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Japanese

Courses

JAPN101Beginning Japanese IIntroductory course; basic grammar and vocabulary; emphasis on listening and oral foundations; hiragana and katakana and an introduction to kanji. Students are encouraged to begin this course sequence in their first year in order to complete the three-quarter sequence (JAPN 101, 102, 103) required for study abroad, as well as the second year sequence (JAPN 201, 202, 203) before study abroad.
JAPN102Beginning Japanese IIFurther introduction to basic grammar and vocabulary; development of fundamental reading and writing skills using hiragana, katakana, and approximately 50 kanji. Prerequisite: JAPN-101
JAPN103Beginning Japanese IIIReinforcement of basic listening and development of oral and aural competency; further achievement of reading and writing skills using the kana and approximately 100 kanji. Prerequisite: JAPN-102 or equivalent placement
JAPN200Special Language StudiesA half-credit course designed to augment and extend the regularly offered language sequence. Advanced students may have the option of enrolling in a JAPN 200 course to maintain their Japanese after study abroad. JAPN 200 meets only half the hours of a full credit course. Students must enroll in JAPN 200 twice in order to receive one unit of credit. Will not replace any regular language course already on the curriculum.Prerequisite: Permission of program chair.
JAPN201Intermediate Japanese IFurther work in conversation, oral interpretation, and elementary composition using approximately 200 kanji; study of idioms fundamental to an active use of spoken and written Japanese.Prerequisite: JAPN-103 or equivalent placement
JAPN202Intermediate Japanese IIFurther refinement in areas studied in JAPN 201.Prerequisite: JAPN 201 or equivalent placement
JAPN203Intermediate Japanese IIIFurther refinement in areas studied in JAPN 202.Prerequisite: JAPN-202 or equivalent placement
JAPN236Pre-Modern Japanese LiteratureThis course deals with literature produced in the Japanese court in the Japanese language between the ninth and fourteenth century and will focus on the of the women's tradition of the court. Japan is the only nation in the world whose early canonical works of prose literature in the vernacular are consistently and overwhelmingly by women. This course will examine several major texts of that early tradition, the second of which, Tale of Genji, is the earliest piece of long prose fiction in the world. We will be analyzing the various texts in relation to such questions as the following: What sorts of social/cultural circumstances supported the flowering of a woman's literary tradition? What have been the themes of their writings? What role did these texts serve in the lives/consciousness of their predominately female audience?
JAPN237Japanese Literature in Translation: Tokugawa (Early Modern)The Tokugawa period in Japan spanned roughly two hundred fifty years (1603-1867). The central ideology of the state was a combination of Confucianism, a philosophy imported from China, and what came to be called bushidô (the way of the warrior), both of which stressed hierarchical social relationships, loyalty, and honor. With a few exceptions, however, the Tokugawa period was one of peace in which the skills of a warrior were seldom called upon. It saw the urbanization of a number of major cities in Japan, chief among them Edo, Osaka, and Sakai, and along with that urbanization the growth of a money-based economy and an urban, commoner culture. Much of the literature discloses these twin spirits and their conflict. In this course our readings will focus on several genres and authors: the plays of Chikamatsu Monzaemon, the prose works of Ihara Saikaku, and the poetry of Bashô.
JAPN238Post-War Japanese Literature in TranslationJapan's defeat in WWII in 1945 forced the Japanese people to re-examine radically their value systems and social structures to search anew for self-identities. It also ushered in a modern society in which earlier aesthetic and communal values may have little place and in which many intellectuals feel a fundamental alienation. In this course, we will read works by three major Japanese writers of the post-war period: Dazai Osamu, Mishima Yukio, and Nobel-prize winner Ôe Kenzaburô. We will address such issues as the loss of values, both personal and cultural in post-war Japan, responsibilities for the war, etc. Attention will also be given to the authors' experimentations in style and narrative format, which distinguish their works both from traditional Japanese as well as Western fiction.
