Professor Ted Mack
Gowen 248
Office hours: MW 11:00-12:00


JAPAN 532: Graduate Seminar in Modern Literature

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30-2:20 p.m.

Mary Gates Hall 288

Banned Books: Literary Censorship in Imperial Japan

The seminar will focus on books banned by the Japanese government between 1896 and 1941.  Although the primary focus will be on censorship during the Taishô (1912-1926) and early Shôwa (1926-1989) periods, we will also read earlier censored works in order to provide background.  Readings will include works be some of modern Japan's most famous authors, including Shimazaki Tôson, Tokuda Shûsei, Tanizaki Jun'ichirô, Nagai Kafû, and Shiga Naoya.

Although censorship will be the overarching theme of the course, the primary goal of this class is the improvement of students' reading skills to allow them to read more quickly, more carefully, and more critically.  At the same time, the course aims at developing students' ability to construct interesting readings of literary works and to argue them persuasively in English.

All readings are available on reserve in the East Asian Library.  When possible, readings will also be available as electronic reserves. Readings marked with an asterisk (*) are available in English translation.  Students are encouraged to use these in conjunction with the original texts.  Story lengths are indicated in parentheses ().


PARTICIPATION: All class members will be expected to finish every story before class meets.  Expectations of comprehension, however, will vary by student based on his or her language ability.  Native speakingstudents will be expected not only to have completed the reading, but also to have examined relevant external sources.  Non-native speaking specialists will be expected to have completed the reading with a good grasp of the complexities of the text.  Non-native speaking, non-specialist students will be expected to have completed the reading with a firm understanding of the progression of events and the primary emotional forces at work.  Since participation is a vital aspect of the class, attendance is required at all sessions.  Unexcused absences will affect one's participation grade.

RESPONSE PAPERS: In order to begin pulling thoughts together, students will be expected to prepare a one-page response paper for each work of fiction.  (The discussion leader may submit his or her overview handout and 5 points [see below] in lieu of a paper.)  These papers do not have to be polished or make a strong argument.  They should begin by summarizing the story and end with at least one question or comment for class discussion, including citations of important passages relevant to that point.  Students will submit these at the end of class meetings.  These papers will not be graded, but failure to submit them will affect one's participation grade.  Late papers may be accepted under special circumstances.

LEADING: All class members will be expected to lead at least one discussion during the term; stories will be assigned at the first meeting.  Discussion leaders will begin the class with an overview of relevant information about the story and its author including, but not limited to: biographical information, historical context, and site of publication.  This information should be outlined on handouts for fellow students.  Discussion leaders will also be responsible for preparing 5 questions or discussion points to present to the class in order to facilitate class discussion, though not all of these questions will necessarily be used.

PAPERS: Students will be expected to write two papers of 2000 words in length during the term.  (The second paper can be a 4000 word expansion of the first paper.)   The goal is to produce papers that could be presented at an academic conference.  The first is due before class on February 3, the second during the exam period on March 15.  The papers should argue a coherent point based firmly in the text of stories read during the term, citing specific passages to support the argument.  Specialists should also display a familiarity with relevant secondary scholarship. 

GRADING: Your final grades will consider your participation (40%), your discussion leading (20%), and your papers (20% each).  Though the quality of your work is central to your grade, evaluations of that quality will take into consideration individual skills.  Effort will be rewarded.

STUDY GROUPS: I encourage students to meet outside of class to discuss the texts and problems they have encountered in reading those texts.  Please note that this does not include dividing up the reading of a story; all students will be expected to have read all of the stories, in full.

CHEATING AND PLAGIARISM: The presentation of another's words and ideas as one's own is a serious offense; violations will be dealt with according to the University codes of conduct, which stipulate sanctions up to and including expulsion.

ACADEMIC ACCOMMODATIONS: I will do everything I can to accommodate students with particular needs.  To request such an accommodation, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, (206) 543-8924 (V/TTY).  If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating that you require such accommodation, we can discuss ways to meet those needs.

January 6
Oguri Fûyô, "Neoshiroi" (18) [September 1896]
  • Itô Sei, "Oguri Fûyô kaidai"
  • Kaneko Akio, "Kyômai sôkan: Oguri Fûyô 'Neoshiroi'"
  • Jay Rubin, Injurious to Public Morals (1984), pp. 3-52.
Uchida Roan, "Yaregaki" (24) [January 1901]
  • Hibi Yoshitaka, "'Moderu mondai' no hassei: Uchida Roan 'Yaregaki'"
Uchida Roan, “’Yaregaki’ hatsubai kinshi ni tsuki” (15)
  • Kamei Hideo, "Gensetsu tôsei/handokusha-teki na 'yomu' kôi no hajimari"
  • Ichiko Natsuo, "Edo hikka jijô"
  • Rubin, 108-168
Shimazaki Tôson, "Kyûshujin" (44) [November 1902]
  • Chida Hiroyuki, "Shimazaki Tôson, 'Kyûshujin' ni hajimaru 'junan' to sakuryaku"
Tokuda Shûsei, "Baikai-sha" (12) [April 1909]
  • Upton Sinclair, "How to be Obscene"
  • Arthur Miller, "On Censorship"
Osanai Kaoru, "Hogo" (12) [September 1910]
  • Ishihara Chiaki, "Gendai shuppan media to kisei"
Tanizaki Jun'ichirô, "Hyôfû" (35) [October 1911]
February 3
PAPER #1 Due; Student presentations
Oguri Fûyô, "Ane no imôto" (18) [June 1909]
  • Rubin, 169-224
Nagai Kafû, "Natsu sugata" (31) [1915]
  • Rubin, 227-278
Tokuda Shûsei, "Sotsugyô magiwa" (18) [June 1941]
Shiga Naoya, "Nigotta atama" (46) [1918]
  • Yamada Shunji, "Ken'etsu to honbun"
Niwa Fumio, "Chûnen" (12) [July 1941]
Kobayashi Takiji, "Kani kôsen"* (63) [1929]
  • Shimamura Teru, "Kobayashi Takiji 'Kani kôsen' to chika katsudôka suru shakai-shugi undô"
Hatanaka Shigeo, Shôwa shuppan dan'atsu shôshi (1965), pp. 1-21
March 2
Ishikawa Tatsuzô, "Ikite iru heitai"* (78) [1938]
  • Hanada Toshinori, "Heitai o kaku to iu koto"
Hatanaka, SSDS, pp. 157-188
Inoue Tatsuo, "Motto hikari o" (58) [December 1941]
Student presentations.
March 15
Final paper due.


Additional Readings Available on Electronic Reserves
Ishikawa Jun, "Marusu no uta"* [January 1938]