Skip navigation

Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Department of Languages & Literatures

Japanese - Cherry Blossoms


Course Descriptions

This is a general guide to the courses available in Japanese. Courses may change over time, and some courses are not available some quarters. For the most up-to-date listing of available courses, log on to PioneerWeb and view course schedules.

JAPN 1001, 1002, 1003 Elementary Japanese (4 qtr. hrs. each)
Basic grammar, syntax and vocabulary; emphasis on oral skills; introduction to Japanese culture. Three quarter sequence.

JAPN 1216 Popular Culture of Japan (qtr. hrs.)

In this course we examine and analyze the emergence of particular forms of mass-produced culture, or culture for mass consumption, in Japan from the early modern period to the present. Using a variety of cultural materials enjoyed from the early modern period (1600-1868,) during which Japanese society underwent extensive urbanization, secularization, and cultural commodification, through to the present, the course focuses on overarching themes: media and information technology (woodblock printing, newspapers, and the internet); entertainment and gender (the all-male kabuki theatre and all-female Takarazuka revue); commodified romance; fiction (illustrated fiction, manga, and novels); anime and television fandom; healer-bots and cyborgs. No knowledge of Japanese required. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

JAPN 1416 Postwar Japan: Changing Perspectives in Literature and Culture (4 qtr. hrs.)
This course explores a range of Japanese cultural perspectives from the end of the Second World War to the present. The main focus is on the analysis and interpretation of Japanese literary texts, but during the course students also examine film, visual art, and other cultural products within a historical framework, to lead to a deeper understanding of the influences and events that have shaped both contemporary Japan and the wider world.

JAPN 1616 Samurai and Merchants: Cultures of Tokugawa Japan (4 qtr. hrs.)
Introduction to the cultures of Tokugawa, Japan, focusing on the tension between the samurai and merchant classes, the images they construct of self and other, and the morals and mores of their respective worlds. As well as examining Tokugawa fiction, drama, and other cultural artifacts, this course also considers later representation of the period and of its people in twenty- and twenty-first-century text, cinema, and television to understand the importance of contemporary influences on historical representation.

JAPN 1816 Classical Japanese Literature (4 qtr. hrs.) The course covers one thousand years of Japanese writing, including a myth-history detailing the origins of Japan, the development of the rich poetic tradition, female diaries, the classic The Tale of Genji, medieval tales of wars and hermits, the nô drama, and the haiku and travel diaries. It will focus on such key binaries as orality and literacy, poetry and prose, native and foreign, popular and high-brow, and masculine and feminine. The course will also stress principles of literary analysis and interpretation. No knowledge of Japanese required. This course counts toward the Analytical Inquiry: Society and Culture requirement.

JAPN 1992 Directed Study (4 qtr. hrs.)

JAPN 2001, 2002, 2003 Intermediate Japanese (4 qtr. hrs. each)
Continuing study of complex grammatical structures, vocabulary expansion and reading skills. Prerequisite: JAPN 1003 or equivalent. Three quarter sequence.

JAPN 2100 Conversation and Composition I (4 qtr. hrs.)
Intensive practice in oral skills, grammar review, reading and writing. Prerequisite: JAPN 2003 or equivalent.

JAPN 2600 Conversation & Composition II (4 qtr. hrs.)
Intermediate training in speaking, reading and writing. Prerequisite: JAPN 2100 or equivalent.

JAPN 2992 Directed Study (1-10 qtr. hrs.)

JAPN 3100 Advanced Conversation & Composition (4 qtr. hrs.)
Advanced-intermediate training in speaking, reading and writing. Prerequisite: JAPN 2600 or equivalent.

JAPN 3701 Topics in Japanese Culture (4 qtr. hrs.)
Selected topics in Japanese culture. Texts and films in both Japanese and English, with a focus on modern and contemporary Japanese culture. Prerequisite: JAPN 3100 or equivalent. May be repeated for credit.

JAPN 3991 Independent Study (1 to 5 qtr. hrs.)

JAPN 3992 Directed Study (1-10 qtr. hrs.)