In present-day America, entire cable channels show nothing but anime, translations of manga crowd shelves in bookstores, sushi sells even in chain supermarkets, and a giant inflated Hello Kitty sails over Manhattan yearly in that most Mom-and-Apple-Pie of spectacles, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. How did these iconic cultural forms begin? In this course, we will make a long overview of Japanese civilization, in part to understand the context that produced those objects of global renown. We will also examine elements of Japanese history and culture less familiar outside of Japan. This introductory course is intended for anyone with a broad curiosity about things Japanese.
Assignments to include short weekly writing exercises and in-class examinations at midterm and term’s end.
Familiarity with the Japanese language, Japanese media (manga, anime, television serials, film, video games, etc.), or daily life in Japan will be helpful, but is not required.
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