Advanced Reading Comprehension and Translation
Contemporary Short Stories
Professor Ted Mack
Spring 2010: JAPAN 433
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, 12:30-1:50pm
We will read stories by such authors as Kawakami Mieko, Maeda Shirô, Aoyama Shinji, Tanizaki Yui, and Kakuta Mitsuyo. All of their stories appear in Bungaku 2009 (Tokyo: Kodansha, 2009), a collection of some of the best stories of 2008 (despite the title.) The book can be ordered through the Seattle Kinokuniya bookstore ($51.55). It is also available through Amazon Japan.
Please note that students may take any one or more of these classes; the only prerequisite is a 2.5 or higher in JAPAN 313 (or its equivalent.) Also, please note that JAPAN 460 can be used as a substitute for JAPAN 431, 432, or 433 in fulfilling major and minor requirements.
The following are recommended. We will discuss how to order them from Japan on the first day of class.
On occasion, elaboratons and clarifications of classroom discussions will be posted to my course blog, Reading Japanese.
Students' reading speeds differ so dramatically that it is difficult to provide a detailed schedule in advance. Please come to the first day of class to receive the first reading and to find out how much to prepare for subsequent meetings.
We will begin with Tanizaki's Yui's "Michiru heya," followed by (time permitting, in order): Maeda Shirô's "Iya na hanashi," Kawakami Mieko's "Anata-tachi no ren'ai wa hinshi," Aoyama Shinji's "Kanku no shizuku," and Kakuta Mitsuyo's "Yami no hashigo."
In-class overhead test.
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 written 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.
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 cell phones before class begins.
Weekly Short 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 Comprehensive Quiz (20%):
The final quiz will be made up of translation questions involving sentences chosen from among all the readings.
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: Watanabe Toshirô, et al., ed. Kenkyûsha's New Japanese-English Dictionary. Fifth Edition. Tokyo: Kenkyûsha, 2003.
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Page last updated on May 7, 2010