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Module

JPN4006 : Literary and cultural expressions in contemporary Japan

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Gitte Marianne Hansen
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

Since the 1980s Japanese literature has undergone much change, causing some critics to claim that Japanese literature has been destroyed by writers such as Murakami Haruki and Yoshimoto Banana. While the main focus of this module is literary text, the module also introduces other types of fiction. Throughout the module we will be studying a diverse range of Japanese literature and fiction with the purpose of examining ‘meaning’ of specific works. Depending on interpretation this will likely take us through current topics such as gender, normativity and violence. The key aims of the module are as follows,

1) To introduce key contemporary Japanese literary works and other fiction. Period of interest: from ca. 1980 to the present.
2) To understand socio-cultural themes in literature and fiction in relation to contextual issues in contemporary Japan.
3) To familiarise students with primary literary and cultural criticism within the field of contemporary Japanese literature and cultural studies.
4) To develop critical analytical skills.

Outline Of Syllabus

10x2 hour lectures/seminar, designed as 1 hour student led seminar followed by 1 hour lecture. The first week establishes the theoretical background of the module and introduces relevant academic debates and approaches to the study of contemporary Japanese literature and culture. The following weeks are divided into topics relevant to contemporary Japanese society and their thematisation in contemporary literature and other works of fiction. Topics include for example gender, normativity, violence and post-war Japanese society. Key primary readings include novels and short stories by Murakami Haruki such as Norwegian Wood (1987), Sleep (1989) and The little green monster (1991) as well as literary works by Yoshimoto Banana and Kanehara Hiromi. Some Manga and films also form an important part of the syllabus. All required readings are read in translation, but non-translated works will also be introduced throughout module. While the main readings consist of literary works, students are also required to read secondary sources on relevant issues in contemporary Japanese society as well as theoretical texts on relevant topics.

Teaching Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials182:0036:00Short lectures, guided readings etc.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities181:0018:00Including worksheets, short screenings etc.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching81:008:00Synchronous online: to discuss Lectures and reading materials or worksheet answers
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:00Present in person: students lead presentations and discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery11:001:00Synchronous online.
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study198:0098:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The short lectures given as synchronous online time will provide students with knowledge of theory, historical and cultural background which are necessary for critical thinking on the topics and the specific works studied.
Present in person scheduled seminars will allow students to take lead and present their thoughts and to learn how to lead a discussion. During this time, students are therefore asked to be in charge of presentations that can open up to a general discussion on issues related to a specific novel or work studied.
Throughout the module, audio visual materials including films and documentary will be also used, primarily as non-synchronious study time. This will allow students to get a deeper and more nuanced knowledge of the topic studied.
Independent study and non-synchronous online structured learning will allow students to think critically about specific elements of contemporary Japanese literature and culture that they have encountered in their personal study.

Assessment Methods

Please note that module leaders are reviewing the module teaching and assessment methods for Semester 2 modules, in light of the Covid-19 restrictions. There may also be a few further changes to Semester 1 modules. Final information will be available by the end of August 2020 in for Semester 1 modules and the end of October 2020 for Semester 2 modules.

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M1002500 word essay. To be submitted at the end of the semester
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Aural Examination2MStudent presentations and student-led discussions
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay allows evaluation of the development of the following cognitive and key skills: independent research, literary analysis, bibliographical work, planning and organising, word-processing, footnoting and referencing. The oral presentation allows evaluation of students’ presentation skills and ability to answer questions about their analysis and ideas. For this assessment, students are required to choose a literary or fictional work from the syllabus and present it to the other students at the beginning of the seminar.

Reading Lists

Timetable