4 Courses

Back to Japanese Studies Program

Japan Studies A : Cool Japan

In 2013, the Japanese government budgeted hundreds of millions for a “Cool Japan” fund to promote contemporary Japanese pop culture abroad. In this class we will examine a variety of aspects of this new youth culture to try to get a better understanding of what it is and where it came from. The topics will include music, especially the “idol” phenomena, as well as fashion, film, manga, anime, games and technology. To add context, we will also consider some aspects of traditional culture, such as the women Takarazuka troupe, which has experienced a “boom” in recent years.

Japan Studies B : From Fine Arts to Media Mix:
adapting motifs, characters and stories

In today’s world, media technologies have permeated many categories of artistic activity: Japanese manga, anime, and video games have a significant global impact, and the dividing line between fine art and other cultural domains, especially the area conventionally referred to as popular culture, has become blurred. In this course, after clarifying concepts such as media, adaptation, transmedia and media mix, we will explore some of the historical processes that have shaped Japanese popular culture by focusing on how motifs, characters and stories have been adapted through different times and platforms. Together with the theory, the students will be able to experience the adaptation process by adapting a story of their choice to kamishibai, a post-war Japanese form of storytelling.

Japan Studies C : Kyoto Culture and History

In this class we will take a look at some of the important cultural moments in Kyoto's long history. We will follow a chronological approach beginning with Pre-Heian Kyoto and ending in the present. We will discuss the religion, geography, art, literature and architecture of Kyoto. The class will visit some of the temples and shrines that we talk about during class time. Students should understand the role of geography and the historical importance of location. Gaining an understanding of Kyoto's central position in the history and culture of Japan is the aim of this class.

Japan Studies D : Japanese Tea Culture Old and New

This is a Japanese culture and art course in which we can enjoy reading Kakuzo Okakura's "The Book of Tea" (1906) and discuss the way in which his ideas on 'teaism'(tea philosophy) can be seen and practiced in the present Japan and also throughout the world. This course will consist of discussion and presentation about various topics derived from the book, such as flower arrangement, Cha-do, Japanese architecture, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and other matters.
Students will be able to understand and evaluate Japanese aethetics and the way of living in comparison with those in their own countries.