Japanese Studies Major

The major (for the BA) in Japanese Studies requires a minimum of 35 credit hours in the following areas:

For students who begin the major at the 200 level: JAPN 201 &202, JAPN 301 & 302, JAPN 350 & 351, Senior Thesis I and II, and 4 Asian Studies, WLIT or other related courses as defined below.

For students who begin the major at the 300 level: JAPN 301 & 302, JAPN 350 & 351, 1 directed reading, Senior Thesis I and II, and 4 Asian Studies, WLIT or other related courses as defined below.

Senior Thesis I and II (required course, 6 credits)

This course involves the writing of a substantial research paper in Japanese or English. Students will be expected to identify their faculty directors and topics by the end of their junior year. Exceptional papers may be considered for honors.

Study Abroad

Study abroad, especially Junior Year abroad in Japan, is highly recommended. All efforts will be made to assist interested students in planning their study and to grant the appropriate credit for courses taken at an approved Japanese university during the year abroad.  CWRU students have studied at Waseda, Keio, Sophia, Nanzan, and Tohoku Universities, among others. A semester or summer study abroad experience is also a possibility.

Please Note:

Normally, no more than two courses taken for Japanese Studies credit may simultaneously count toward a minor or toward another major.
While some language courses can be skipped in a sequence, progression is not allowed in reverse order. Additionally, students may not waive the language requirement.

Minor

For students beginning Japanese at the introductory level: JAPN 101, 102, 201, 202 and one 300 level course. For students beginning at the 200- level or higher: five courses at the 200 and 300 level or higher approved by the Japanese Studies advisor.

Honors

For especially talented and dedicated majors, a degree “with Honors in Modern Languages and Literatures” requires a 3.5 grade point average in JAPN courses and an exceptional Senior

Thesis devoted to the investigation of a topic related to Japanese language and culture.


Japanese Course Descriptions

JAPN 101. Elementary Japanese I. 4 Units.

Introduction to understanding, speaking, reading, and writing Japanese. Students learn to read and write hiragana and katakana syllabaries and 50 kanji characters. Students are expected to achieve control of the sound system and basic structure of the language. Emphasizes aural comprehension and speaking.


JAPN 102. Elementary Japanese II. 4 Units.

Continuation of JAPN 101. Emphasizes aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. Students learn approximately 100 new kanji characters.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 101.


JAPN 201. Intermediate Japanese I. 4 Units.

Further study of fundamental structures of Japanese. Students improve aural comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing abilities and learn approximately 100 new characters.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 102 or equivalent. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 202. Intermediate Japanese II. 4 Units.

Continuation of JAPN 201. Students learn an additional 100 kanji characters. With the completion of JAPN 201 – 202, students should have control of the fundamentals of modern Japanese and a firm foundation in the writing system.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 201 or equivalent. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 215. The World of Manga. 3 Units.

Manga (comic books and graphic novels) is one of the most important aspects of contemporary visual culture in Japan. It is consumed by millions of Japanese every day and has attracted intense attention around the world. As it constitutes one-third of the annual publications in Japan today, its breadth and scope are limitless. What does manga reveal about contemporary cultural production and consumption in Japan? What kind of special features are used in manga to attract people so much? What kind of genres do they have and what kind of readers do they have? These are some of the questions we will explore by surveying a large number of works produced in the last fifty years. Introducing graphic novels by major artists and writers, the course will expand your understanding of key components, social movements, and discourses associated with manga. You will examine the history of manga, its aesthetics, and social impact through assigned readings, including scholarly papers and manga books, as well as works selected by each student (in original Japanese or in English translation).


JAPN 225. Japanese Popular Culture. 3 Units.

This course highlights salient aspects of modern Japanese popular culture as expressed in animation, comics, and literature. The works examined include films by Hayao Miyazaki, writings by Kenji Miyazawa, Haruki Murakami, and Banana Yoshimoto, among others. The course introduces students to essential aspects of modern Japanese popular culture and sensibility.
Offered as JAPN 225 and WLIT 225. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 235. The Japan Experience: Kyoto. 3 Units.

