History, Art, and Literature 歴史、芸術、文学

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the developing field of Japan Studies with a special emphasis on history, art and literature. What is “Japan Studies?” When did people, both outside and inside Japan, begin to study about Japan — and why? What are some recent trends in Japan Studies? The special theme of this year’s course is: “Visions of Japan.”

Course Structure

This course is taught on the ICU campus during the Autumn term. There are 19 sessions, each 105 minutes long, held over a period of 11 weeks. The course includes multiple discussion sessions, 5 short papers, a museum review project and a research report on a topic of the student’s choice in lieu of a final examination. Two graduate students gave special lectures on the topic of the Ph.D. dissertation at the end of the course.

Contents of Lectures 10Lectures


Course Requirements

Attendance is required; please come prepared and on time!

Active participation in discussion sessions is required. (10 percent) Students are expected to demonstrate that they have done the readings by offering reactions, analysis, and thoughtful questions in each of the discussion sessions.

Four Reaction papers: (40 percent)
There are 5 assignments. Sample questions for discussion will be available on the Moodle website one week in advance of each discussion session. All students are required to submit a 1-2 page reaction paper as preparation for the discussion sessions.

Museum Review Project: (20 percent)

Research Paper (30 percent)

Course Learning Goals

As a consequence to taking this course, student should be able:  

  1. to understand the significance of “Japan Studies” and the special character of ICU’s interdisciplinary major in Japan Studies.

  2. to appreciate the past, present, and future of Japan Studies.

  3. to become aware of some of the major achievements in Japan Studies and of its major practitioners.

  4. to develop research and writing skills in Japan Studies, characteristic of a liberal arts education.

  5. to develop communication and presentation skills in Japan Studies, again befitting a liberal arts education.

Course Readings

Wm. Theodore de Bery, et. al., editors, Sources of Japanese Tradition, Columbia University Press, 2ed edition, 2002, excerpts.

David Lu, Sources of Japanese History, McGraw Hill, 1974, excerpts.

Okakura Kazuzo, Book of Tea, 1906 (online text)

Nitobe Inazo, Bushido:The Soul of Japan, 1904 (online text)

Hiraisuka Raicho, In the Beginning Woman was the Sun: The Autobiogrphyof a Japanese Feminist, translated by Teruko Craig, Columbia University Press, 2006, excerpts.

Jonathan Reynolds “Ise Shrine and the Modernist Construction of Japanese Tradition,” Art Bulletin, June 2006, pp. 316-341.

Kawabata Yasunari, “Japan, Myself, and the Beautiful,” Nobel Prize Lecture, 1968.

Oe Kenzabuo, “Japan, Myself, and the Ambiguous,” Nobel Prize Lecture, 1994.

Course schedule

Week One : The Beginning of Japan Studies

1. What is Japan Studies?

Week Two: Early Visions of Japan

2. From Marco Polo to Engelbert Kaempfer: First Views

3. The Myth of Japanese Seclusion (sakoku)

Discussion: Was Japan really a closed country?

Week Three: The Japanese Vision of Japan

4. Kokugawa: Motoori Norinaga and Hirata Atsutani

5. The Mito School: Defining Japan’s Essence (kokutai)

Discussion: What’s unique about Japanese uniqueness?

Week Four: Pacific Visions – The United States and Japan

6. Kaikoku: The “Opening” of Japan

Discussion: Why did Perry come to Japan in 1853?

Week Five: Re-visioning Japan I: History

7. Fukuzawa Yukichi and the Japanese Enlightenment

8. Fukuzawa’s argument to “Leave Asia” (Datsu-A Ron)

Discussion (includes Graded Assignment 1): Distinguishing Japan from Asia

Week Six: Re-visioning Japan II: Art

9. Okakura Kakuzo and the Book of Tea

Discussion (includes Graded Assignment 2): Why did Okakura write The Book of Tea?

10. Chikanobu: Modernity and Nostalgia

Discussion: What is nostalgia? What forms did it take as Japan modernized?

Week Seven: Re-visioning Japan III: Literature

11. Individualism in Modern Japan: Natsume Soseki

12. Nitobe Inazo: Why Bushido in the Twentieth Century?

Discussion (includes Graded Assignment 3) Why has Nitobe’s book on Bushido been a best seller throughout the 20th century/

Week Eight: Gendered Visions

13. Hiraitsuka Raicho and the “New Woman” Movement

14. Propaganda Film: Frank Capra’s Know Your Enemy (1945)

Discussion: Reactions to Know Your Enemy

Week Nine: A New Vision for Postwar Japan: Modernization

15. E. O. Reischauer: Modernization and the Emergence of Japan Studies

16. Defining the Essence of Japan: Tanizaki, Kawabata, Oe

Discussion on the Museum Review Project

Week Ten: Architectural Visions

17. Tange Kenzo and “Japanese” Architecture (Special Lecture by Yu Kishi)

Discussion (includes Graded Assignment 4): Finding Japan in Modern Architecture

18. Japan as Number One: the 1980s

19. Postmodern Visions: Miyazaki Hayao (Special Lecture by Shiro Yoshioka)

Discussion (includes Graded Assignment 5): What Is Miyazaki telling us in his anime?

20. Alternative Visions of Japan’s Future

Discussion on the future: How do you imagine your life 40 years from now?

Research Paper due at end of class.

Instructor: STEELE‚ M. William | Language of Instruction: E

Major: Japan Studies 日本研究 | Course ID: JPS101 | Course Schedule: 4*/M, 4*/TH | Update: 2013.04.01 Category: Major Courses