JAPN239Modern Japanese Literature in TranslationThis course will examine a number of Japanese authors, from the late 19th century through the early 20th century, who have addressed the cultural and psychic disease that resulted from Japan's encounter with the West and transformation of Japan into a modern, nationalistic state. Authors read will include: Natsume Soseki, Mori Ogai, Higuchi Ichiyo, and Tanzaki Jun'ichiro.
JAPN240Japanese Culture through FilmThis course will examine Japanese culture through film. Films are cultural artifacts and so may display the influence of long-standing aesthetic conventions in their structuring, choice of story, and tone. In addition, films are an important way in which their makers and audience can consciously frame questions about their own society and history. In this course, we will experience and analyze a series of films, mostly post-World War II productions, as social commentary and as examinations of Japanese history and politics. Although the course is organized by topic, effort will also be made to view films by the majors directors of post-war Japan: Mizoguchi, Ozu, Kurosawa, Imamura, Itami, Kitano, Kore-eda. The films we view will all be subtitled in English.
JAPN/SEMN242Contested HistoryThis course will examine the controversies surrounding the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the proposed exhibit of the Enola Gay at the Smithsonian fifty years later. Our goal is not to arrive at a definitive judgment on any of these events or sites, whether on political, military, or ethical grounds. Instead, we will interrogate various perspectives, placing them in the context in which they operated and critically analyzing their argumentation. That is, we will look at how memories of the past are deeply implicated in the creation and affirmation both of national and personal myths of significant actions and moral character. By doing so, we will achieve not only a complex view of the events and sites but also how the contest of memories and analyses either shores up or calls into question personal and national identities. This course is a Shared Passages Sophomore Seminar. Students will be asked to provide significant leadership in discussion and the overall conduct of the class.Prerequisite: Sophomores Only
JAPN245Japanese Language in SocietyThis course explores several major aspects of language use associated with Japanese culture and society. The course aims not only at familiarizing students with various aspects of Japanese language with reference to culture and society, but also their developing an appreciation for a different culture. When discussing the inherent inter-relationship between language and culture, including the beliefs, values, and social organization, we will focus on the ideas of power, hierarchy, gender, and history. No previous knowledge of Japanese or linguistics is assumed or required. Readings, lectures, and discussion are all in English.
JAPN250Manga/Anime and Gender in Modern JapanWhy are manga/anime so popular? Let's find out. This course undertakes a critical analysis of manga (comics) and anime (animation). We will examine these media's historical origins, narrative features, the world's reception and much more. The samurai warrior, the bishônen (beautiful boy), and the sexy cyborg-gender in Japanese culture has vivid representations. This course explores constructions of masculinity and femininity, paying attention to the figures of the girl as the postwar descendant of the bishônen, the ostensibly undersocialized otaku and yaoi culture and transgender manga where imagination opens the door to alternate and critical realities.
JAPN301High Intermediate Japanese LanguageThis course is the first level of the third-year Japanese language sequence, offering more advanced training in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.Prerequisite: JAPN-203 or equivalent placement
JAPN302High Intermediate Japanese Language IIThis course is the second of the third-year Japanese language sequence, offering more advanced training in the four skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.Prerequisite: JAPN-301 or equivalent placement
JAPN401Advanced JapaneseThis class is an advanced level class. It is expected that students will have a strong base in Japanese grammar and the four language skills of Japanese: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, as well as aspects of Japanese culture and society.Prerequisite: Placement or at least six-month study abroad and permission.
JAPN490Senior Seminar
JAPN593Senior Individualized ProjectEach program or department sets its own requirements for Senior Individualized Projects done in that department, including the range of acceptable projects, the required background of students doing projects, the format of the SIP, and the expected scope and depth of projects. See the Kalamazoo Curriculum -> Curriculum Details and Policies section of the Academic Catalog for more details.Prerequisite: Permission of department and SIP supervisor required.