Expanded Course Descriptions
(for courses not listed below, see the Course Catalog descriptions)
JPN 109 Japanese Popular Culture
Prof. Michael D. Foster
This course explores Japanese popular culture from a variety of perspectives. We will examine what “popular culture” means as a theoretical concept, and how popular culture has been a vital part of Japanese history from the early modern (Tokugawa) period through the present. Primary emphasis will be on major forms of twentieth- and twenty-first century popular culture, including genre films, manga, anime and other forms of artistic expression. Throughout the course we will question the social, economic, and political contexts in which popular cultural products are created and consumed—and about which they inevitably speak. We will also consider the role of Japanese popular culture as a form of “soft power” in today’s global cultural marketplace.
Class will be a combination of lecture and discussion. All readings will be in English and no previous knowledge of Japanese language or culture is required.