The Japan Experience: Kyoto is designed to provide students an opportunity to use Japanese language skills they have acquired in real life situations and deepen their understanding of Japanese language and culture through experiential learning. The course has three major learning components: “Japanese Language Learning through Activities and Cultural Experiences,” “Japan Exploration Project,” and “Exchanges with Local College Students” and will consist of class meetings before the trip focused on preparation followed by 15 days in Kyoto. Japanese Language Learning through Activities and Cultural Experiences: In Kyoto students will explore the local neighborhood and report their findings in class. Several cultural activities will be organized: Zen meditation, tea activity, Japanese cooking class, etc. The tea activity will include a rare opportunity for students to meet a tea ceremony master and experience the way of Japanese traditional tea. Exchanges with Local College Students: Students from CWRU will be able to take advantage of Ritsumeikan University’s “Buddies” program where Japanese student volunteers are paired with participants to improve conversational skills and become better acquainted with the campus and Kyoto. CWRU students will also visit classes at a local college in Osaka for exchanges with students there. These exchanges will allow participants to reinforce their language skills, develop better communication skills, and deepen cultural understanding in both classroom and real-life settings. Japan Exploration Project: Students will complete individual projects during the course. They will design their own projects using resources available in Kyoto before the trip and prepare for it. Project themes will be chosen by students based on their interests. At the end of course, students will give presentations in Japanese, demonstrating their language proficiency development.
Prereq: JAPN 201.


JAPN 245. Classical Japanese Literature in Translation. 3 Units.

Readings, in English translation, of classical Japanese poetry, essays, narratives, and drama to illustrate essential aspects of Japanese culture and sensibility before the Meiji Restoration (1868). Lectures explore the sociohistorical contexts and the character of major literary genres; discussions focus on interpreting the central images of human value within each period. Japanese sensibilities compared to and contrasted with those of Western and other cultures.
Offered as JAPN 245 and WLIT 245. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 255. Modern Japanese Literature in Translation. 3 Units.

Focus on the major genres of modern Japanese literature, including poetry, short story, and novel (shosetsu). No knowledge of Japanese language or history is assumed. Lectures, readings, and discussions are in English. Films and slides complement course readings.
Offered as JAPN 255 and WLIT 255. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 265. Constructing the Samurai. 3 Units.

From concepts of premodern warriors calling out their names before doing hand-to-hand combat to modern salary men crushing the world with their economic prowess, samurai have come to be an iconic image of the Japanese people. Throughout the semester we will pay particular attention to the central themes in the historiography of warrior

society—roughly, the years between ca. 1110 and 1850 C.E. We will investigate how these documents were translated by modern societies, both east and west, in samurai film.
Offered as JAPN 265 and WLIT 265. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 301. Advanced Japanese I. 4 Units.

Emphasizes conversational proficiency and reading.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 202 or equivalent. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 302. Advanced Japanese II. 4 Units.

Continuation of JAPN 301; emphasizes conversational proficiency and reading.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 301 or equivalent. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 315. Origins of Anime. 3 Units.

Modern anime and manga authors and artists captivate audiences with rich stories and stylized art. This course investigates the origins of these stories by engaging premodern Japanese texts (in English language translation) and modern literary theory. Throughout the semester we will pay particular attention to commonalties among these literatures and narrative genres, as well as the extent they differ due to temporal/socio/religio/political concerns. Western and Asian literary theories, especially those concerning topics of translation, replacement, negotiation with classics, and gender and sexuality will also be extensively explored. We will interpret the historic human endeavor of story telling within the contexts of time and space and through a critical self-awareness of our own positions in the modern world.
Offered as JAPN 315 and WLIT 315. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 335. Japanese Linguistics. 3 Units.

The purpose of this course is to survey the principal research in Japanese linguistics for students who have basic knowledge of Japanese and are interested in more in-depth treatment of linguistic phenomena (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, etc.). Lectures and discussions will cover many different aspects of the Japanese language. There is a great deal of analytic studies of the Japanese language done both inside and outside Japan, which will be surveyed in this course. Students will become familiar with the major issues through lectures and class discussions, as well as through their reading of both primary and secondary sources. Both formal and functional approaches to the analysis of Japanese will be examined, and the acquisition of these structures will also be discussed. The course will also be useful for the improvement of students’ Japanese language proficiency.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 101 and JAPN 102, or equivalent competence in Japanese. Offered as COGS 335COGS 435JAPN 435LING 335 and LING 435. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN/WLIT 337. Love and Loss: Reading The Tale of Genji. 3 Units.

Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji (c. 1000 CE), the great Japanese classic often referred to as “the world’s first novel,” has been praised by countless readers and scholars since it was first circulated within the imperial court. In this course we will focus on themes of love and loss, paying special attention to the substitution that results from the hero, the shining prince Genji, losing his mother at a tender age and attempting to fill the void she left. Popularly thought of as a “playboy,” we will investigate the thematic, historic, political, social, and religious descriptions within Genji’s (many) love affairs, with a special emphasis on issues of gender, poetry, imagery, costume, music, religion, theater, and material culture of the mid-Heian era. Offered as JAPN337 and WLIT 337. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 345. Japanese Women Writers. 3 Units.

