The Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) offers a major and a minor in Japanese language and culture. As a major in Japanese, a student can expect to gain some proficiency in the language and to acquire a foundation in Japanese literature, history and culture from earliest times to the present. All students majoring in Japanese must complete first- and second-level Japanese or its equivalent. They also must complete a prerequisite 200-level Civilization course and the two-semester literature survey, as well as additional advanced-level courses (300- or 400-level).
In addition, all prime majors must complete the required EALC Capstone Experience. The department strongly encourages overseas study of Japanese language and culture. All majors and minors are expected to maintain at least a B- average in all departmental courses.
Language Placement: Placement tests are required for all students entering our language programs, with the exception of those students who have had no previous knowledge of the language and are planning to enroll in the first semester of the first year of instruction. Students who test into second-year Japanese and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B- or better) at least one semester of language study may petition for 3 units of retroactive credit; students who test into third year or above and satisfactorily complete (with a grade of B- or better) at least one semester of language study may petition for 6 units of retroactive credit. Credit is limited to 3 units for testing into second year and 6 units for testing into third year or above. Please note that students with native language proficiency as determined by the individual language section, as well as students who enroll in courses below their placement level, are ineligible for retroactive credit units. Students who misrepresent their language proficiency so as to gain entrance to a course at the elementary or intermediate level will be dropped from that course.
The Major in Japanese Language and Culture
Units required: 24 upper-level (300-level or above) units
- First- and second-level Modern Japanese or the equivalent
- Japan 226C Japanese Civilization
24 advanced (300-level) and above units to include:
- Japan 332C Japanese Literature: Beginnings to 19th Century
- Japan 333C The Modern Voice in Japanese Literature
- 400-level Capstone course (prime majors)
- Japanese prime majors may satisfy their capstone requirement in one of two ways, both of which require a presentation in the EALC Senior Symposium in the spring.
a) Successful completion of a senior honors thesis. This option, which also entitles the student to Latin Honors, requires a minimum of a 3.65 GPA. The thesis is researched and written over two semesters, for a total of 6 units, which are in addition to the 24 upper-level units required for the major.
- With adviser approval, students may include one course in a related area offered outside the department among the 24 advanced units. (For example, a student with focus on Japan/Japanese may take one course in Film and Media Studies or Art History that focuses on Japan.) With adviser approval, students may count one course from another area within the department among the 24 advanced units. (For example, a student with focus on Japan/Japanese may take one course in either Korean or Chinese.)
- Students must earn at least a B- in language courses in order to continue to the next level. They must also maintain at least a B- average in all required courses for the major. Students who do not meet this requirement may either repeat the course(s) in question or earn at least a B- in an approved equivalent course or courses (either during the summer or in a study abroad program).
- Courses for the major may not be taken Credit/No Credit.
- Normally, no more than 6 units of transfer or study abroad non-language courses may be applied to the major.
- Normally, no more than 3 units of Independent Study may be counted toward the required upper-level 24 units.
- EALC awards Departmental Honors to majors as an acknowledgment of exemplary work in the major.
The Minor in Japanese Language and Culture
Units required: 18 units
- Two semesters of Japanese language
- At least 9 units must be 300-level or above
- And the following three courses:
Course List Code Title units Japan 226C Japanese Civilization 3 Japan 332C Japanese Literature: Beginnings to 19th Century 3 Japan 333C The Modern Voice in Japanese Literature 3
- Students must earn at least a B- in their language courses in order to continue to the next level. They also must maintain at least a B- average in all courses taken to fulfill the minor requirements. Students who do not meet this requirement may either repeat the course(s) in question or successfully complete an approved equivalent course or courses (either during the summer or in a study abroad program).
- Courses for the minor may not be taken Credit/No Credit.
- Normally, no more than 3 units of transfer or study abroad non-language courses may be applied to the minor.
Visit https://courses.wustl.edu to view semester offerings for L05 Japan.
L05 Japan 103D First-Level Modern Japanese I
An introduction to spoken Japanese following a systematic study of grammatical structures presented in context. Emphasis is on developing skills in oral communication through performance. Students with some previous Japanese language background must take the placement examination.
L05 Japan 104D First-Level Modern Japanese II
Continuation of Japan 103D. An introduction to spoken Japanese following a systematic study of grammatical structures presented in context. Emphasis is on developing skills in oral communication through performance. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in Japan 103D.
