to Japanese Literature (JAPN 160):
The Japanese Fantastic
: August 23 - December 4, 2006
Thursday, Dec. 14, 6:00 - 8:00pm
Class meets Wednesday evenings 6:00 - 8:30pm
Location: Dey Hall 203
3 credit hours
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Professor Jan Bardsley
Department of Asian Studies
305 New West
hours: W 1-3pm & by appt
is this course about?
|This course considers the creative
culture of Japan through its exploration of the fantastic -- monsters,
ghosts, witches, and super-heroes. We define the fantastic
broadly to refer to the unconscious and conscious fears and desires
that have inspired Japanese fiction, film and animation, and most
recently, Japanese toys. We will pay special attention to the ways in
which the Japanese fantastic provides a third reality that tries to
overcome such binary opposites as normal/abnormal, real/unreal,
human/machine, and Japanese/Other. We also discuss how this literature
compares with changing Japanese realities and how it both destabilizes
and supports the ideas of national values and "common sense."
Connect with Japan: On
the course homepage, you'll notice a link
to Connections. This takes you to Japanese newspapers (English
and Japanese) and to lists of Japanese movies in the library.
Keeping up with the Japanese news enriches your study of Japan and also
gives you specific ideas to pursue in your term projects for this
projects do the students do?
|The class meets
once a week, so students spend of their preparation time in reading
assigned materials and doing short reading assignments. Students
select one book on their own for more extended analysis. This
book can be any novel by famed contemporary writer Murakami Haruki or
another contemporary Japanese fiction writer.
Who is the instructor?
am a graduate of UC Davis (Dramatic Art) and UCLA (East Asian Languages
and Cultures) and have been a Tar Heel since 1994, teaching in the
Department of Asian Studies. I've taught this course since 1999,
each time in a slightly different form, and enjoyed it each time.
My own research tends to be on the real world history of Japanese women
and fiction that corresponds more directly to that reality, so it's
always fun for me to read fantastic literature and get a very different
take on Japan.
Most days you can find me in my office on the 3rd floor of
New West. You are welcome to drop in anytime I'm free though it is best
to make an appointment for longer consultations. I also will be in the
classroon after the seminar and would enjoy talking with you
How could this course be
useful for me?
elements of fantastic literature. You will be able to discuss the
fantastic using specific examples from Japanese literature, and be able
to argue your own position through a creative analysis of the texts
considered in this class.
- Gain fluency in
discussing literature. Class discussions will build on the
skills you have already developed for expressing your ideas
- Improve your
ability to write concisely. Most writing assignments in this
class, whether papers or exams, are short assignments. You will
have to hone your skills in writing convincingly yet succinctly. The
term project gives you more space to express your ideas but still
demands concise, clear writing.
What books should I buy?
the required readings are available now in the textbook section of the
UNC-CH bookstore under JAPN490. You need to have your own
copy of each of these books in these editions. These complement
our readings in Japanese of shorter documents.
- Anne Allison, Millennial Monsters:
Japanese Toys and the Global Imagination. UC Press, 2006.
- Yoshimoto Banana, Ann
Sherif, trans. Lizard. Faber and Faber, 2002.
- Izumi Kyoka. Charles Shiro Inouye, trans. Japanese
Gothic Tales. University of Hawaii Press, 1996.
- Murakami Ryū. Ralph McCarthy, trans. In the Miso Soup.
- Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Jay Rubin, trans. & ed.Rashomon and
Seventeen Other Stories. Penguin Classics, October 31, 2006.
What else do I need to
| All readings--what and when to
read--are posted on the course schedule; any changes to the schedule
will be announced in class and in advance of the due date.
- Be on time for
class. If there is any reason you need to leave the class early,
inform the instructor beforehand. There will be a short break of
ten minutes midway through the class.
- Turn off cell
phones before you enter the classroom.
- All essays
should be typed. All work must be handed in at the
of class on the due date.
- No work should
be turned in via email unless the instructor requests you to do so.
e-mail to the instructor, put your name in the subject line. This
helps ensure that your message will be read and answered promptly, and
not confused with spam.
How do I contribute to
this class and how will I be graded?
|You have a vital role to play in
determining the success of this course. Be prompt. Come prepared with
day's assignment. Be ready to work.
- Everyone is allowed one absence. This covers
illness, family emergency, and any other event that might unexpectedly
come up, and any other personal time you need to take. Please
notify the instructor by phone or email if you cannot attend class.
Unless there is a medical emergency, two or more absences will count
against your grade.
- To get attendance credit, you must be present during the
entire class meeting.
- Three consecutive unexcused
absences constitutes an automatic F in the course and
would disqualify the student from further seminar attendance. Please
let the instructor know if anything comes up in your personal life that
makes your college work overwhelming. There are lots of sources
of help at UNC-CH and I can aid you in finding them.
- Please let the instructor know if you have any special needs
such as a learning disability or physical need that affects your
participation in this class. It's best if we can work out early on how
to accommodate this.
- Everybody gets one "pass"--one time you can turn in homework
late, but only one.
Other than that no late homework is accepted.
- 1-2 page
weekly writing assignments about the reading will be due at the
beginning of each class. You'll receive the essay topic at the end of
class the week before it's due. Short essays give you an
opportunity to focus your thoughts on the reading and lead into class
2 x 15%
- Longer essays
( 5 pages) serve a
useful purpose in pushing us to organize material. In the process of
doing this, we develop new ideas about a topic. (No short essay due on
Take-Home Midterm Essay:
Scheduled for Wednesday,
Take-Home Midterm Essay: Scheduled for Wednesday, november
- The seven-page
analytical paper provides you the opportunity to investigate one aspect
of this course in more detail by closely reading one fantastic novel.
recommend that you select one novel by Murakami Haruki, although I'd be
glad to consider the work of another Japanese author--just check with
me first. Once you've chosen and read your book, you're ready to
go on to the next steps.
- Your paper begins by raising one major
question. As example might be: "How does Murakami use the
fantastic to comment on memories of the Pacific War in postwar
Japan?" In order to figure your questions, it's a good idea to
read critical essays about Murakami in particular or the fantastic more
broadly. Find at least two critical essays that you can cite in
your paper as providing you ideas. Since almost everyone in the
class will be reading Murakami for this assignment, I recommend you
pool resources--share information about what critical essays are most
- Your paper should give a brief description
of the novel's plot and the author's life and work, but
concentrate most on exploring your
argument. Use quotes from the novel to support your points.
In class, we can discuss what makes a good analytical essay by
- The paper is
graded on originality of the questions, thoroughness of your reading,
and clarity and style of the exposition.
- The research paper should be turned in Monday, November 20th. Both the proposal and the
term paper may be turned in earlier than the due dates. I will return
the graded paper to you the week after Thanksgiving.
understood that all members of this class pledge to uphold the honor
code of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in all work
completed for this course.
- There will be
a short, multiple-choice component of the final exam that tests your
knowledge of the readings of writer Akutagawa done after Thanksgiving.
There will also be a
take-home portion of the exam--a short essay; you will receive the
question for this exam at the last class and turn it in when you come
to the final.
- The final exam
is scheduled for THURSDAY, Dec. 14, 6:00-8:00pm.
- Final grades should be posted by
Saturday, December 17.