JAPN 255 Fall 2014 Love and Death in Modern Japanese Literature (D)

Cross Listed as COMP255
One thing that surprises many first-time readers of modern Japanese fiction is its striking similarity to Western fiction. But equally surprising are the intriguing differences that lie concealed within that sameness. This course investigates Japanese culture and compares it with our own by reading Japanese fiction about two universal human experiences--love and death--and asking what inflections Japanese writers give these ideas in their work. The course begins with tales of doomed lovers that were popular in the eighteenth-century kabuki and puppet theaters, and that still feature prominently in Japanese popular culture, from comics to TV dramas. From there we move on to novels and films that examine a range of other relationships between love and death, including parental love and sacrifice, martyrdom and love of country, sex and the occult, and romance at an advanced age. We will read novels and short stories by canonical modern authors like Tanizaki, Kawabata, and Mishima as well as more contemporary fiction by writers like Murakami Haruki; we will also look at some visual literature, including puppet theater, comics, animation, and Japanese New Wave film. The class and the readings are in English.
Class Format: seminar/lecture/discussion
Requirements/Evaluation: in-class exam, ungraded creative project, and two short papers (5-7 pages each) emphasizing original, creative, and convincing readings of the class texts
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Prerequisites: none; no familiarity with Japanese language or culture is required
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Exploring Diversity
Other Attributes: INST East Asian Studies Electives
Enrollment Limit: none
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1886
JAPN 255 - 01 (F) SEM Love & Death in Mod Japan Lit (D) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsExploring Diversity Initiative Christopher A. Bolton
MR 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Stetson 501 1886
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