L05 Japan 119 Freshman Seminar: Anime as Popular Culture
In the contemporary media landscape, film, television, games, publishing and merchandizing are increasingly connected and help distribute cultural products across the globe. Japanese animation is one of the earliest and most successful examples of this powerful strategy. This course examines the global franchising industry of Japanese anime to explore basic questions about media and popular culture: How do we define a medium? How do consumer practices shape media and popular culture? What is the impact of globalization on media, and global media on national culture? Our investigations of Japan "cool" and its avid consumer cultures cover: animation aesthetics and technology; media convergence; anime fan cultures; science-fiction and remaking the body, history and identity through global media. No prerequisites. Enrollment limited to 15 college freshmen. In addition to class meetings, there is a mandatory weekly scheduled screening.
Same as L53 Film 119
L05 Japan 213 Second-Level Modern Japanese I
Continued development of communication skills with special emphasis on speaking. Students develop reading/writing skills with an additional 300 kanji during the year. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in 104D or placement by examination.
L05 Japan 214 Second-Level Modern Japanese II
Continuation of Japan 213. Continued development of communication skills with special emphasis on speaking. Students develop reading/writing skills with an additional 300 kanji during the year. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in Japan 213 or placement by examination.
L05 Japan 221 Topics: Japanese Popular Culture
A topics course on Japanese literature and culture; topics vary by semester.
L05 Japan 226C Japanese Civilization
The development of Japanese culture from antiquity to the present: an overview of Japanese cultural history, focusing on the interplay of crucial aspects of contemporary Japanese society and Japanese social psychology.
L05 Japan 294 Images of East Asia
A variety of topics offered individually which reflect the images of East Asian cultures.
Same as L03 East Asia 294
L05 Japan 299 Independent Study
Prerequisite: Japan 213 and permission of the department.
Credit variable, maximum 6 units.
L05 Japan 320C Japan Since 1868
For some, "Japan" evokes Hello Kitty, animated films, cartoons and sushi. For others, the Nanjing Atrocity, "Comfort Women," the Bataan Death March, and problematic textbooks. For still others, woodblock prints, tea ceremony, and cherry blossoms, or Sony Walkmans and Toyotas. Still others may hold no image at all. Tracing the story of Japan's transformations, from a pre-industrial peasant society managed by samurai-bureaucrats into an expansionist nation-state and then to its current paradoxical guise of a peaceful nation of culture led by conservative nationalists, provides the means for deepening our understandings of historical change in one region and grappling with the methods and aims of the discipline of history.
Same as L22 History 320C
L05 Japan 324 A User's Guide to Japanese Poetry
This course introduces the art and craft of Japanese poetry, one of the world's great literary traditions. Exploring the many styles of traditional verse — the poetic diary, linked verse, haiku and others — and their historical contexts, we gain insights into Japanese aesthetics and study the unique conventions of Japanese poetic production that have evolved over a span of some 1500 years. The course also incorporates a "haiku workshop," where we engage in group-centered poetry writing and critiquing. No prior knowledge of Japanese is required.
L05 Japan 326 Samurai, Rebels and Bandits: The Japanese Period Film
Tales of heroism, crime, revolt and political intrigue. Bloody battles, betrayal, madness and flashing swords. This is the world of jidaigeki eiga, the Japanese period film. In this course, we analyze the complex (and often flamboyant) narrative, visual and thematic structures of films about the age of the samurai. We discuss jidaigeki representations of violence and masculinity, self-sacrifice and rebellion, and the invention of tradition as well as critical uses of history. In addition to the historical content of the films, we study the historical contexts that shaped jidaigeki film production and discuss relevant transformations in Japanese cinema and society. Period films have been shaped by and exert strong influences on Japanese theater, oral storytelling, popular literature, comics, and international film culture, all of which are helpful for understanding the films. As we track changes in jidaigeki style and subject matter, the course introduces theories for interpreting narrative structure, genre repetition and innovation, intertextuality, and representations of "the past." All readings are in English. No knowledge of Japanese required. No prerequisites. Required screenings Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
Same as L53 Film 326
L05 Japan 332C Japanese Literature: Beginnings to 19th Century
This survey of Japanese literature covers antiquity to the early 19th century. Emphasis on the ideological and cultural contexts for the emergence of a variety of traditions, including poetry, diaries, narrative and theater. Required of all Japanese majors and recommended for all Chinese majors. No knowledge of Japanese language is required. Sophomore standing and above recommended.
