Japanese Courses Spring 2021

Spring 2021 - Remote Instruction

Language Courses

JPN 003 sec 1 - 9 - Elementary Japanese

JPN 006 sec 1 - 4 - Intermediate Japanese

Undergraduate Courses

JPN 103 - Modern Literature in English
Assoc. Prof. Michiko Suzuki

This lecture/discussion course examines a broad range of major narrative texts in modern Japanese literature from the 1890s to the present. The novels and short stories we will read focus on issues of self and national identity, sexuality, war, westernization and modernity—issues that have been central to the Japanese cultural imagination since Japan opened up to the West in the mid-19th century. In addition to learning about the authors and their works, we will also examine the historical, literary and cultural contexts of the so-called modern period.

Class will combine lecture and discussion. Lectures, readings and discussions will be in English. No previous knowledge of Japanese language or culture is required. GE: AH, WC, WE

JPN 106 - Japanese Culture Through Film

Assoc. Prof David Gundry

This course examines films made in Japan from the 1950s through the 2000s in genres ranging from the literary biopic to the Tokugawa-era period piece, the family drama and the exploitation B-movie. The instructor has made his selections with a view toward showing students films that they probably have not yet seen and that are historically and culturally relevant as well as entertaining. Students will read literary, biographical and historical works providing a context for the movies viewed. In addition to a midterm and a final exam, students will write three brief essays on the films and readings assigned (no additional research required).

JPN 113 sec 1 & 2 - Modern Japanese

Lecturer Yoko Kato

JPN 113 sec 3 - Modern Japanese

Lecturer Yumiko Shibata

JPN 134 - Readings Human: Traditional Culture

Assoc. Prof. Joseph Sorensen

In this course we will read very short non-fiction articles, by experts in their respective fields, in their original Japanese. The articles will usually be two pages in length and will address a variety of topics related to traditional Japanese culture. Keeping in mind the constructed nature of “traditional culture,” we will discuss, in both Japanese and English, the elements that comprise our notions of traditional Japan. Readings will include topics such as calligraphy, gardening, and martial arts, to musical instruments, woodblock prints, and temple and shrine architecture. Subject matter will largely be determined by the interests of the students. The goal of the course is to train students to read non-fiction materials critically, as well as for basic information, and to use a variety of dictionaries proficiently in order to produce acceptable English translations as proof of their comprehension of the original texts. The course also serves to expose students to a wide range of traditional Japanese arts. As a fourth-year reading course, students are expected to have completed third-year Japanese (through JPN 113) at UC Davis, or achieved a similar level of proficiency at a comparable institution. Students who have not completed JPN 113 at UC Davis should consult with the instructor immediately.

JPN 152 - Traditional Japanese Drama

Assoc. Prof. Joseph Sorensen

This course is a survey, in English translation, of traditional Japanese dramatic forms. We begin with an examination of the earliest performance practices, which include Shinto music and dance, ritual poetry, agrarian rites, and folk songs. Our focus will be on the four major theatrical traditions of pre-modern Japan: the stately and ritualized action of noh drama, the universal humor of kyōgen plays, the dramatic tension in the military tales and love-suicide plays of bunraku puppet theater, and the highly affected and stylized acting that characterizes kabuki. Finally, we will examine contemporary representations and briefly consider the influence of traditional theater on early Japanese film as well as more avant-garde forms such as butoh. In addition to analyzing the plays as literary texts, we will also consider the stage conventions of each genre and view video clips to see how the stage, the text, the actors, and the music come together in performance. Secondary readings will include playwrights on writing, and actors on acting, as well as contemporary scholarship to assist in the analysis of the plays. Letter grade based on participation 10%, quizzes 10%, weekly one-page writing assignments 20%, midterm 20%, five-page term paper 20%, final exam 20%.

JPN 158 - Supernatural in Japan

Lecturer Carolyn Wheeler

JPN 165 - Sexuality and Love in Premodern Japanese Literature

Assoc. Prof. David Gundry

This course focuses on the themes of love and eros in opposite-sex, same-sex, marital, premarital, extramarital, commercial and “amateur” modes and in aristocratic, samurai and commoner milieus as manifested in works of literature produced in Japan between the dawn of writing in Japanese in the 700s and the sunset of shogunal rule in 1867. Literary works’ engagement with Buddhism, Shinto and Confucianism in amorous contexts also features as a topic of analysis. The course introduces students to cultural practices from various periods in Japanese history that reflect conceptions of sexuality and family life radically different from those that prevail in contemporary American society, or in contemporary Japan, for that matter. In addition to literary texts, students read a wide variety of scholarly and theoretical writing relevant to their contents. These are discussed in class both in terms of the background they provide for the literature read and in terms of argumentative structure, with a view toward helping students build their own arguments in essays written for the course. Readings, lectures and discussions are in English.