Japanese Course Descriptions

JAPN 111 Elementary Japanese I (4)

Introduction to the basic structure of the Japanese language. Practice in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on an accurate command of grammar and culturally appropriate communication skills.

JAPN 112 Elementary Japanese II (4)

Continued study of the basic structure of the Japanese language. Practice in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on an accurate command of grammar and culturally appropriate communication skills.

JAPN 115 Elementary Japanese I Abroad (4)

Introduction to the basic structure of the Japanese language. Practice in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on an accurate command of grammar and culturally appropriate communication skills. This course is equivalent to JAPN 111 on campus.

JAPN 116 Elementary Japanese II Abroad (4)

Continued study of the basic structure of the Japanese language. Practice in speaking, listening, reading and writing, with a focus on an accurate command of grammar and culturally appropriate communication skills. This course is equivalent to JAPN 112 on campus.

JAPN 202 Reading Group in Japanese (0-1)

Selected readings deal with world languages and cultures. Texts read may be classics in a national literature, works by writers who recently won a high literary prize, or texts dealing with current topics critical to the history or politics of a particular country. Texts may be tied to on-campus lectures on world literature by invited speakers. This course can be repeated once for credit with the permission of the chair. Offered for S/U grading only.

JAPN 211 Intermediate Japanese I (4)

Review and continued study of grammar together with additional training in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Satisfactory completion of JAPN 211 fulfills the global language proficiency requirement.

JAPN 212 Intermediate Japanese II (4)

Review and continued study of grammar together with additional training in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

JAPN 215 Intermediate Japanese I Abroad (4)

Review and continued study of language skills. Satisfactory completion of JAPN 215 fulfills the global language proficiency requirement. This course is equivalent to JAPN 211 on campus

JAPN 216 Intermediate Japanese II Abroad (4)

Review and continued study of grammar together with additional training in speaking, listening, reading and writing. This course is equivalent to JAPN 212 on campus.

JAPN 271 Individual Learning Project (1-4)

Supervised reading or research at the lower-division level. Permission of department chair required. Not available to first-year students.

JAPN 302 Reading Group in Japanese (0-1)

Selected readings deal with world languages and cultures. Texts read may be classics in a national literature, works by writers who recently won a high literary prize, or texts dealing with current topics critical to the history or politics of a particular country. Texts may be tied to on-campus lectures on world literature by invited speakers. This course can be repeated once for credit with the permission of the chair. Offered for S/U grading only.

JAPN 311 Advanced Japanese Language I (4)

Review and continued development of grammar together with development of skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing.

JAPN 312 Advanced Japanese Language II (4)

Review and continued development of grammar together with development of skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Prerequisite: JAPN 311 or 315

JAPN 315 Advanced Japanese I Abroad (4)

Continued study in language and culture in an immersion setting. This course may be used as a substitute for JAPN 311 on campus.

 JAPN 316 Advanced Japanese II Abroad (4)

Continued study in language and culture in an immersion setting. This course may be used as a substitute for JAPN 312 on campus.

JAPN 320 Japanese Literature in Translation (4)

Reading and analysis of classic literary works in English translation from selected periods. Examination of the development and adaptation of different literary genres in the process of social transformations such as migration and immigration. Taught in English.

JAPN 321 Topics in Japanese Literature (4)

A study of Japanese literature, film, manga comics, or other literary genre within a cultural context. Taught in English.

JAPN 321A Japanese Women Writers (4)

This course introduces novels, comics, and films created by Japanese female writers and directors since 1945. Postwar economic development made it possible for young talented women to go into a variety of cultural fields and become successful. We examine how these contemporary female creators have come to terms with issues of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation as well as how their products have intersected the changing phases of economic conditions. We read texts that rethink Japan’s founding myths from a feminist perspective, manga with frequent gender-swapping, mystery thrillers, horror stories about revenge, and popular novels by teenage women that have won major literary awards. Taught in English.

JAPN 321B Love in Japanese Literature & Film (4)

Through Japanese texts and visual media (film, print), this course explores a diversity of representations of love in modern Japanese culture, with a brief introduction to classical representations of love in order to set the framework for their modern legacy. We ask how love in Japan can be understood in relation to sexuality, gender, and family with reference to theories from gender and queer studies. We will move through themes such as double-suicide, modern love, feminism, homosexuality, prostitution, sex and war, castration, and more, pairing great literary works with their equally influential filmic adaptations. Taught in English.