L05 Japan 333C The Modern Voice in Japanese Literature
This survey explores the emerging modern voice in Japanese literature, with emphasis on prose fiction. After a brief introduction to earlier centuries, we focus on the short stories and novels of the 20th century. Among the authors considered are Natsume Soseki, Nagai Kafu, Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, and Nobel laureates Kawabata Yasunari and Oe Kenzaburo. Discussions center on issues of modernity, gender, and literary self-representation. Required of all Japanese majors and recommended for all Chinese majors. No knowledge of Japanese language required.
L05 Japan 336 The Floating World in Japanese Literature
This survey of Japanese literature covers the 17th to the 19th century. Primary focus is on the Genroku era (1688-1703), which witnessed the growth of lively urban centers and the emergence of a robust literary voice. Emphasis on the ideological and cultural contexts for the development of a variety of new innovations in the genres of poetry (haiku), theater (kabuki and bunraku) and prose (kana zoshi). Recommended for both Japanese and Chinese majors. No knowledge of Japanese language is required. Sophomore standing and above recommended.
L05 Japan 3412 Japanese Art
Surveying the arts of Japan from prehistory to present, this course focuses especially on early modern, modern and contemporary art. Emphasizing painting, sculpture, architecture and print culture, the course also explores the tea ceremony, fashion, calligraphy, garden design and ceramics. Major course themes include collectors and collecting, relationships between artists and patrons, the role of political and military culture or art, contact with China, artistic responses to the West, and the effects of gender and social status on art.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 3412
L05 Japan 346 Japanese Literature in Translation II
This topics course explores Japanese literature in translation. Topics vary by semester.
L05 Japan 4062 The Art of Borrowing: The "West" in Japanese Life
This course aims to examine Western influences in Japan and Japan's reconceptualizing the "West" in various aspects of popular culture, including cuisine, sports, music, language, advertising, entertainment and domesticity. It is primarily an anthropological survey with historical references on Japan's turn to Western civilization in the modern era. The course explores Japanese perceptions of the "West," and how Japanese consume the "West" by attaching meanings to "Western" symbols and practices, and making them part of Japanese culture and life. Rather than explicating Japan's relationship with the West, the course scrutinizes the "West" constructed within Japanese discourse, as both a racial/ethnic other and a cultural fantasy. Course assignments include a round-table discussion on specific topics relating to cultural integration and internationalization, and globalization and localization.
Same as L97 IAS 4062
L05 Japan 412 Third-Level Modern Japanese I
Emphasis on further development of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in Japan 214 or placement by examination. Credit 4 units for undergraduates, 3 units for graduate students.
L05 Japan 413 Third-Level Modern Japanese II
Continuation of Japan 412. Emphasis on further development of speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Prerequisite: minimum grade of B- in Japan 412 or placement by examination. Credit 4 units for undergraduates, 3 units for graduate students.
L05 Japan 418 Gender and Sexuality in East Asian Religions
In this course we explore the role of women in the indigenous religious traditions of China, Japan and Korea (Confucianism, Daoism, Shamanism and Shinto), as well as Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. We begin by considering the images of women (whether mythical or historical) in traditional religious scriptures and historical or literary texts. We then focus on what we know of the actual experience and practice of various types of religious women — nuns and abbesses; shamans and mediums; hermits and recluses; and ordinary laywomen — both historically and in more recent times. Class materials include: literary and religious texts; historical and ethnological studies; biographies and memoirs; and occasional videos and films. Prerequisites: This class is conducted as a seminar, with minimal lectures; substantial reading and writing; and lots of class discussion. For this reason, students who are not either upper-level undergraduates or graduate students, or who have little or no background in East Asian religion or culture, need to obtain the instructor's permission before enrolling.
Same as L23 Re St 418
L05 Japan 431 Renegades and Radicals
In 1960, the major studio Shochiku promoted a new crop of directors as the "Japanese New Wave" in response to declining theater attendance, a booming youth culture, and the international success of the French Nouvelle Vague. This course provides an introduction to those iconoclastic filmmakers, who went on to break with major studios and revolutionize oppositional filmmaking in Japan. We analyze the challenging politics and aesthetics of these confrontational films for what they tell us about Japan's modern history and cinema. The films provoke as well as entertain, providing trenchant (sometimes absurd) commentaries on postwar Japanese society and its transformations. Themes include: the legacy of WWII and Japanese imperialism; the student movement; juvenile delinquency; sexual liberation; and Tokyo subcultures. Directors include: Oshima Nagisa, Shinoda Masahiro, Terayama Shuji, Masumura Yasuzo, Suzuki Seijun, Matsumoto Toshio, and others. No knowledge of Japanese necessary. Mandatory weekly screening: Tuesdays at 7 p.m.
