Reading Japanese Literature in English
This class is conducted mainly in English, and one work of literature will be used per class.
You are required to read the work in advance and prepare for the discussion in class. At the beginning of the class, you are expected to share with other students what you think about the work briefly, which is followed by discussion of the contents. In addition to discussion, the writer’s biography will be explained by the instructor in each class.
I hope these classes will be a good opportunity for you to encounter Japanese literature which you have always wanted to read or which you would not be exposed to otherwise. This class is open to everybody who is interested in Japanese culture or literature as well as to Japanese English learners.
This is not a proper literary criticism class that you would find at university. I would rather regard this as a sort of a book club where participants can freely share with one another what they feel about the work. I have taught a similar class (“Close Reading of George Orwell”) for the past 5 years, and I feel that one of the strengths of this kind of class is that students can better understand the text or they can acquire totally new perspectives by hearing a wide range of opinions from other students with varied backgrounds. I would feel very happy if you could simply feel the joy of encountering new authors and works.
Some of the writers who will be discussed in this course:
Haruki Murakami, Masuji Ibuse, Yasunari Kawabata, Ogai Mori, Junichiro Tanizaki, Yuko Tsushima, Atsushi Nakajima, Shusaku Endo, Osamu Dazai, Kenzaburo Oe, Yukio Mishima, Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Flow of class:
1. Share what you think about the work
2. Introduction of the author by instructor
3. Discussion (based on comprehension questions)
1. Read the work
2. Prepare for comprehension questions that will be sent to you at least 5 days before the class
The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories Edited by Theodore W. Goosen (Oxford)
*Pleases make sure to purchase this book online by the first day of the course.
Class Times & Dates
毎週日曜 18:00-19:35 (授業90分＋途中休憩5分)
Modern Japanese Short Stories Edited by Ivan Morris (Tuttle)
*Please make sure to purchase this book by the first day of the course.
Sep 4 (Sun)
Ogai Mori "Under Reconstruction"
Sep 11 (Sun)
Naoya Shiga "Seibei's Gourds" & "Night Fires"
Sep 18 (Sun)
Einosuke Ito "Nightingale"
Sep 25 (Sun)
Yoshiki Hayama "Letter Found in a Cement-Barrel" & "The Prostitute"
Oct 2 (Sun)
Yukio Mishima "The Priest and His Love"
12,500 yen (5 classes in total)
Maximum number of students
"Discovering more about the author's life and hearing many interesting interpretations from the other participants and the instructor. The lesson was perfectly structured and really interesting. I was completely captured and it gave me really a lot of inspiration to continue pursuing my study of Japanese literature".
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