JAPAN 435: Undergraduate Modern Japanese Literature Seminar
Spring 2021: Contemporary Women's Voices from Japan
This year's theme for the undergraduate modern Japanese literature seminar is contemporary women writers in English translation. We will read a variety of novels and short stories by leading women writers, discussing them both as works of literature and as explorations into contemporary social issues.
All works are in English translation and no Japanese language ability is required. Students are expected to have taken at least one class in Japanese literature, which can be fulfilled using any of a variety of UW courses (JAPAN 321, 322, 325, 360, 361, or 380) or the equivalent (with permission of the instructor).
Class will involve a substantial amount of reading each week and active participation in small group and plenary discussions.
We will be spending two class sessions on each of eight contemporary women writers. At the end of the term we will read a selection of short stories by another six.
Each Wednesday class will focus on short stories by the author that are available on the Internet, and on a novel in the following Monday class. Students will be expected to post a response about some aspect of one or more of each author's works to the discussion board dedicated to that author. After posting that response, students will be able to read and comment on other student's posts. Responses will be due by the end of the day of the Monday class. These posts will make up 60% of the final grade.
The remaining 40% of the final grade will be based on participation during class time discussion. Students will be given a grade each week reflecting the quality of their contributions to the two classes that week.
Readings: All of the short stories are available for free on the Internet; the novels may be available through the UW library, SUMMIT, the Seattle Public Library, the King County Library, or other library systems. Students will be expected to acquire copies of the following novels: Hiroko Oyamada, The Factory; Yukiko Motoya, The Lonesome Bodybuilder; Sayaka Murata, Earthlings; Yu Miri, Tokyo Ueno Station; Yoko Ogawa, Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales; Hiromi Kawakami, Strange Weather in Tokyo. You will also be asked to get Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami, but that will not be released in the edited paperback form until March 23. You are welcome to buy or borrow the books in electronic format. You are also welcome to read one or more of the works in the original Japanese, if you have sufficient reading ability.