Same as L53 Film 431
L05 Japan 443 Memory, Tears and Longing: East Asian Melodrama Film
Excessive emotion, unreasonable sacrifice, hidden truth, untimely knowledge, and forbidden desire — the power of melodrama and its moving representations have fueled the popularity of hundreds, if not thousands, of books, plays and films. Melodrama has variously been defined as a genre, a logic, an affect, and a mode, applied to diverse media, divergent cultural traditions, and different historical contexts. The course provides a survey of East Asian melodrama films — as well as films that challenge conventional definitions of melodrama — by pairing Japanese, Korean, and Chinese-language productions with key critical texts in melodrama studies. We will see classics such as Tokyo Story, Two Stage Sisters, and The Housemaid. We will examine melodrama's complex ties to modernity, tradition, and cultural transformation in East Asia; special emphasis will be placed on representations of the family, historical change, gender and sexuality. In addition to historical background and film studies concepts, we will also consider a range of approaches for thinking about the aesthetics and politics of emotion. No prerequisites. No prior knowledge of East Asian culture or language necessary. Mandatory weekly scheduled screening.
Same as L53 Film 443
L05 Japan 445 Japanese Fiction: Writing Intensive Seminar
A study of the themes, styles and genres of Japanese fiction as revealed in representative works of major authors such as Soseki, Tanizaki and Kawabata. Topics include the question of the Japanese literary canon, the varieties of Japanese literary selfhood, literature by and about women, and tradition versus modernity. All works read in English translation. Prerequisites: junior standing and 6 units of literature.
L05 Japan 4451 Topics in Modern Japanese Literature
A topics course on modern Japanese literature; topics vary by semester. Prerequisites: junior standing and 6 units of literature.
L05 Japan 446 The Japanese Theater
An investigation, using English materials, of the major developments and forms of the Japanese theater, from Noh and its antecedents to the rise of a modern drama. In this course we are less concerned with the performative aspects of theatrical arts (though these will be introduced via videos) than with the ways in which dramatic texts influenced and borrowed from the literary tradition. Readings from major theatrical texts, secondary studies on Japanese theater, and literary sources. Prerequisite: junior standing or permission of instructor.
L05 Japan 448 Japanese Poetry
A comprehensive survey of Japanese poetry from the eighth century to the present day. Topics include the development of the great tradition of court poetry in the Heian period (ca. 800-1200) and its full flowering during the medieval period (ca. 1200-1600), the influence of the Zen aesthetic, the emergence of linked verse and haiku, and the transformation of the classical tradition with the advent of the modern era. All works are read in English translation, although knowledge of Japanese is useful. Graduate students and Japanese majors are expected to read original materials extensively. Prerequisites: junior standing and 6 units of literature course work.
L05 Japan 4482 Japanese Prints
Woodblock prints of the 18th and 19th centuries and their relationship to literature and popular culture. Topics include the life of the pleasure quarters, sexuality and the "erotic," parody, kabuki theater, and the representation of women. Prerequisite: 3 units in Japanese painting, or permission of instructor.
Same as L01 Art-Arch 4482
L05 Japan 449 Modern Japanese Women Writers: Writing Intensive Seminar
Japanese women have been scripted by Western (male) imagination as gentle, self-effacing creatures. From their (re)emergence in the late 19th century to their dominance in the late 20th, Japanese women writers have presented an image of their countrywomen as anything but demure. Struggling to define their voices against ever-shifting expectations and social contexts, the women they create in their fiction are valiant, if not at times violent. This course examines the various manifestations of the female image in female-authored modern Japanese fiction. Writers considered are Higuchi Ichiyo, Hirabayashi Taiko, Uno Chiyo, Enchi Fumiko, Yamada Eimi and others. A selection of novels and shorter fiction are available in English translation, and students need not be familiar with Japanese. Prerequisites: 6 units of literature/women's studies and junior standing, or permission of the instructor. Writing-intensive course.
