Contemporary Japanese Literature
This course focuses solely on developing advanced Japanese reading skills through practice. Students read through contemporary Japanese short stories on their own and then meet to go over that reading, focusing on grammar and vocabulary but also discussing literary devices and effects. Unlike most other language offerings, this course is made up of readings that have not been tailored or selected for ease of comprehension. Students read the most celebrated short stories of recent years, regardless of difficulty, in their complete form. The goal of the course is to introduce students to the real complexity and beauty of literary Japanese, while providing them with the tools necessary to read even the most challenging fiction. The hope is that the course will begin students on a lifelong path of reading Japanese literature whether professionally or recreationally.
JAPAN 313 or its equivalent is an absolute requirement; JAPAN 431 and 432 are highly recommended. A high level of Japanese reading ability is required; expect the gulf between third-year Japanese readings and these stories to be substantial.
The syllabus below will be in flux throughout the semester. Although one week is initially dedicated to each work, in practice it might take more or less time. The syllabus will adjust accordingly.
3/31 (Monday) Introduction to the class, reference works
No preparation necessary for today's class.
4/2 (Wednesday) Okamatsu Kazuo, "Bunka no yakume", Bungaku 15-24.
Reading: pages 15-16.
What is the "role of the humanities"?
When does the story take place?
What are the relationships among the three main characters?
What is the importance of this "role" to Shirô?
4/4 (Friday) Okamatsu, con't.
Reading: pages 16-17.
4/7 (Monday) Okamatsu, con't.
Reading: pages 17-19.
4/9 (Wednesday) Okamatsu, con't.
Reading: pages 19-20.
4/11 (Friday) Okamatsu, con't.
Reading: pages 20-21.
4/14 (Monday) Okamatsu, con't.
Reading: pages 21-23.
4/16 (Wednesday) Okamatsu, con't.
Reading: pages 23-24.
Vocabulary list to be posted after class. In PDF format to avoid erroneous characters.
4/18 (Friday) Adachi Chika, "Raito mai faia", Bungaku 25-35.
"Bunka no yakume" vocabulary quiz.
Reading: pages 25-26.
Reading vocabulary list.
What happens to the narrator's brother?
4/21 (Monday) Adachi, con't.
Reading: pages 26-27.
Reading vocabulary list.
What does the doctor like to see the narrator draw? Why?
What does the narrator do to the dog? Why?
4/23 (Wednesday) Adachi, con't.
Reading: pages 27-28.
Reading vocabulary list. Updated 5/2/03.
What ends the narrator's friendship with the girl?
4/25 (Friday) Adachi, con't.
Reading: pages 28-29.
Reading vocabulary list.
Describe the outcome of her relationship with the married man.
What happens when the doctor embraces her? Why?
4/28 (Monday) Adachi, con't.
"Raito mai faia" vocabulary quiz #1.
Reading: pages 29-30.
4/30 (Wednesday) Adachi, con't.
Reading: pages 30-31.
5/2 (Friday) Adachi, con't.
Reading: pages 31-32.
5/5 (Monday) Adachi, con't.
"Raito mai faia" vocabulary quiz #2.
Reading: pages 32-33.
5/7 (Wednesday) Adachi, con't.
Reading: pages 33-34.
5/9 (Friday) NO CLASS
5/12 (Monday) Chino Yukiko, "Seian no zakuro", Bungaku 45-55.
"Raito mai faia" vocabulary quiz #3.
Reading: pages 45-46.
Complete "Seian no zakuro" vocabulary list.
What kind of person does our narrator meet on the bus?
What is the story that the man tells the narrator?
Why isnt the narrator able to contact Izumi?
Why does the narrator find when she goes back for the second pomegranate?
What do Hsian pomegranates come to represent for the narrator?
5/14 (Wednesday) Chino, con't.
Reading: pages 46-47.
5/16 (Friday) Chino, con't.
Reading: pages 47-48.
5/19 (Monday) Chino, con't.
"Seian no zakuro" vocabulary quiz #1.
Reading: pages 48-49.
5/21 (Wednesday) Chino, con't.
Reading: pages 49-50.
5/23 (Friday) Chino, con't.
Reading: pages 50-51.
5/26 (Monday) NO CLASS: Memorial Day
5/28 (Wednesday) Chino, con't.
"Seian no zakuro" vocabulary quiz #2.
Reading: pages 51-52.
5/30 (Friday) Chino, con't.
Reading: pages 52-53.
6/2 (Monday) Chino, con't.
"Seian no zakuro" vocabulary quiz #3.
Reading: pages 53-54.
6/4 (Wednesday) Chino, con't.
Reading: pages 54-55.
6/6 (Friday) TBA
Optional additional reading: Mizukami Tsutomu, "Saru" Bungaku 195-202.
Ôba Minako, "Akai mangetsu", KYBS 291-303.
Machida Kô, "Yadoya meguri", Bungaku 144-162.
Murata Kiyoko, "Shiomanuki" KYBS 343-361.
Miura Tetsuo, "Minomushi", KYBS 279-287.
Furui Yoshikichi, "Nakayamazaka" KYBS 9-28.
Kôno Taeko, "Hanshoyû-sha" Bungaku 69-78.
Tsutsui Yasutaka, "Yoppadani e no kôka", KYBS 163-173.
6/12 (Thursday) Final Examination, 8:30-10:20 am, Savery 313
PARTICIPATION and PREPARATION (50%)
All class members will be expected to complete assigned readings before class meets. Class meetings will involve recitation in Japanese, translation, and discussion of grammar in either English or Japanese. Every student will be called on at every class meeting; likely each will be called multiple times. Inadequate preparation will result in a reduction of ones participation grade. Late arrivals disrupt class; therefore you are expected to arrive on time. Please turn off all beepers and cell phones before class begins.
VOCABULARY QUIZZES (30%every Monday, unless otherwise noted)
Quizzes will have multiple components: vocabulary, grammar, and translation. Vocabulary questions will cover the readings and meanings of important words encountered in the text. Grammar questions will address specific points in sentences that appeared in the story. Translation questions will involve sentences chosen from the reading.
FINAL EXAM (20%Thursday, June 12, 8:30-10:20 am, Savery 313)
Japanese-Japanese dictionary: Shinmura Izuru, ed, Kôjien. Fifth edition. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1998.
Japanese character dictionary: John M. Haig, et al, ed. The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary. Tokyo: Tuttle, 1997.