Professor Ted Mack
Gowen 248
Office hours: W 10:30-11:30

JAPAN 322: Japanese Literature II

Early Modern Japanese Literature, 1600-1900

MWF, 9:00-10:20 a.m., in BLM 414

This survey of Japanese writing covers the Tokugawa (1600-1868) and early Meiji (1868-1912) periods, examining fiction, non-fiction, and verse readings, all in English translation. Readings will cover a wide variety of genres, including: military tales, erotic tales, puppet plays, Confucian philosophical tracts, meditations, stories of the supernatural, comic books, kabuki, comedic dialogues, and parodies of classical works. The goal of the course will be to introduce students to the variety of literary production that existed during the early modern period in Japan, and to train them to read more carefully and 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. A copy of the textbook is on reserve (2 hour loan, no overnight) in the East Asian Library (PL782.E1 E23 2002). Students with Japanese language ability are encouraged to use the original texts, which can also be found in the library. Story lengths are indicated in parentheses (); in the case of long chapters, selections will be assigned.


PREREQUISITES: JAPAN 321 is highly recommended, though knowledge of classical Japanese literature is not required. Japanese language ability is not a prerequisite for this class; all readings are in English translation.

PARTICIPATION: All class members will be expected to complete all mandatory readings before class meets. Students are strongly encouraged to prepare at least one point about each reading before class. Each class meeting will involve student participation, including random calling of students to present their point about the works. The ability to make a productive and interesting point when selected will affect one's participation grade, as will contribution to class in the form of questions and comments. Secondary readings are recommended; each student will be assigned one of the readings and will make a five minute presentation on its content. Please write the presentation (roughly two pages, typed) in advance and hand it in upon completion.

Late arrivals disrupt class; therefore you are expected to arrive on time. Please turn off all beepers and cell phones before class begins.

EXAMINATIONS: Two exams will be given, each made up of identification questions and short essay questions.

GRADING: Your final grades will consider your participation (30%), your mid-term exam (25%), your secondary reading presentation (10%), and your final exam (35%). 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.

FEEDBACK: You may send anonymous feedback to me about the course via this link. You will be asked for your UW NetID (in order to prevent random spam), but that information will not be sent with the message.

REQUIRED TEXT: Haruo Shirane, ed. Early Modern Japanese Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.) Optional texts are available through JSTOR (UW Restricted); note that there are special instructions for accessing these resources from off campus.

January 7
Introduction (texts cited in class summary)
Secondary: Constantine N. Vaporis, "To Edo and Back: Alternate Attendance and Japanese Culture in the Early Modern Period" Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1. (Winter, 1997), pp. 25-67.

Secondary: Richard Lane, "The Beginnings of The Modern Japanese Novel: Kana-zoshi, 1600-1682" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3/4. (Dec., 1957), pp. 644-701. NOTE: This article contains high-quality images.

Ch. 3 Ihara Saikaku (required selections below)
  • "The Calendar Maker's Wife" (60-82)
  • "Life of a Sensuous Woman" (82-120)

Secondary: Howard S. Hibbett, "The Role of the Ukiyo-Zoshi Illustrator" Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 13, No. 1/2. (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp. 67-82. NOTE: This article contains high-quality images.

Ch. 3 Saikaku (con't)
  • "Though Bearing an Umbrella" (120-127)
  • "In Death They Share the Same Wave Pillow" (127-131)
  • "In the Past, on Credit, Now Cash Down" (131-136)
  • "In Our Impermanent World, Even Doorposts Are Borrowed" (150-154)

Secondary: J. Mark Ramseyer, "Thrift and Diligence. House Codes of Tokugawa Merchant Families" Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 34, No. 2. (Summer, 1979), pp. 209-230.


Secondary: Howard S. Hibbett, "The Japanese Comic Linked-Verse Tradition" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 23. (1960 - 1961), pp. 76-92.

Holiday -- Martin Luther King Day
Ch. 5 Matsuo Bashô (required selections below)
  • Bashô and the Art of Haikai (178-206)

Secondary: Steven D. Carter, "On a Bare Branch: Basho and the Haikai Profession" Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 117, No. 1. (Jan. - Mar., 1997), pp. 57-69.

Ch. 5 Bashô (con't)
  • "Narrow Road to the Deep North" (209-232)

Secondary: Steven D. Carter, "Basho and the Mastery of Poetic Space in Oku no hosomichi" Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 120, No. 2. (Apr. - Jun., 2000), pp. 190-198.