JAPN 321C Introduction to Japanese Film (4)

This course gives a broad overview of Japanese film and visual culture from the 1940s to the present. Cinema in Japan has a rich history, from samurai sword-fight films to tokusatsu monster movies, horror, New Wave, films on the family unit, long-running drama series, documentary, anime, and beyond. We will explore the genres of Japanese film and their historical, political, and cultural contexts while gaining a critical language for discussing and writing about film. We will screen (subtitled) films by directors such as Mizoguchi Kenji, Kurosawa Akira, Masumura Yasuzo, Koreeda Hirokazu, Kawase Naomi, and many more.

JAPN 330 Topics in Japanese Culture (4)

A study of specific elements or issues in Japanese culture. Topics include: Transnational Japan, Japanese Folklore, Nuclear Japan, and others. Taught in English.

JAPN 330A Transnational Japan (4)

This course surveys a broad range of themes related to Japan's cultural history through analysis of literary and visual media from ancient to modern times. However, rather than seeking to discover an essence or key to understanding Japan, this course aims to complicate the picture of a unitary, internally consistent, and monolithic Japan. We take as premise that Japan is and has always been hybrid, fractured, and transnational. Hence, we interrogate how understanding of what is "Japan" often has much to do with transnational exchange, migration, negotiation, and acknowledge that this "Japan" is in constant flux. For example, we explore not only how Japanese thinkers represented Japan to people within Japan, but how thinkers attempted to project a certain image of Japan onto an international stage. We will work with both primary sources in translation and secondary sources, considering perspectives of the people of Japan--including ethnic minorities--and outsiders looking in. Taught in English.

JAPN 330B Japanese Folklore (4)

This course looks at the development of Japanese folklore, exploring the narrative origins of Japanese folk beliefs and myths as well as their transmission and adaptation to the present. With an introduction to theories of folklore, we delve into supernatural tales involving ghosts and shape-shifting creatures as well as moralistic teachings that inform Japanese religious traditions. Class material ranges from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (10th century) to collections of folklore by 20th century scholar Yanagita Kunio to the contemporary anime of Ghibli Studios. Participants will experience the orality of folktales through in-class narrations. Taught in English.

JAPN 330C Nuclear Japan: Atomic Bombs, Atomic Energy, Atomic Art (4)

This course explores literary, film, and artistic representations of Japan’s nuclear past from Hiroshima to Fukushima and today. While we consider the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on one hand, and the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima following the triple disaster of March 11, 2011 on the other in their respective specificities, the class also looks for points of convergence and divergence between the understanding of atomic weapons and atomic energy in the imagination of Japan and  the world. We look at witness narratives in short story and novel form; dramatic films depicting nuclear issues from Godzilla to recent dramatic and documentary films; we traverse through manga, anime, photography, painting, children’s books, poetry, digital art and more to gain insight into the possibilities for expression and representation in the atomic age. We will discuss and debate the ethical arguments behind the decision to drop the atomic bombs, the ethical dilemmas posed by nuclear energy, and the ethics of representing the victimhood of others in art. Taught in English.

JAPN 330D Nuclear Japan: Atomic Bombs, Atomic Energy, Atomic Art (4)

This course combines classroom learning at CSB/SJU during CD mod and ends with an experiential component abroad. With portions both at home on campus and abroad in Japan, this “embedded” course explores the legacy of nuclear weapons and energy in Japan through ethical perspectives. While we consider the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on one hand, and the nuclear meltdown in Fukushima following the triple disaster of March 11, 2011 on the other, we also look for points of convergence and divergence between the understanding of atomic weapons and atomic energy in the imagination of Japan and the world. We look at witness narratives in short story and novel form, and traverse media such as film, manga, anime, photography, painting, children’s books, poetry, and digital art to gain insight into the possibilities for expression and representation in the atomic age. After establishing a foundation for understanding Japan’s nuclear legacy in the domestic portion of the course, we deepen our knowledge by visiting Japan’s nuclear ground zeros. The Japan portion of the course will be based out of Tokyo, where there are many exhibits and spaces that commemorate Japan’s nuclear tragedies. From there, we will make trips to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Kyoto, as well as safe areas outside of Fukushima. Through discussions as a class and with Japanese students, reflections (journals) that compare our pre-Japan learning to that on site, and portfolio creations, students will demonstrate integration of the home and abroad portions of the course.

JAPN 341 Business/Professional Japanese (4)

Business Japanese reviews polite language (keigo) from the advanced Japanese language classes (311, 312) and expands its application for practical use in business settings. This includes proper workplace interactions, email correspondences, and culturally appropriate gestures and practices (such as the exchange of business cards). This course may be offered as a standalone, or crosslisted with other advanced Japanese courses, in which case learning material beyond the regular course textbooks will serve as supplement. 

JAPN 371 Individual Learning Project (1-4)

Supervised reading or research at the upper-division level. Permission of department chair and completion and/or concurrent registration of 12 credits within the department required. Not available to first-year students.

2020-2021 Course Catalog