Introduction to Japanese
the Eyes of a Mad, Old Man
Fall Semester 2003
Class meets Mondays,
Location: 215 Hanes Art
The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill
in Asian Studies
401 Alumni Building
Office hours: M 1-3pm
& by appt
is this course about?
|Japanese literature can mean many
things, refer to all kinds of writing from over a thousand years, and encompass
work outside of Japan. Japanese literature includes centuries
of debates, competitions, rule-books and prizes all devoted to understanding
what makes any given work worthy of our attention. In this course,
we're going to take the prolific writer Tanizaki Junichirô
(1965-1886) as our guide to the pleasures and politics involved in the
pursuit of Japanese literature. We'll consider his writing from the 1910s
through the early 1960s, and compare his work to short stories by other
famous authors writing in Japan. He will introduce us to the Japanese
classics, and he will also give us a wickedly comic look at the Modern
Girl and Modern Boy of the 1920s. He will take us through changing
ideas about sex, love and marriage in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Tanizaki
will make us laugh, cringe, get angry--sometimes he'll just make us feel
confused about what we're supposed to know about a character or a plot.
Over the next few months of reading Tanizaki along with other writers,
we will come to understand, challenge, and appreciate diverse aspects of
Who is the instructor?
Bardsley teaches Japanese literature, women's studies and first-year
seminars in the Curriculum in Asian Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. A
graduate of UC Davis and UCLA, I have lived and travelled in Japan. I enjoy
translating and writing about Japanese feminist debate, and have taught
women's studies classes in Japan. In collaboration with UNC-CH Communications
Studies professor Joanne Hershfield, I made a documentary
film about international women of Japan. My current research
explores women's magazines published in occupied Japan (1945-52). Most
days you can find me in my office on the 4th floor of the Alumni Building.
You are welcome to drop in anytime I'm free though it is best to make an
appointment for longer consultations.
is one of my all-time favorite Japanese writers! I first read his
novels as a student in Japan, and must confess that sometimes I was too
involved in his books to study for my Japanese language classes. I read
the novels again as a graduate student and then as an instructor of Japanese
literature. My readings of Tanizaki have changed over the years, leading
me to think that he is even funnier and more perceptive now than before.
I have noticed that Tanizaki novels are always popular with students.
So, I thought, why not use Tanizaki as the main writer for this class and
use his approach to Japanese literature as the launching point for our
own? We will get a a variety of perspectives on modern Japan, ancient
Japan, and fiction, and we're sure to have fun reading.
What will I have learned
by the end of this class?
will be able to discuss the major works of one of Japan's most celebrated
will understand the cultural, historical, and literary context in which
his works were read.
be able to talk about how the works of Tanizaki and other modern writers
in Japan are connected to questions of national identity, class, gender,
will learn about other famous Japanese authors, read a sampling of their
work, and have some ideas of what reading you'd like to pursue on your
own in the future.
will have your own ideas about how to introduce readers to Japanese literature.
What books should I buy?
books will be available in the textbook section of the UNC bookstore under
Japanese 133. You need to have your own copy of each of these
six books. All are novels by Tanizaki. Any editions are fine.
of a Mad Old Man
Praise of Shadows
What else do I need to
available at the Circulation Desk of the Undergraduate Library. At the
library, look for them under the class JAPN133 or the instructor's name,
Bardsley, J. You may check out each of these readings for two hours
at a time. Many of them are also on electronic reserve. Check well before
class for these readings, especially as you must share the materials with
many other students. Reading questions for all materials are
given on the course website in the section one week before the readings
readings are listed on the class schedule. Check there for updates.
How do I contribute to
this class and how will I be graded?
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, three
or more absences will count against your grade.
attendance credit, you must be present during the entire class meeting.
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.
student must attend two campus events
related to Asian Studies this semester.
The Asian Studies events can include lectures, performances, and films.
Announcements about upcoming events and plays will be made on our class
listserv. Check fliers on campus, too. Turn in a one-page reaction to
both the events at the the final exam.
to be called on in class.
Short, weekly writing assignments
will keep you involved with the ideas, forms, and creative possibilities
of writing fiction and analysis.
Effort counts--show you've thought
through the question when you write your essays; take some time with the
assignments. There's lots of room for originality here so thinking
about a problem from various angles and imagining diverse solutions should
work well. It will also be more fun.
Keep all your papers and
turn them in at the end of the class as a portfolio of your work
Presentation OR Individual Paper
GROUP PROJECT OPTION:
You and your partners choose
one new Japanese author to read.
Divide your research
& reading time on this author--one person might
find out biographical info,
another read some short stories, another
read a critical essay about
Pool your ideas and make
one powerpoint presentation that will introduce
the class to this author
and her/his work. Each person in the group can
have 10 minutes to present
but the overall presentation should be a
coherent whole. That
will require some effort at coordination and
thinking about the main
ideas you'd like to emphasize.
Please give me a copy of
ppt presentation--that would be all you would
have to turn in.
Let me suggest the authors:
MISHIMA Yukio (warrior spirit in modern
Japan; lots of short stories
related to martial arts and recovering the
Japanese spirit of old);
YOSHIMOTO Banana ( best-selling, quirky writer
of stories of young people
in Japan who don't follow the mainstream; her
short stories in the collection
LIZARD are very popular in the US; lots
of her books are in translation
and she's very easy and fun to read);
MURAKAMI Haruki (one of
Japan most popular contemporary writers, he also
talks about life out of
the mainstream; lots of interesting reflections
about life and relationships
and our wierd world; deceptively easy to
read, too); ABE Kobo (writes
absurd and sci fi style literature; Woman
in the Dunes is a famous
film from his famous novel by the same name).
Choose either a novel by
a Japanese author other than Tanizaki. OR
choose one Tanizaki novel
to analyze in depth. OR construct your own
question that requires a
comparison of two Tanizaki novels, for ex,
marriage in Nettles and
5-6 pages, double-spaced.
Use quotes from the texts to support your
If you'd like to look at
a first draft, hand this in before Tksgiving.
It is 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.
If you have questions about the Honor Code's application in this class,
it is your responsibility to ask me. Become familiar with the terms of
the Honor Code set out at http://instrument.unc.edu. All exams, written
work, and other projects must be submitted with a statement that you have
complied with the requirements of the Honor Code in all aspects of the
The final examination will be
held during the final exam period. Students meet with Jan Bardsley
in groups of three or four to take the exam. The 90 minute exam covers
all aspects of the course. Review questions will be posted one week in
advance. It's a good idea to take this exam with the students with
whom you've worked on the group project.