Ch. 6 Chikamatsu Monzaemon (required selections below) VIDEO
  • "The Love Suicides at Sonezaki" (242-259)
  • "The Love Suicides at Amijima" (313-347)

Secondary: C. Andrew Gerstle, "Hero as Murderer in Chikamatsu" Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 51, No. 3. (Autumn, 1996), pp. 317-356.

Ch. 6 Chikamatsu (con't)
  • "The Drum of the Waves of Horikawa" (259-283)
  • "The Battles of Coxinga" (283-301)
  • "The Heike and the Island of Women" (301-313)

Secondary: C. Andrew Gerstle, "Heroic Honor: Chikamatsu and The Samurai Ideal" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 57, No. 2. (Dec., 1997), pp. 307-381.

February 1

Secondary: Kurozumi Makoto, "The Nature of Early Tokugawa Confucianism" Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 20, No. 2. (Summer, 1994), pp. 331-375.


Secondary: Jacqueline Mueller, "A Chronicle of Great Peace Played Out on a Chessboard: Chikamatsu Monzaemon's Goban Taiheiki" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1. (Jun., 1986), pp. 221-267.

In-class mid-term examination (NOTE: Date has changed)

Secondary: Andrew L. Markus, "The Carnival of Edo: Misemono Spectacles From Contemporary Accounts" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 45, No. 2. (Dec., 1985), pp. 499-541.


Secondary: Leon M. Zolbrod, "Buson's Poetic Ideals: The Theory and Practice of Haikai in the Age of Revival, 1771-1784" The Journal of the Association of Teachers of Japanese, Vol. 9, No. 1. (Jan., 1974), pp. 1-20.


Secondary: Dennis Washburn, "Ghostwriters and Literary Haunts. Subordinating Ethics to Art in Ugetsu Monogatari" Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 45, No. 1. (Spring, 1990), pp. 39-74.


Secondary: W. G. Beasley, "The Edo Experience and Japanese Nationalism" Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 18, No. 4, Special Issue: Edo Culture and Its Modern Legacy. (1984), pp. 555-566.


Holiday -- Presidents Day


Chs. 16-17 Sharebon and Kibyôshi: Grilled and Basted Edo-born Playboy

Compare translation in Shirane to this translation from Adam Kern, Manga from the Floating World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006) 359-98.

Secondary: J. Scott Miller, "The Hybrid Narrative of Kyoden's Sharebon" Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 43, No. 2. (Summer, 1988), pp. 133-152.


Secondary: Robert B. Hall, "Tokaido: Road and Region" Geographical Review, Vol. 27, No. 3. (Jul., 1937), pp. 353-377. NOTE: This article contains high-quality images.


Secondary: Deborah Knight, "Why We Enjoy Condemning Sentimentality: A Meta-Aesthetic Perspective" The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 57, No. 4. (Autumn, 1999), pp. 411-420.
Also: June Howard, "What Is Sentimentality?" American Literary History, Vol. 11, No. 1. (Spring, 1999), pp. 63-81.


Secondary: Isao Soranaka, "The Kansei Reforms-Success or Failure?" Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 33, No. 2. (Summer, 1978), pp. 151-164.


Secondary: Samuel L. Leiter, "Keren: Spectacle and Trickery in Kabuki Acting" Educational Theatre Journal, Vol. 28, No. 2. (May, 1976), pp. 173-188. NOTE: This article contains high-quality images.

March 3

Secondary: Leon Zolbrod, "Yomihon: The Appearance of the Historical Novel in Late Eighteenth Century and Early Nineteenth Century Japan" The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 25, No. 3. (May, 1966), pp. 485-498.


Secondary: David Pollack, "Kyoshi: Japanese 'Wild Poetry'" The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3. (May, 1979), pp. 499-517.


Secondary: Robert N. Huey, "Journal of My Father's Last Days. Issa's Chichi no Shuen Nikki" Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 39, No. 1. (Spring, 1984), pp. 25-54.

Secondary: Sasaki Miyoko and Morioka Heinz, "Rakugo: Popular Narrative Art of The Grotesque" Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2. (Dec., 1981), pp. 417-459.
Also: Sasaki Miyoko and Morioka Heinz, "The Blue-Eyed Storyteller: Henry Black and His Rakugo Career" Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 38, No. 2. (Summer, 1983), pp. 133-162. NOTE: This article contains high-quality images.
March 19
Final examination: 8:30-10:20 a.m. Wednesday, 19 March, in BLM 414.
You can find a comprehensive review sheet for the final exam here.

Page last updated on February 15, 2008