Japanese Course Descriptions

Japanese Language

Instruction covers all levels of modern Japanese. Equal attention is given to speaking, writing, reading,and composition. Classical and modern literature, including cross-cultural courses, are offered in the original and in translation on a regular basis. Overseas programs are available for advanced students to study in Japan. Funds for language study in East Asia are available from the Weedon East Asia Travel Fund.

JAPN 1010 First-Year Japanese I (4) (Y)

First-Year Japanese provides fundamental linguistic knowledge, communication skills, and learning strategies that can be applied to situations in everyday life. All four skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) are equally emphasized.  Prerequisite: none.

JAPN 1020 First-Year Japanese II (4) (Y)

The second half of First-Year Japanese.  Prerequisite: JAPN 1010 or department placement exam.

JAPN 2010 Second-Year Japanese I (4) (Y)

In Second-Year Japanese, students will work towards intermediate-level proficiency in both the written and spoken language, focusing on mastery of the fundamentals of grammar and vocabulary through practicing situated conversations, writing assignments, and engagement with authentic materials (TV dramas, recorded conversations, websites etc.) in order to develop a greater understanding of Japanese culture and communicative strategies.  Prerequisite: JAPN 1020 or department placement exam).

JAPN 2020 Second-Year Japanese II (4) (Y)

The second half of Second-Year Japanese.  Prerequisite: JAPN 2010 or department placement exam.

JAPN 3010 Third-Year Japanese I (3) (Y)

Third-Year Japanese is designed to further develop and integrate students’ abilities in the language, including acquiring proficiency at extended narration and description of information about themselves, their country, Japan and the world in an organized and articulate manner. Prerequisite: JAPN 2020 or department placement exam.

JAPN 3020/5020  Third-Year Japanese II (3) (Y)

The second half of Third-Year Japanese.  Prerequisite: JAPN 3010 or department placement exam.

JAPN 3015 Language House Conversation (1) (Y)

For students residing on the Japanese floor in Shea House. Prerequisite: instructor permission.

JAPN 3025 Language House Conversation (1) (Y)

For students residing in Shea House. Prerequisite: instructor permission.

JAPN 3100 Supplemental Reading in Japanese I (1) (Y)

The first in a two-part sequence, to be taken in conjunction with JAPN 3010. Students will acquire college-level reading and writing skills through engagement with articles and essays written by Japanese for the Japanese public.

JAPN 3110 Supplemental Reading in Japanese II (1) (Y)

The second of a two-part reading course, to be taken in conjunction with JAPN 3020. In-depth study of authentic materials such as newspapers, short essays, and brief articles. Prerequisite: JAPN 3010 or equivalent background.

JAPN 4710/5710 Introduction to Literary Japanese (Bungo) (3) (Y)

An introduction to the Japanese as it was written from earliest times up until the mid-twentieth century. In addition to familiarizing students with grammatical fundamentals of literary Japanese and their differences from the modern language, the course will introduce students to representative writing styles from a wide variety of genres and historical periods. Prerequisite: JAPN 3010 or equivalent background.

JAPN 4800 Lost and Found in Translation  (3) (IR)

An advanced language seminar in which students will read, analyze, and translate works by leading contemporary Japanese fiction writers. By comparing professionally translated passages, students will also learn to appreciate not only the inevitability of losing something in translation, but also the pleasure of unearthing something unintended even by the author.

JAPN 4801  Japanese for Professionals (3) (IR)

This course aims to cultivate advanced Japanese language students’ abilities to use their linguistic skills and cultural knowledge within a professional setting, no matter the career path they choose to take, as well as developing their more general ability to demonstrate awareness of cross-cultural differences and to operate effectively in a global environment.  Prerequisite: JAPN 3020 or department placement exam.

JAPN 4830 Media Japanese (3)

In this course, students will interpret, analyze, and discuss various media for education, business and entertainment--such as newspaper articles, blogs, and statistics--in order to gain a deeper linguistic and cultural understanding of contemporary Japan by comparing and contrasting different perspectives on current issues.  Prerequisite: JAPN 3020 or equivalent background.

JAPN 4993 Independent Study in Japanese (Varies) (SI)

Japanese Literature in Translation

JPTR 3010/5010 Survey of Traditional Japanese Literature (3) (Y)

This course provides an introduction to Japanese literature from earliest times through to the nineteenth century. We will read selections from representative texts and genres, including myth, poetry, prose fiction, memoir literature, drama, and works of criticism.

JPTR 3020/5020 Survey of Modern Japanese Literature (3) (Y)

A gateway to the rich, diverse modern Japanese literary tradition, from the early 1900s to the present, this course adopts socio-cultural and gender perspectives in the context of world literature.

JPTR 3100/5100   Myths and Legends of Japan (3) (IR)

A seminar exploring Japan's earliest myths describing the origins of its islands, their gods, and rulers through close readings in English of eighth-century chronicles and poems. Fulfills the Non-Western and Second Writing requirements.

JPTR 3210/5210 The Tale of Genji (3) (IR)

A seminar devoted to an in-depth examination in English translation of Japan's most renowned work of literature, often called the world's first novel. Satisfies the Non-Western and Second Writing requirements.

JPTR 3290/5290 Feminine Fiction in Japanese Court Literature (3) (IR)

This seminar will take up the world's earliest instance of literature written extensively by, for, and about women, including such famous works as the Pillow Book of Sei Shônagon and Sarashina Diary, among others. The focus will be on reading gender as a fictional enactment of desire and identity that is performed through acts of writing and reading. No prior knowledge of Japanese language or literature is required.

JPTR 3390/5390 Modern Japanese Women Speak Their Minds (3) (IR)

This seminar will examine modern Japanese women’s fiction and critical essays that represent a primer to Japan’s conflicted socio-cultural-gender history in light of the country’s complex psychological relationship to the West.

JPTR 3400/5400   Tales of the Samurai (3) (IR)

A seminar focusing on influential medieval and early-modern narratives such as the Tale of Heike in which the notion of the samurai first developed. No prerequisites. Satisfies the non-Western and Second-Writing requirements

JPTR 3559/5559 (New Course in Japanese in Translation): Japanese Popular Culture: Media, National, Global (3) (IR)

This course examines multiple forms of Japanese popular culture by focusing on the role of different media (film, TV, literature, anime, among others). Topics include race, gender, identity, technology, consumption, in addition to national/nationalization and global/globalization.

JPTR 3600/5600 Early Modern Japanese Literature (3) (IR)

A seminar devoted to early modern Japanese literature, spanning the period from 1600 to 1900, in which urbanization, mass education, and printing helped produce one of the most creative epochs in Japanese literary and cultural history. Prior exposure to Japanese literature is encouraged but not required.

JPTR 3800/5800   Urban Fantasies in Edo Literature (3) (IR)

This seminar takes up Japanese literature made between 1600 and 1900, including such iconic forms as haiku poetry and kabuki, that came out of one of the most sophisticated and advanced forms of urban culture in global history centered around the million-plus inhabitants of Edo (now Tokyo). Satisfies the Non-Western and Second Writing requirements.