01:565:215 A-Bomb Literature and Film in Japan

In this course, we will be reading and discussing eyewitness accounts, short stories, a novel, and poems, by survivors and writers of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. All students will be asked to serve as discussion leader in class twice during the semester. We will also study films describing the history of the bombings and depicting the aftermath. All readings are in English translation. By studying multiple genres (eyewitness accounts, fiction, poetry, and film), we will be able to examine from varied perspectives the ways atomic warfare has been represented in media. Ideally, each student in the class will develop an understanding of the limits of representation of the dehumanizing effects of atomic warfare, and learn to connect A-Bomb literature and film in Japan to political concerns about future use of atomic weapons.

Grading: Discussion posts: 50% (2 pts x 25) Discussion leader: 15% (5 pts x 3) Final paper: 35%

Course Materials:

  • Ōe Kenzaburō, ed. The Crazy Iris (Perseus, 1985) ISBN 9780802151841
  • Richard Minear, Hiroshima: Three Witnesses (Princeton UP, 1990) ISBN 9780691008370
  • Kurihara Sadako, When We Say Hiroshima: Selected Poems (UMichigan, 1999) ISBN 9780939512898
  • Ibuse Masuji, Black Rain (Kodansha, 2012) ISBN: 9781568364179

“A-Bomb Literature and Film in Japan” 01:565:215 satisfies Core Curriculum goals:

  • 21st Century Challenges (21C) c. Analyze the relationship that science and technology have to a contemporary social issue.
  • Arts and Literatures (AHp) Analyze arts and/or literatures in themselves and in relation to specific histories, values, languages, cultures, and technologies.

The course also satisfies the following Asian Languages and Cultures learning goals for Japanese majors and minors:

  • Majors will be able to demonstrate substantial knowledge of Japanese literature and culture and pursue advanced study and/or employment in a capacity requiring such cultural knowledge. Minors will be able to analyze and interpret texts and relate relevant issues to other areas in the humanities. See full statement of the Asian Languages and Cultures department’s learning goals at https://sas.rutgers.edu/documents/curriculum-committee/532-sas-learning-goals/file (p. 3)