01:565:362 Japanese Popular Culture

This course examines various facets of Japanese popular culture with two major objectives in mind. First, it seeks to cultivate a better understanding of Japanese grammar/expressions, in particular, the ability to express opinions and criticisms in Japanese through writing. Second, it seeks to explore various methods and frameworks to analyze Japanese culture and its popular representations, such as manga, anime, contemporary art, and pop music. Given these objectives, the class will involve lessons and discussions in both Japanese and English and share time between language acquisition and cultural criticism.

This course satisfies the following Asian Languages and Cultures Departmental Learning Goals for Japanese majors and Japanese minors. Majors will be able to demonstrate oral, reading, and written proficiency in the language and develop critical skills in analyzing and interpreting literary, historical, and cultural texts. Minors will be introduced to the cultural heritage of Japan through courses on literature, history, visual culture, language and linguistics and be able to communicate effectively (speaking and writing) in Japanese and will learn critical skills in analyzing and interpreting literary and cultural materials appropriate to the student’s area of specialization.

For majors, this course may count either toward a language course or a culture course, but Japanese majors who would like this course to count toward the Japanese Culture Courses requirement (R3) should notify the instructor.

Grading: 9 responses in Japanese (5% each x 9) 45%, 2 short papers in English (2-3 pages; 10% each x 2) 20%, Final Project (4-5 pages in English) with Japanese summary (1 page) 25%, Final Project Presentation (in English) 5%, Class Performance 5%

The primary way that your language development will be assessed in this course is via response papers that you submit. These responses will be marked for grammar and content, and the instructor will provide comments on how the student’s writing in Japanese can be improved. Although the instructor will provide general instructions to improve writing in Japanese via lectures on Japanese grammar, students should also consult the instructor for an one-on-one feedback session.

For the first two units of the course, students will be asked to write a short paper. The first paper will be on content analysis of select manga. The second will be on comparative media analysis on manga/anime/drama/novel. The papers are in English and should be 2-3 pages in length. Students will be asked to post their papers via Forums and present their findings to the class during the week that the paper is due. Students are welcome to respond to the papers by replying to the post in Forums if they could not comment during class discussion.

At the end of the semester, students will be asked to write a final project paper in English on an aspect of Japanese popular culture, using the frameworks discussed in class. The paper should be analytical, using specific examples that have not been used in class. The paper can focus on frameworks discussed in any of the three units or can combine frameworks from multiple units. The students will also be asked to present on their final project topic during last week of class. The presentation will be in English and should be around 5 minutes in length. Non-presenters are asked to provide feedback to presenters during class. The presenters are required to post supplementary materials to Forums by 9pm on the day before the presentation.

Your class performance grade will be based on your regular active participation in class discussion. Each week, the instructor will create two Chat Rooms, one for grammar and another for content. The students are encouraged to ask questions and make comments in both rooms regarding materials that were covered during class. Responses to posts are also encouraged on student submissions made to Forums (English short paper for Unit I, English short paper for Unit II, and Japanese responses 7, 8, and 9 for Unit III).