Sophia University

Academics Graduate School of Global Studies (Program in English is available)

Japanese Studies Courses

Foundational Course

JS546 Introduction to Japanese Studies

Professor: THOMPSON Mathew
The aim of this course is to introduce students to basic theoretical and methodological issues in Japanese Studies. The core readings will be drawn from a range of seminal texts representative of interpretive frameworks that have been influential in the field.

Japanese Language Courses

JS590 Japanese Language Course A

Professor: TOKUMARU Satoko
この授業では、さまざまな話題でのアカデミックな口頭発表と議論を通じ、日本語で話す能力を獲得する機会を提供する。学生は、情報収集、プレゼンテーション資料作成、ディスカッションをおこなうことが求められる。授業は学生発表を中心に進め、教師は学生の学習プロセスをサポートするための支援や助言をおこなう。詳細は初回授業で説明する。(JLPTのN2以上、または、JPTのJPN321以上が必要)
This course will give students the opportunity to develop Japanese speaking skills in academic presentations and discussions on various topics. Students are required to conduct some researches, presentations, discussions. Student initiative is vital in this course, and the instructor will offer consultations and assistance in order to support the students' learning processes. Further details will be provided on the first day of the class. (More than N2 of JLPT or more than JPN321 of JPT is required.)

JS591 Japanese Language Course B

Professor: TOKUMARU Satoko
この授業では、日本語で書かれた資料の読解と議論を通じ、アカデミックな知識の獲得と日本語力の向上をめざす。授業は学生発表を中心に進め、教師は学生の学習プロセスをサポートするための支援や助言をおこなう。日本語を使って研究をおこなう学生のための授業である。詳細は初回授業で説明する。(JLPTのN2以上、または、JPTのJPN321以上が必要)
The aim of this course is to help students develop Japanese language skills and academic knowledge through intensive reading and discussing issues. Student initiative is vital in this course, and the instructor will offer consultations and assistance in order to support the students' learning processes. This course will enable students to use academic Japanese for their study and research. Further details will be provided on the first day of the class. (More than N2 of JLPT or more than JPN321 of JPT is required.)

Arts and Culture

JS501 Modern Japanese Visual Culture

Professor: HAYASHI Michio
This seminar is going to focus on how the issue of gender plays out in various contemporary art practices in postwar Japanese and global contexts. The details will be announced at the beginning of the semester. Special attention will be paid to the works by female artists including Atsuko Tanaka, Yoko Ono, Yayoi Kusama.

JS504 Japanese Art History

Professor: TSUCHIKANE Yasuko
The nomenclature of “Japanese Buddhist Art,” as a familiar category of aesthetic works and spaces, has carried a noteworthy weight of cultural significance in modern and contemporary Japanese society, despite the anachronistic air of such artifacts. This course will aim to critically question the neutrality of some general assumptions about this category. Or, put differently, we will problematize (or evaluate) the validity of the consensus on what many Japanese and non-Japanese have collectively valued and identified as “Buddhist Art,” specifically associated with Japan in its modernity where historical, ideological, socio-political, cultural and artistic factors have played major roles in shaping such a category. The method of this course is to historicize the processes in which certain key frameworks, such as “religion,” “Buddhism,” “art” and “Buddhist (religious) art”, have been established and normalized in a series of discourses and social practices during the course of modernization in Japan from late nineteen century to the present. This entails demystifying what seems to be a universal framework of “religion” and “art” in the case of modern Japan as well as analyzing the nationalistic agenda historically imposed upon what was originally an international religion, Buddhism. We will focus on exploring specific examples, such as "icons," sites/spaces, and "Zen" art, areas rich with controversy regarding the self-reflectivity of Japan’s cultural identity in a world that has produced multiple interpretations of art and religion. By looking into these examples, the historical continuity/rupture between historical Buddhist artifacts and modern counterparts will be investigated.

JS505 Modern Japanese Art History

Professor: MURAI Noriko
This course examines the history of feminism in Japan and how different artists and scholars have participated in this ongoing history. Students will also acquire a theoretical foundation in feminist art history more generally. Building upon the historical and conceptual understanding provided in the class, each student will conduct an original research on a topic related to Japanese art and feminism, which will culminate in a 15-page paper at the end of the semester.

JS507 Critical Theory in Media and Cultural Studies

Professor:FEENEY Williams
This course will survey the critical approaches that under-gird studies of popular culture and explore their theoretical underpinnings. We will review several landmark theories and major approaches, situating theory in the historical context of its development and tracing the arc of concerns that have directed and shaped critical engagements with popular culture. The scope of the course is broad in order to highlight the ways that theoretical developments unfolded in relation to prior concerns. Beyond theoretical and historical content, this course will also emphasize methodological instruction. This reflects a recognition that theories serve as models for the analysis of complex social systems. Throughout the course students will be asked to apply the concepts, frameworks and methods reviewed in class to real-world popular cultural phenomena. The final project will task students with selecting a pop-cultural form and presenting a longer form analysis, making curated use of the authors and frameworks covered in the course.