Contributions of women writers to the literature of pre-modern and modern Japan; investigations of how their works exemplify and diverge from “mainstream” literary practices. Emphasis on the social and cultural contexts of the texts.
Offered as JAPN 345 and WLIT 345. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 350. Contemporary Japanese Texts I. 3 Units.

The primary aim of this course is to develop communication skills in Japanese based on those that the students have acquired in JAPN 302 or equivalent. The students will read and discuss various texts such as daily conversations, essays, and news scripts with the assistance of vocabulary and kanji (Chinese character) lists and formal grammar explanations. Attention also will be given to enhancing the students’ writing and aural/oral proficiencies through regularly assigned homework, presentations, tape listening, video viewing, and classroom discussion.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 302 or equivalent. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 351. Contemporary Japanese Texts II. 3 Units.

This course is a continuation of JAPN 350 and its primary aim overlaps with that of JAPN 350: to develop more sophisticated communication skills in Japanese. Students will read and discuss various texts such as daily conversations, essays, and news scripts largely with the assistance of vocabulary and kanji (Chinese character) lists. Attention will be given to enhancing the students’ writing and aural/oral proficiencies through regularly assigned homework, presentations, tape listening, video viewing, and classrooms discussion.
Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement. Prereq: JAPN 350 or consent of instructor.


JAPN 355. Modern Japanese Novels and the West. 3 Units.

This course will compare modern Japanese and Western novellas, drama, and novels. Comparisons will focus on the themes of family, gender, and alienation, which subsume a number of interrelated sub-themes such as marriage, home, human sexuality, amae (dependence), innocence, experience, death, God/gods, and nature (the ecosystem).
Offered as JAPN 355 and WLIT 355. Counts as SAGES Departmental Seminar. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 396. Senior Capstone – Japanese. 3 Units.

The Senior Capstone in Japanese is an independent study project chosen in consultation with a capstone advisor. The capstone project should reflect both the student’s interest within Japanese and the courses he or she has taken to fulfill the major. The project requires independent research using an approved bibliography and plan of action. In addition to written research, the student will also present the capstone project in a public forum that is agreed upon by the project advisor and the student.
Counts as SAGES Senior Capstone. Prereq: Senior status required. Major in Japanese required.


JAPN 397. Senior Thesis I. 3 Units.

Intensive study of a literary, linguistic, or cultural topic with a faculty member, leading to the writing of a research paper in English or Japanese.
Limited to senior majors. Permit required.


JAPN 398. Senior Thesis II. 3 Units.

Continuation of JAPN 397.
Limited to senior majors. Prereq: JAPN 397.


JAPN 399. Independent Study. 1 – 3 Units.

Directed study for students who have progressed beyond available course offerings.


JAPN 435. Japanese Linguistics. 3 Units.

The purpose of this course is to survey the principal research in Japanese linguistics for students who have basic knowledge of Japanese and are interested in more in-depth treatment of linguistic phenomena (phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, etc.). Lectures and discussions will cover many different aspects of the Japanese language. There is a great deal of analytic studies of the Japanese language done both inside and outside Japan, which will be surveyed in this course. Students will become familiar with the major issues through lectures and class discussions, as well as through their reading of both primary and secondary sources. Both formal and functional approaches to the analysis of Japanese will be examined, and the acquisition of these structures will also be discussed. The course will also be useful for the improvement of students’ Japanese language proficiency.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 101 and JAPN 102, or equivalent competence in Japanese. Offered as COGS 335COGS 435JAPN 435LING 335 and LING 435. Counts for CAS Global & Cultural Diversity Requirement.


JAPN 450. Japanese in Cultural Context I. 3 Units.

The primary aim of this graduate course is to develop sophisticated communication skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in Japanese. The students will read and discuss various texts in the original, such as essays, news scripts, and literary works. Classroom instruction and discussion will be conducted in Japanese. The students also will be required to write a research paper of 4000-6000 letters/characters (10-15 genkoyoshi pages) in Japanese on a topic related to Japan and the student’s specialty.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 351 or equivalent.


JAPN 451. Japanese in Cultural Context II. 3 Units.

This course is a continuation of JAPN 450 and it aims at a further development of sophisticated communication skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) in Japanese. The students will read and discuss various texts in the original, such as essays, news scripts, and literary works both classical and modern. Classroom instruction and discussion will be conducted in Japanese. The students also will be required to write a research paper of 6000-8000 letters/characters (15-20 genkoyoshi pages) in Japanese on a topic related to Japan and the student’s specialty.
Recommended preparation: JAPN 450 or equivalent.