ASIAN 246 - Make it New: Modernism and Modern Life in Japan
Fall 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
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Requirements & Distribution:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


What is modern? When is modern? Now? Last week? Could it be. . .1875? Modern has a history. This course is about the idea and the experience of being modern in Japan, as seen in literature, film, the arts and philosophy from the 1870s to the present. After the end of "samurai" Japan, writers, artists and ordinary people turned their thoughts to what was ahead. They also reflected on immense changes in the world around them. The result was a century and a half of experimentation in how to describe modern life. The course starts with the era of "civilization and enlightenment" of the 1870s and 1880s, cuts to the modernism and anti-modernism of the 1920s and 1930s, explores the return of modernity as an ideal after WWII, and finishes with the world of the otaku, "superflat" aesthetics, and the cyborg in the 1990s and 2000s. From the start of this journey, writers, artists, and others faced nagging questions: Must modern Japan be "Western"? Is a Japanese modernity possible? We try to answer these questions as we trace how ideas of the modern evolved. No knowledge of Japanese is required; some knowledge of Japanese history and society will be helpful.

Intended Audience:

Undergraduates interested in the history and culture of modern Japan and East Asia

Class Format:

Two 90-minute lectures in addition to 1-hour discussion section weekly


ASIAN 246 - Make it New: Modernism and Modern Life in Japan
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (DIS)
 In Person
F 10:00AM - 11:00AM
003 (DIS)
 In Person
F 12:00PM - 1:00PM

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