We will read 8th-20th-century Japanese poetry in English translation. Some questions this course aims to answer include: Why has poetry so often been the expressive mode of choice among Japanese across history? How have the occasions for producing and appreciating poetry changed over time? How do poetic formats develop to suit social and intellectual practices? What themes are taken up by Japanese poets, and what is avoided?
Students will gain an appreciation of Japanese poetry from earliest through modern times. They will come to understand the social and political contexts through which Japanese poetry evolved. A final project will entail translating poems from Japanese into another language, with a vocabulary list and analysis, or composing original poetry using Japanese poetic styles.
Japanese poetry in English translation
|Specialist skills||✔ Intercultural skills||✔ Communication skills||Critical thinking skills||Practical and/or problem-solving skills|
Each week we will read Japanese poetry in English translation from diverse historical periods and genres. We will discuss the contexts in which poetry was created and continues to be read. Students will translate Japanese poems into another language or will compose poetry in Japanese poetic styles.
|Course schedule||Required learning|
|Class 1||Poetry from the 8th century: Nihon shoki, Kojiki, Man'yoshu||read poems in preparation for the next class; write reflections on poetry read|
|Class 2||9th century: Tales of Ise, 11th century: poetic diary of court lady Izumi Shikibu||read poems in preparation for the next class; write reflections on poetry read|
|Class 3||12th century popular songs: Songs to Make the Dust Dance||read poems in preparation for the next class; write reflections on poetry read|
|Class 4||13th century collection: One Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets||read poems in preparation for the next class; write reflections on poetry read|
|Class 5||ancient and early modern Chinese poetry by Japanese poets||read poems in preparation for the next class; write reflections on poetry read|
|Class 6||15th ~ 17th centuries: linked verse, short verse, Narrow Road to the North poetic travel diary||read poems in preparation for the next class; write reflections on poetry read|
|Class 7||19th & 20th centuries: short verse, haiku, free verse||write reflections on poetry read; submit original poetry or poetry in translation|
To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.
From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry, translated and edited by Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson (Columbia University Press, 1986)
Traditional Japanese Literature: An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600, edited by Haruo Shirane (Columbia University Press, 2007)
Early Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology, 1600-1900, edited by Haruo Shirane (Columbia University Press, 2004)
Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature, edited by J. Thomas Rimer and Van C. Gessel (Columbia University Press, 2007)
preparation for class and participation in discussions 20%
weekly reading reaction papers 40%
original poetry in Japanese poetic styles or translation with a vocabulary list and analysis 40%
ability to read, write, and discuss in high-intermediate level English
No classes will be given on April 8 (Wed).
Seven total classes will be held for this course: April 15 (Wed), April 22 (Wed), May 13 (Wed), May 20 (Wed), May 27 (Wed), June 3 (Wed), ※June 5 (Fri).
※Please take note that June 5 (Fri) is a Friday but is part of the Wednesday course schedule.