L05 Japan 4491 Modern Japanese Women Writers
Japanese women have been scripted by Western (male) imagination as gentle, self-effacing creatures. From their (re)emergence in the late 19th century to their dominance in the late 20th, Japanese women writers have presented an image of their countrywomen as anything but demure. Struggling to define their voices against ever-shifting expectations and social contexts, the women they create in their fiction are valiant, if not at times violent. This course examines the various manifestations of the female image in female-authored modern Japanese fiction. Writers considered are Higuchi Ichiyo, Hirabayashi Taiko, Uno Chiyo, Enchi Fumiko, Yamada Eimi and others. A selection of novels and shorter fiction is available in English translation, and students need not be familiar with Japanese. Prerequisites: 6 units of literature/women's studies and junior standing, or permission of the instructor.
L05 Japan 450 Masterworks of Early Japanese Literature
An intensive study of one of the central texts of classical Japanese literature. Selection of texts rotate among works including: The Tale of Genji, court diaries, poetry anthologies, Noh drama, The Tale of the Heike, setsuwa collections, and medieval memoirs. In addition to exploring the historical, literary, and cultural significance of the work from its genesis to the present age, students engage in a close reading of the text and an investigation of the primary theoretical issues and approaches associated with the work both in Japan and abroad. Prerequisite: junior standing. Prior knowledge of early Japanese literature or history is recommended. Texts are read in English translation.
L05 Japan 458 Fourth-Level Modern Japanese I
Mastery of more sophisticated skills in spoken and written Japanese. Newspaper articles, editorials, essays, short stories, etc., are selected for readings and discussions in accordance with the interests and needs of participating students. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in Japan 413 or placement by examination.
L05 Japan 459 Fourth-Level Modern Japanese II
Continuation of Japan 458. Mastery of more sophisticated skills in both spoken and written Japanese. Newspaper articles, editorials, essays, short stories, etc., are selected for readings and discussions in accordance with the interests and needs of participating students. Required of all students desiring subsequent tutorial assistance from the Department. Prerequisite: grade of B- or better in Japan 458, or placement by examination.
L05 Japan 460 Premodern Japanese I
Readings in classical literary texts using materials from standard modern annotated editions. Kambun introduced in second semester. Prerequisite: Japan 412-413 or concurrent registration.
L05 Japan 461 Premodern Japanese II
A continuation of Japan 460. Readings in classical literary texts using materials from standard modern annotated editions as well as the introduction of skills necessary for reading original texts, including kambun and hentaigana. Prerequisites: Japan 413 or concurrent registration; Japan 460 or equivalent.
L05 Japan 464 Japanese Textual Analysis
This course introduces the advanced student of Japanese to a variety of prose narratives in the modern language. Readings, which include literary texts and topical essays on aspects of Japanese society and culture, reflect the needs and interests of the enrolled students. Focus is on close reading and syntactic analysis of the selected texts. Regular translation exercises gauge the mastery of grammar, syntax and idiomatic usages. All readings are in Japanese, with class discussion conducted predominantly in English. A final translation project, chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor, is required. Prerequisite: Japan 458 or instructor's permission.
L05 Japan 471 Topics in Japanese Culture
A topics course on Japanese culture; topics vary by semester.
Same as L03 East Asia 471
L05 Japan 486 Independent Work for Senior Honors
This course is taken in the fall semester. Prerequisites: senior standing, eligibility for honors, and permission of the department.
Credit 3 units.
L05 Japan 487 Independent Work for Senior Honors
This course is taken in the spring semester. Prerequisites: senior standing, eligibility for honors, and permission of the department.
Credit 3 units.
L05 Japan 491 Topics in Japanese Literature & History
A topics course on Japanese literature and history; topics vary by semester. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
L05 Japan 4911 Modern Japan and the Invention of Tradition
A discourse of "uniqueness" has been a prominent feature of Japanese culture in the 20th century, both before and after the Pacific War. This course explores the domain of nativist expression in modern Japan. While focusing on literary texts by writers such as Kawabata and Tanizaki, we also consider a range of artistic, cinematic, and cultural production. Considerable attention is paid to "Nihonjinron," an important — and best-selling — genre of "Japanese uniqueness" writing. Our goal is to make sense of the complex intersection of traditionalism and modernism in 20th-century Japan, and to consider the larger question of modern nationhood and the construction of national identity.
Same as L03 East Asia 4911
L05 Japan 499 Guided Readings in Japanese
Prerequisites: senior standing and permission of the instructor and the department chair. Course usually taken after successful completion of Japan 459. May be repeated once.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units. A&S: LA