Nihongo Bungaku: Japanese (Language) Literature
Perspectives on Modern Japanese Literature

Professor Ted Mack
Mary Gates Hall 074
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:30am-10:20am

The seminar will focus on works written in Japanese that challenge the notion of a national literature.  Writers include expatriate nationals, colonial subjects, non-native speakers, resident Koreans, and others who defy simple classification as "Japanese."

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. Critical theory readings will not be assigned, but students are encouraged to bring any germane concepts up in discussion.

All readings are available on reserve in the East Asian Library.  When possible, readings will also be available as electronic reserves. Page numbers are indicated in parentheses (), followed by story length, and the year composed in brackets []. "AS" signifies that the work received the Akutagawa Prize for literature; "ASN"; signifies that it was a nominee for the award.

Class Meeting Presenter Discussion Topic
9/30 (Thursday)   Introduction
10/5 (Tuesday) Junko Hinata Nobuo, Daihachigô tentetsuki (198-221) [1939]
10/7 (Thursday) Kôji Imamura Eiji, Dôkôsha (166-180) [1938]
10/12 (Tuesday) Dan M. Hasegawa Shun, Ahiru ni notta Wan (222-236) [1939]
10/14 (Thursday) Hye-jin Kim Sa-ryang, Hikari no naka ni (11-36) ASN [1939]
10/19 (Tuesday) Dan A. Ushijima Haruko, Shuku to iu otoko (237-253) ASN [1940]
10/21 (Thursday) Sarah Wang Changxiong, Honryû (220-250) [1943]
10/26 (Tuesday)   Ishizuka Kikuzô, Tensoku no koro (254-280) AS [1943]
10/28 (Thursday) Michiko Kim Tal-su, Fuji no mieru mura de (276-300) [1951]
11/2 (Tuesday)   Midterm papers due -- presentations
11/4 (Thursday)   Daigo Masao, Seijin-tachi no wan (227-271) [1970]
11/9 (Tuesday) Azusa Furuyama Komao, Pureô 8 no yoake (299-338) AS [1970]
11/11 (Thursday)
HOLIDAY -- Veteran's Day
  No class
11/16 (Tuesday) Sarah Ri Kaisei, Kinuta o utsu onna (7-31) AS [1972]
11/18 (Thursday) Fusae Yi Yang-ji, Yuhi (393-450) AS [1988]
John Lie, "Ordinary (Korean) Japanese," in Sonia Ryang, ed. Koreans in Japan (Routledge, 2000)
11/23 (Tuesday)
  No class
11/25 (Thursday)
HOLIDAY -- Thanksgiving
  No class
11/30 (Tuesday) Yuki Yû Miri, Kazoku shinema (252-294) AS [1996]
Lisa Yoneyama, "Reading Against the Bourgeois and National Bodies," in Sonia Ryang, ed. Koreans in Japan (Routledge, 2000)
12/2 (Thursday) Milan Rîbi Hideo, Ten'anmon (33-58) [1996]
Reiko Tachibana, "Beyond East and West," AJLS Proceedings, 2003
12/7 (Tuesday)   Gen Getsu, Kage no sumika (181-226) AS [1999]
Sonia Ryang, "Dead-End in a Korean Ghetto" Japanese Studies 22:1 (2001)
12/9 (Thursday)   Presentations
Additional readings:   Kim Suok-puom, Karasu no shi (7-102) [1957]
    Kin Kakuei, Kogoeru kuchi [1966]

Yan Sogiru, Takushii doraibâ nisshi [1984]


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 speaking students will be expected not only to have completed the reading, but also to have browsed 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 meetings of the seminar will have a student discussion leader; 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 about the author, historical context of the work and its production, the site and nature of the story's 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 can be presented at academic conferences.  The first is due before class on November 2, the second during the exam period on December 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.

This page was last updated on November 27, 2004