Introduction to Japanese Literature
This course explores the format and conventions of the Japanese short story, comparing them to the format and conventions of haiku and the novel or shōsetsu. Students are exposed to a large amount of Japanese text in the original, learning vocabulary with which to discuss literature using the Japanese language. Students practice literary analysis through informal class discussion, a short oral presentation, and a written essay. Students learn to appreciate the rhythms and nuances of literary Japanese through class discussion as well as through translation.
We will begin with some short stories by the famous contemporary writer Murakami Haruki. After Spring Break we will take advantage of the cherry blossom season to study haiku poetry and compose some of our own. Towards the end of the course we will read some work by Natsume Sōseki, taking note of the difference between modern literary style and that of the Meiji period (1868-1912). Murakami Haruki is sometimes seen as the ‘modern Sōseki’, so we will explore the similarities and differences between these two authors.
, This course may be repeated for students who transfer credits from a study abroad program.