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EALL 211 ­ Japan: A Cultural Odyssey
Sam Orme Summer 2013 MTWR 2:00 ­ 4:20

Location: Pacific 110 Email: Office: UO Annex Office Hours: T 11:30 ­ 1:30 (or by appointment) Course description: From the burial mounds of the Kofun period to Hello Kitty and Pokemon, the land of the rising sun has had a culture all its own. In this course, we will try to unravel the mystery of Japanese culture in order to understand what makes it tick. We will trace the development of the Japanese culture from its origins in antiquity to the present, touching on Japanese history along the way. We will explore the influence of other cultures on Japan over time, from China and Korea to the United States and the west. We will also consider the role translation plays in understanding what will be, to many of us, a foreign culture. We will do so while thinking critically about themes present throughout Japanese cultural history, making use of many different disciplines, such as literature, archaeology, film, and others. Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course, nor is any familiarity or proficiency in the Japanese language required. Students will, however, be expected to keep up with the pace of reading assignments and be able to contribute meaningfully to class discussions about those readings. Required texts: Students are not required to purchase any texts for this class. All reading materials for the course will be available on Blackboard. Students are encouraged to bring these texts to class for discussions, whether in print or in electronic form. Course objectives: In this class, we will consider the development of Japanese culture from its origins to the present day. Students will be able to identify major themes present throughout Japanese culture, as well as significant literary, architectural, and other works. Students will be able to contribute meaningfully to class and group discussions on these topics, as well as write cogent arguments about these themes in both short and long papers. Students will also consider the impact translation has on studying foreign culture and texts and incorporate that into their arguments. Course requirements: Students will adhere to the following policies during this course:

Attendance ­ Students are expected to attend class while it is in session. Students will be allowed one unexcused absence before it begins to negatively impact his or her grade. Since this course is only four weeks long, it is to your benefit to miss as few classes as possible. If circumstances make it impossible to attend a class, please make arrangements with me beforehand, not just before the start of class. Participation ­ Students are expected to complete all of the readings assigned for this class and to be prepared to discuss them in class for the days they are assigned. The class will be fairly small, so don’t assume that you can hide and let others contribute for you. As much as possible, this class will consist of discussion rather than lecture; your comments and insights will be crucial in creating a culture of discussion. Reading quizzes ­ At the beginning of each class, students will complete a short quiz (no more than three questions) on the previous day’s readings. These quizzes are not designed to make you struggle, but rather to confirm that you read the assignment. The questions should be immediately clear if you read the assignment, but difficult if you did not. Short paper ­ The course will be divided into two halves (pre­modern and modern Japan), and a short paper on Japanese culture over that period will be assigned for each of those halves. This short paper should be about three pages (double­spaced, standard margins, etc.) and can be about any aspect of Japanese culture you wish. We’ll talk more about this as the deadline approaches. Syllabus Week 1 Monday, 7/22: Intro to course, brief overview of Japan and its geography, creation myths Tuesday, 7/23: Shinto Read “Shinto and Buddhism: Two Religions at Once” (Sakaiya), “Amaterasu and Susanowo” (link on Blackboard) Wednesday, 7/24: Buddhism Read “The Introduction of Chinese Culture” (Morton) Thursday, 7/25: Mono no aware Read Hojoki (Kamo, trans. Sadler) and “In Praise of Shadows” (Tanizaki, trans. Harper & Seidensticker) Week 2 Monday, 7/29: The Tale of Genji and the Japanese court

Read “The Court at its Zenith” (Varley) and The Tale of Genji (trans. Waley, trans. Seidensticker) Tuesday, 7/30: Haiku, tanka, and other Japanese poetry Read selections from Matsuo Basho’s haiku (trans. Keene, ill. Miyata) and One Hundred Frogs (ed. Sato) Wednesday, 7/31: Isolation in the Tokugawa era Read “Foreign Relations” (Jansen) Thursday, 8/1: Midterm Short paper #1 due Week 3 Monday, 8/5: Contact with the West and the Meiji Restoration Read “Encounter with the West” (Varley) Tuesday, 8/6: Akutagawa and the Taisho Period Read introduction on Akutagawa (Lippit) and “In a Grove” (Akutagawa, trans. Lippit) Wednesday, 8/7: World War II and the atomic bomb Read “Atrocity into Words” (Treat), Barefoot Gen (Nakazawa, trans. Project Gen), haiku from Hiroshima and Nagasaki (ed. Selden & Selden), “My Husband Does Not Return” (Tada, trans. Selden & Selden) Thursday, 8/8: Magical realism in Japanese literature Read “The Elephant Vanishes” (Murakami, trans. Rubin) and “Dreaming of Kimchee” (Yoshimoto, trans. Sherif) Week 4 Monday, 8/12: Japanese culture exported to the West Read “Can Popular Culture Go Global?” (Allison) and “Exporting Japan’s Culture: From Management Style to Manga” (Mouer & Norris) Tuesday, 8/13: Kawaii culture Read “Kitty Litter: Japanese Cute at Home and Abroad” (Yano) Wednesday, 8/14: Final exam review Thursday, 8/15: Final exam Short paper #2 due

Grading Daily reading quizzes: 10% Short paper, x2: 20% Discussion participation: 10% Midterm: 30% Final: 30% Course Policies Academic honesty ­ Students are expected to comply with the student conduct and community standards of the University (which can be found at In short, students are expected to behave with integrity and to abstain from cheating, plagiarism, tampering with grades or assignments, or anything else unbecoming of a university student. Cite your sources and ideas in writing and be honest in what you do. If you have any questions about the University’s academic honesty policy or how it relates to this class, please see me. Electronic devices ­ Students may use computers or e­readers during class to follow along with that day’s readings, provided they do not use those devices to distract themselves or others. Use of these devices is not a right, and those found abusing them will not be permitted to use them in class. The use of cell phones and other devices will not be permitted in class; if there is an emergency that requires you to make or take a phone call, please do so outside. (Texting is not permitted under any circumstances; chances are, it can wait.) Accommodations for those with disabilities ­ If you feel you need extra accommodations for this class, please see me as soon as possible so we can work something out. Additional information and resources are available at the Accessible Education Center (164 Oregon Hall,

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