the most important developments in the field of religious studies in recent decades has been the so-called “somatic turn”—an increased attention to the role of the human body in religion and the role that religious ideas, practices, and institutions have had in shaping knowledge about and experiences of the body. Accordingly, this course will devote special attention to the question of how Japanese religion has affected perceptions of the body and the role of the body in Japanese religion. It will trace the effects of religiously-informed perceptions of the body on the development of folk medical knowledge, bioethical reasoning, attitudes toward death and dying, the construction of gender, the formation of outcast groups, and various other social practices. Drott
JS518 Comparative Literature 1 Comparative Literature 1 and 2 introduce students to selected issues in comparative literature. Comparative Literature 1, offered in the spring, focuses upon methodological and theoretical issues about a specific theme. All readings (primary and secondary) are available in English. This year, we will consider various theoretical approaches to narrative. In the first half of the course, students will read important theoretical texts in narratology, focusing on fundamental issues such as narrative situation, narrative time, and history and narrative. In the second half of the course, we will explore selected topics (based on the interests of students and the instructor). Possible topics include approaches to modern Japanese literature, comparative poetics; film as narrative; and cognitive narratology. While many of the theoretical texts are grounded in literary studies, students from other disciplines are also welcome, as the issues explored in the course should be relevant in other related fields. Kono
JS519 Comparative Literature 2 Comparative Literature 1 and 2 introduce students to selected issues in comparative literature. Comparative Literature 2, offered in the autumn, focuses upon reading of selected primary and secondary texts related to reading Japanese literature in comparative perspective. All readings are available in English. This year, we will consider criticism (or hihyo) in modern Japan. We will examine the hihyo genre in modern Japan through reading of seminal critical texts and discussion on historical and literary contexts. We will also read some critical writing and social commentary by literary authors as well as fictional texts related to the problematics of hihyo. Topics of discussion include: the emergence and evolution of hihyō as a genre; literary writers and critics as “public intellectuals”; the writing style of hihyo; literary criticism and politics; and postmodernism in Japan. Kono