JS508 Interpretations of Modernity 1

Professor: YIU Angela
***Interpretations of Modernity 1 and 2 must be taken together*** This course focuses on the moral vision in modern Japanese literature with regards to environmental issues and war responsibilities. We will read salient full-length novels, documentary, and short stories that deal with nuclear issues, environmental pollution, human experiments, and war responsibilities to address questions of moral vision in Japanese literature. What are our moral responsibilities as stewards of the environment we inhabit? What do we learn from past mistakes and efforts? What can literature do to help us understand the world we inhabit in relation to our lives?

JS509 Interpretations of Modernity 2

Professor: YIU Angela
******Interpretations of Modernity 1 and 2 must be taken together******* This course focuses on the moral vision in modern Japanese literature with regards to environmental issues and war responsibilities. We will read salient full-length novels, documentary, and short stories that deal with nuclear issues, environmental pollution, human experiments, and war responsibilities to address questions of moral vision in Japanese literature. What are our moral responsibilities as stewards of the environment we inhabit? What do we learn from past mistakes and efforts? What can literature do to help us understand the world we inhabit in relation to our lives?

JS510 Contemporary Japanese Literature

Professor: STRECHER Matthew
************* Not offered in 2021 ***************
Contemporary Japanese Literature, as the title suggests, is a course dealing with Japanese literary texts produced by writers who are living, or at least were living in the recent past. In historical terms, however, it might be considered a course in literature written in the post-postwar era, i.e., after 1970. In principle, our focus is on writing from the past four decades or so.

JS518 Comparative Literature 1

Professor: KONO Shion
Comparative Literature 1 and 2 introduce students to selected issues in comparative literature. Comparative Literature 1, offered in the spring, focuses upon methodological and theoretical issues about a specific theme. All readings (primary and secondary) are available in English. This year, we will consider various theoretical approaches to narrative. In the first half of the course, students will read important theoretical texts in narratology, focusing on fundamental issues such as narrative situation, narrative time, and history and narrative. In the second half of the course, we will explore selected topics (based on the interests of students and the instructor). Possible topics include approaches to modern Japanese literature, comparative poetics; film as narrative; and cognitive narratology. While many of the theoretical texts are grounded in literary studies, students from other disciplines are also welcome, as the issues explored in the course should be relevant in other related fields.

JS519 Comparative Literature 2

Professor: KONO Shion
Comparative Literature 1 and 2 introduce students to selected issues in comparative literature. Comparative Literature 1, offered in the spring, focuses upon methodological and theoretical issues about a specific theme. Most readings (primary and secondary) are available in English but reading knowledge of Japanese is highly desirable as it enables students to explore texts not yet available in translation.

This year, we will consider criticism (hihyo in Japanese) and public intellectuals in modern and contemporary Japan. In the Spring, we discuss the functions of criticism in contemporary Japan. In the Autumn (this course), we approach the topics historically, reviewing the history of criticism and literary authors' engagements with sociopolitical issues since the late 19th century to the 1980s.

JS520 Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 1

Professor: THOMPSON Mathew
This course is a graduate seminar in pre-modern Japanese literature. The content will be designed around the research needs of the students interested in taking the class. Past topics have included the following: general surveys of pre-modern Japanese literature; literary representations of gender and sexuality; warriors and warrior culture; imperial court poetry and prose. Please note that this is a 2-period class - roughly 3 hours every week. Students who register for Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 1 must also register for Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 2.

JS523 Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 2

Professor: THOMPSON Mathew
************** Not offered in 2021 ******************
This course is a graduate seminar in pre-modern Japanese literature. The content will be designed around the research needs of the students interested in taking the class. Past topics have included the following: general surveys of pre-modern Japanese literature; literary representations of gender and sexuality; warriors and warrior culture; imperial court poetry and prose. Please note that this is a 2-period class - roughly 3 hours every week. Students who register for Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 1 must also register for Pre-Modern Japanese Literature 2.

JS750 Reading in Japanese Sourses

Professor:  NAKAI Maki

This language-intensive seminar will provide students with an opportunity to read and engage with a variety of primary and secondary sources in Japanese history and literature. Through reading texts written before the early 20th century, it will introduce students to the basic methodologies of reading Japanese texts in accordance with their historical contexts and linguistic milieus. The readings will be tailored to students' research interests and needs and the planned class schedule is subject to change. If there is no particular preference, we will read school textbooks and how-to handbooks of various periods. We will pay special attention to the differences in styles and the transformations of the language over time.

Thought and Society

JS524 Religion and Japanese Society 1

Professor: DROTT Edward
************** Not offered in 2021 ****************
This course explores the religious traditions of Japan and their social and cultural impact. One of the most important developments in the field of religious studies in recent decades has been the so-called “somatic turn”—an increased attention to the role of the human body in religion and the role that religious ideas, practices, and institutions have had in shaping knowledge about and experiences of the body. Accordingly, this course will devote special attention to the question of how Japanese religion has affected perceptions of the body and the role of the body in Japanese religion. It will trace the effects of religiously-informed perceptions of the body on the development of folk medical knowledge, bioethical reasoning, attitudes toward death and dying, the construction of gender, the formation of outcast groups, and various other social practices.

