JAPAN 431: Readings in Contemporary Japanese Literature

Murakami Haruki's After Dark

Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 12:30-1:50pm
Savery Hall 151
Professor Ted Mack

This term we will focus on the most recent book by Murakami Haruki, After Dark, which was released on September 7 of this year. During the term one of Murakami's primary translators, Professor Jay Rubin (Harvard University), will visit the class to discuss with us his translation of the book, which is currently underway.

We will begin at the beginning of the novel and will work through it at an appropriate pace. The reading schedule below will be filled in as we progress, in order to keep track of our progress.

Vocabulary lists are available for chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 4, chapter 5, and chapter 6.

Reading Schedule

9/30 (Thursday) Introduction
10/4 (Monday) pp. 3-4
10/5 (Tuesday) pp. 4-7
10/7 (Thursday) pp. 7-9
10/11 (Monday) Quiz #1 (pp. 3-9); pp. 9-12
10/12 (Tuesday) pp. 12-16
10/14 (Thursday) pp. 16-19
10/18 (Monday) Quiz #2 (pp. 9-19); pp. 19-23
10/19 (Tuesday) pp. 23-28
10/21 (Thursday) pp. 28-34
10/25 (Monday) Quiz #3 (pp. 19-34); pp. 35-37
10/26 (Tuesday) pp. 37-40
10/28 (Thursday) Visit from Professor Jay Rubin, pp. 40-41
11/1 (Monday) Quiz #4 (pp. 35-41), pp. 41-44
11/2 (Tuesday) pp. 44-49
11/4 (Thursday) pp. 49-54
11/8 (Monday) Quiz #5 (pp. 41-54), pp. 54-57
11/9 (Tuesday) pp. 58-62
11/11 (Thursday) HOLIDAY -- Veteran's Day
11/15 (Monday) Quiz #6 (pp. 54-62), pp. 62-66
11/16 (Tuesday) pp. 66-70
11/18 (Thursday) pp. 70-73
11/22 (Monday) GUEST INSTRUCTOR Quiz #7 (pp. 66-73), pp. 73-77
11/23 (Tuesday) GUEST INSTRUCTOR pp. 77-83
11/25 (Thursday) HOLIDAY -- Thanksgiving
11/29 (Monday) (No quiz) pp. 83-87
11/30 (Tuesday) pp. 87-93
12/2 (Thursday) pp. 93-97
12/6 (Monday) Quiz #8 (pp. 83-97), pp. 98-100
12/7 (Tuesday) pp. 101-106
12/9 (Thursday) pp. 106-109
12/16 (Thursday) FINAL EXAM: Savery 151, 10:30-12:20

About the Course:
This course focuses solely on developing advanced Japanese reading skills through practice. Students read through contemporary Japanese fiction 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 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. 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 as we move through the story. Watch the online syllabus and talk with your classmates about where we are for any given class meeting.

Required Materials:


All texts are available online.
All necessary texts are available through the University of Washington E-reserves.
After Dark can also be purchased new at the Seattle Kinokuniya bookstore for $21.70.
Many of the texts for this class require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Participation, preparation, and worksheets (50%):

All class members will be expected to complete assigned readings before class meets. For certain classes worksheets will be due as well. 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 one's 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.

Quizzes (30%; every Monday, unless otherwise noted):

Quizzes will be made up of translation questions involving sentences chosen from the previous week's reading.

Final Exam (20%; Thursday, December 16, 10:30-12:20 am, Savery 151):

The final exam will be made up of translation questions involving sentences chosen from the reading as a whole.

Recommended References:

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.

Japanese-English dictionary: Koh Masuda, ed. Kenkyûsha's New Japanese-English Dictionary. Fourth Edition. Tokyo: Kenkyûsha, 1974.

Fair Use:

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Page last updated on December 9, 2004