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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Japanese (JAPNS)

JAPNS 422 (IL) War and the Warrior in Japan (3) Survey of the role of warfare and the warrior in Japan, with attention to changing cultural settngs. Taught in English.

JAPNS 422 War and the Warrior in Japan (3)

This course is intended to provide an introduction to the social and historical roles of warfare, and the changing cultural figure of the warrior, in Japan. Some prior study of Japan (JAPNS 120 or JAPNS 121 or HIST 172) is required. All materials will be available in English. Students will learn about subjects like the causes of violence, culturally acceptable ways of resolving conflict, obligations of victor toward vanquished, expectations regarding the memory of the war dead, the ideal of the warrior as a cultural figure, and historical roles that Japanese warriors have played in ages of peace. Readings and screenings will cover several genres, such as film, historiography, history, documentary, classical epic, modern novel, and excerpts from Japanese history textbooks (in translation). The course, or individual units within the course, will be structured so that students develop an historical perspective, allowing them to understand the cultural contexts that have generated attitudes toward war and the warrior in Japan. In addition, students will learn to think critically about various media’s techniques and aesthetics of representation, and will become more engaged, critical investigators of literature and related media. Readings and in-class discussion will focus on the image of the warrior as a cultural icon, exploring the many ways in which popular understandings of the warrior have changed over time, for instance, as popularized dramatics began to idealize warriors as moral exemplars in the late medieval period, and then as historical realties made the position of the warrior itself redundant in the early modern era.

Class work includes some lecture but emphasizes guided discussions, group work, writing exercises, and some student presentations. This participatory approach is intended to deepen students’ appreciation of the works, to help them understand value systems that may differ from those predominant in western cultures, and to assist students in developing both analytical and expressive abilities. Through critical reading, group discussion and interpretive writing, students will hone skills for evaluating modes of cultural production and consumption in premodern and modern Japan. Evaluation will be through means such as in-class presentations, short writing assignments, midterms or quizzes, one analytic paper (3-7 pages), and in-class/on-line participation and discussion.

The course is designed to be suitable for all students generally interested in Japan, or interested in various fields of humanistic study.

General Education: None
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Other Cultures
Effective: Summer 2011
Prerequisite: JAPNS 120 orJAPNS 121 orHIST 172

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


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