JS525 Religion and Japanese Society 2

Professor: DROTT Edward
**********Not offered in 2021 **********

JS532 Japanese History

Professor: GRAMLICH-OKA Bettina
The nineteenth century connects the world by empire, law, commerce, war, and the exchange of ideas. The course examines some of these ideas and ways of life in Japan. It considers the pivotal events from the vantage point of transnational history.

JS533 Modern Japanese History

Professor: SAALER Sven
************* Not offered in 2021 ***************
In this course, we will explore issues of memory-making and memory-shaping in modern Japan. After a survey of theories of historical and social memory, we will analyze the main institutions of memory and commemoration in modern Japan, their functions and historical development, as well as important Japanese “realms of memory”, their representation in Japanese culture and controversies surrounding memorialization projects in Japanese society and politics.

JS551 Japan Ethnography

Professor: SLATER David
This course is designed to introduce students to the key works of cultural theory, broadly conceived, as the foundations for Japanese Studies.

JS542 Popular Culture

Professor: GALBRAITH Patrick
This course doubles as an introduction to Japanese popular culture and critical approaches to culture. Reading case studies of Japanese popular culture before class, students will be exposed to selections of critical theory during class. This serves to open Japanese popular culture to critical inquiry and ground critical theory with concrete examples to work through. Given that the case studies focus on Japan, students are expected to draw experiences outside the classroom into group discussions. As part of graduate education, one of the primary goals of the course is to assist students in moving forward with graduation projects. To this end, students will choose a written component that best fits their project and stage, which they will work on throughout the semester and submit at the end for evaluation.

JS543 Urban Space Studies

Professor: GOLANI-SOLOMON Erez
The course aims to introduce what is arguably the most complex product of society and Japanese society in particular — the city, and to concentrate on the city of Tokyo. Our study will encompass a range of issues concerning the city, and the complex consequences of urban developments under modern and contemporary conditions. We will observe how the city has defined, and was in itself defined by, a particular reality at a particular time, beginning in Edo period and concluding in the present. Such approach emphasizes a need to examine the external relations of the city with context, and particularly relate to its social, cultural and political circumstances. Thus, we will look at the creation and recreation of the city’s physical texture, at architecture, urban landscape, infrastructure and technology, and at the same time observe the city as a social product determined by everyday life and habitual practices, organization of the immediate surrounding, personal rites and the micro-politics of life in the city. In the same manner, we will look at buildings and neighborhoods per-se, as a material construct guided by geometry and legal code, but at the same time recognize how the pragmatics of this built environment interrelate with cultural systems such as literature and film, and thus examine the mechanisms that relate the city to culture. Also, we will see how the city is not merely a reflection or expression of politics, but rather an intricate political apparatus in and of itself, influencing relationships and encouraging change. There are two consecutive class sessions every week. Usually, there will be a lecture at the first session, and the second lecture period will be used for class discussions, screening of films and videos, visiting lectures, or field trips. In taking the classroom outside the campus, we will use the benefit of the Tokyo locality to be in and see the subjects of our study. These activities are equally important to the class lectures, and should be used to further practice critical thinking and develop skills for analyzing the built city. The course has no prerequisites. Besides an interest in the course’s subjects, students are not required to have any prior knowledge of Tokyo, architecture, art and/or other discipline of urban studies.

JS547 Social Issues in Contemporary Japan

Professor: HORIGUCHI Sachiko
In this course, we will critically examine diversity in contemporary Japan from anthropological perspective. We will approach a variety of topics related to ethnicity, gender/sexuality, and disability and will historically contextualize the present state surrounding issues of diversity in Japan, through exploring ways in which diversity has been represented/articulated, masked, and/or problematized in textual and visual forms in modern Japan.

JS548 Religion and Modernity in Japan

Professor: OKITA Kiyokazu

Have you ever visited Nikko (日光), a city located north of Tokyo? The city is mostly known as the final resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康), the founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. If you make a visit there you may come across an explanation such as this: “Today Nikko is home to the Buddhist Rinnoji (輪王寺) Temple and two Shinto shrines, the Nikko Futarasan (二荒山) Shrine and Nikko Toshogu (東照宮). In the not-so-distant past all three were united under a single leadership structure, known collectively as Nikkosan (日光山) […] After the end of samurai government in 1867, the new government decided in 1871 to create a clear distinction between the two religions.” After reading this you may wonder - Why did the Meiji government decide to separate Buddhism and Shinto? Was there such a clear distinction between Buddhism and Shinto in the pre-Meiji period?
The concept of ‘religion’ was introduced to Japan in the nineteenth century. In pre-modern Japan, the worship of kami was an integral part of Buddhist practice and most people did not recognize it to be separate from each other. In this course, we explore the process of transformation that Buddhist and Shintō traditions in Japan went through from the pre-modern to modern periods, as a result of their encounter with Protestant Christianity, European Enlightenment and modern science. We examine changes in the self-understandings and the self-representations of the Japanese traditions in relation to the concept of shūkyō (宗教), which was created as a translation for the term ‘religion’.