CC 325 C: Japanese Visual Culture
TR 3:00-4:15 pm
Fulfills cultural diversity requirement.
Over the past three decades Japanese popular culture has become a global phenomenon; from Power Rangers to Pokémon, Sailormoon to Spirited Away a generation of children/young adults/adults have been shaped by images and narratives from Japan. This seminar aims at developing a visual literacy and historical understanding of several key elements of Japanese visual culture past and present. Examining depictions (text and image) of Heian court romance; the samurai print culture and theatrical arts; the visual prose of manga and anime; Hello Kitty, Pokemon and the commercialization of cute; and the mixing of genres in postmodern art we will ask questions about the relationship between representation and culture within the Japanese context. In each of the thematic units—the Tale of Genji, Samurai fiction, manga and anime, commercial cute, contemporary art—we will think about the ways that literature and art shape each other, reflect and affect their contexts, and evolve over time. Finally, each unit will also engage questions of the international reception of Japanese popular culture and the ways in which cultural styles, norms, and ideas both travel and translate, or are reconfigured and reinterpreted at the site of reception. Assignments will include 3 short papers and a final exam (take home essay style).
Required Books (will likely include):
Murasaki, Shikibu. 1990. The Tale of Genji. New York: Vintage Books. 978-0679729532