Kawashima Professor of Japanese Studies
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
FYSE 1345 - Art of Contemplation
The Art of Contemplation
What would it be like to attend to oneself, to others, and to the world with the concentration and insight of a Zen-inspired poet? How does a forest, a river, a neighborhood, or a city feel to an artist or writer in open attentiveness to the immediate environment? This course invites students to experience contemplative knowing of self and surroundings through practices of meditation, observation, journaling, photographing, and sketching. We will define contemplative knowing through our own critical engagement with essays, poems, installations, and films arising from meditative practices in ancient and modern times. Our study begins with Japanese literary and visual artists Saigyo, Basho, Buson, and Ozu. We will then explore recent examples of contemplative engagement in works by international artists Andy Goldsworthy, Olafur Eliasson, Tabaimo, and Maya Lin. We conclude with a problematical question: does contemplative observation open us to compassion for others? To probe this issue we will examine works by street photographer JR and documentary filmmaker Zana Briski. 3 hrs. sem/disc.
JAPN 0198 - Japanese Poetry (in English)
Japanese Poetry (in English)
This course examines the tradition of Japanese poetry. Beginning with the earliest recorded poems of the seventh century, we continue through to the modern period. We will examine the forms and aesthetics of poetry and its uses within fiction, diaries, and drama. All works will be read in English translation. 3 hrs. lect./disc.
Spring 2012, Fall 2012
JAPN 0237 / FMMC 0237 - Japanese Film
This course traces the history of Japanese film through the cinema of Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, Ozu, Oshima and other directors. We will focus on the golden age of the 1950s, the New Wave of the sixties, and films of the 1990s and 2000s. Films include Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Tokyo Story, as well as influential works by current directors. 3 hrs. lect./disc. and screening
Spring 2010, Spring 2011
JAPN 0260 / FMMC 0260 - Kurosawa
Kurosawa is internationally recognized as one of the great auteurs whose films continue to inspire directors around the world. In this course we will analyze Kurosawa's style and technique in over a dozen films from the 1940s to the 1990s, including Seven Samurai, Ikiru, Ran, and Kagemusha. We will examine Kurosawa's relationship to the Hollywood Western and to filmmakers Clint Eastwood, Stephen Spielberg, and George Lucas. We will give special attention to the moral questions Kurosawa raises in films about ancient warriors, small-time gangsters, everyday men and women, and Shakespearian heroes. 3 hrs. lect./ 3 hrs. screen.
Fall 2009, Fall 2010
JAPN 0262 / FMMC 0262 - Politics of Animation
The Politics of Animation: Documentary, Propaganda, Art
In this course we will examine films in an emerging international genre known as animated documentary. Animation plays a surprisingly influential role in nonfiction films, as in a famous segment in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. More recently, some directors have relied solely on animation to make films with claims to telling the truth. Often politically controversial and intensely personal, these works challenge traditional definitions of cinematic form. Why is animation so persuasive? To answer this question we will explore the urban origins of early cartoons, Disney’s global hegemony, Warner Brothers’ wartime propaganda, Soviet agitprop, and the diverse ideological perspectives of limited animation in Japanese anime and American television programming. With this preparation in hand, we will analyze several animated non-fictions in their cultural and political contexts, including the artworks of William Kentridge (South Africa), Barefoot Gen (Japan), Persepolis (France/Iran), and Waltz with Bashir (Israel). 3 hrs. lect./ 3hrs. screen.
Fall 2009, Fall 2010
JAPN 0290 - The Tale of Genji (in English)
The Tale of Genji (in English)
/The Tale of Genji/ is the world’s first psychological novel. This rich narrative centers on the political intrigues and passionate love affairs of Genji, a fictional prince barred from the throne. In this course we will explore the narrative through a close reading in English translation. Students will gain knowledge of the aesthetic, religious, and social contexts of the Heian period, one of the most vibrant eras in Japanese culture. We will also trace how Genji monogatari has been interpreted over ten centuries in art, theater, films, and most recently, manga. (Formerly JAPN 0190) 3hrs. lect/disc.
Spring 2012, Spring 2013
JAPN 0450 - Seminar in Classical Japanese
Seminar in Classical Japanese, Heian Period
In this seminar students will learn bungo, the original classical Japanese language, through close reading of romantic fiction, poetry, and essays from the 9th through the 12th century. The Heian period marks the flowering of written Japanese in texts that continue to be widely known and studied. Students will master the orthography, vocabulary, and basic structures of pre-modern grammar in Heian classics, including Taketori monogatari, Genji monogatari and Makura no sôshi. (Approval only) 3 hrs. sem.
Fall 2011, Fall 2012
JAPN 0451 - Seminar in Classical Japanese
Seminar in Classical Japanese: Medieval to Edo Period
In this seminar students will learn bungo, the original classical Japanese language, through close reading of legends, warrior tales, travel diaries, and essays from the 13th through the 17th century. The Medieval era marks the emergence of samurai sensibility inspired by Zen Buddhism in writings at the core of traditional culture. Students will master the orthography, vocabulary, and basic structures of pre-modern grammar in Medieval and Edo period texts, including the Hôjôki, Heike monogatari, and Basho's Oku no hosomichi. (Approval only) 3 hrs. sem.
JAPN 0475 - Seminar in Japanese Studies
Advanced Reading in Japanese Studies
Students read original materials in a variety of disciplines and develop skills to discuss them in Japanese on a near-native level. Advanced listening practice and literary translation are also emphasized. Students create an annotated research bibliography in preparation for the senior project or thesis. This course is required before taking JAPN 0700, but any student may enroll with approval of the instructor. (Approval only) 3 hrs. disc.
JAPN 0500 - Independent Project ▲ ▹
Qualified students may be permitted to undertake a special project in reading and research under the direction of a member of the department. Students should seek an advisor and submit a proposal to the department well in advance of registration for the term in which the work is to be undertaken.
Fall 2009, Winter 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
JAPN 0700 - Honors Thesis ▲ ▹
Students write a thesis in English with a synopsis in Japanese on literature, film, or culture. The topic for the thesis is chosen in consultation with the instructor. (JAPN 0475)
Fall 2009, Winter 2010, Spring 2010, Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014