Modernity Through Japanese Film & Fiction

Japanese culture is well known throughout the world — from ancient traditions like samurai and the tea ceremony to popular modern phenomena such as Pokémon and the film Spirited Away. But what do these cultural touchstones actually reveal about modern-day Japan, one of the globe’s most prosperous countries? And how do the ways that the Japanese approach the complex challenges of modern life reflect and explain the world of today? To tackle these questions, this course focuses on reading, watching, and discussing major works of Japanese fiction, film, and anime. Beginning in the late 19th century and journeying up to the present day, we’ll look at how Japanese artists have tried to comprehend the complex world around them and find their place within it. Our class will culminate with a field trip to the International District to see remnants of Seattle's long connection to Japan. 

This course is designed for students interested in knowing more about Japan and seeing their own world from a different perspective. No background knowledge is necessary about Japan, the Japanese language, literary analysis, or film analysis.

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5 credits of Arts and Humanities coursework towards the Areas of Inquiry requirement.