JAPAN 433: Readings in Contemporary Japanese Literature

Ikuta Sayo, Shigematsu Kiyoshi, and Shôno Yoriko

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12:30-1:50pm
MEB 245
Professor Ted Mack


This term we will read three works of contemporary short fiction. We will begin with the conclusion of a story we began in JAPAN 431, Ikuta Sayo's "Kingyo no shigo." This will be following by Shigematsu Kiyoshi's "Chimao to Gasako" and Shôno Yoriko's "Koshino kanbai dorobô."

The reading schedule below is tentative, and will adjust based on the progress of the class. Students who were not enrolled in JAPAN 431 will not be expected to participate on January 3, but will be expected to begin participating on January 5.

Reading Schedule

01/03 Ikuta Sayo, "Kingyo no shigo" (2005), pp. 24-25.
01/05 "Kingyo no shigo," p. 26.
01/08 "Kingyo no shigo," p. 27.
01/10 QUIZ #1; "Kingyo no shigo," p. 28.
01/12 Shigematsu Kiyoshi, "Chimao to Gasako" (1999), pp. 10-11.
01/15 NO CLASS: Martin Luther King Day
01/17 QUIZ #2; "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 12-13.
01/19 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 14-15.
01/22 QUIZ #3; "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 16-17.
01/24 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 18-19.
01/26 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 20-21.
01/29 QUIZ #4; "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 22-23.
01/31 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 24-25.
02/02 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 26-27.
02/05 QUIZ #5; "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 28-29. [Affective passive PDF]
02/07 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 30-31.
02/09 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 32-33.
02/12 QUIZ #6; "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 34-35.
02/14 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 36-37.
02/16 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 38-39.
02/19 NO CLASS: Presidents Day
02/21 QUIZ #7; "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 40-41.
02/23 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 42-43.
02/26 QUIZ #8; "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 44-45.
02/28 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 46-47.
03/02 "Chimao to Gasako," pp. 48-49.
03/05 QUIZ #9; Shôno Yoriko, "Koshino kanbai dorobô" (1996), pp. 184-90.
03/07 "Koshino kanbai dorobô," con't.
03/09 REVIEW
03/14 FINAL EXAM: Thursday, 15 March 2007, 8:30-10:20 a.m., MEB 245

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 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.

A grade of 2.5 or higher in 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 stories. 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.
Many of the texts for this class require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

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 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, 15 March 2007, 8:30-10:20 a.m., MEB 245):

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.

With a Yahoo ID, you can search 7 authoritative dictionaries on-line at Yahoo!辞書.

Fair Use:

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Page last updated on March 9, 2007