ASIAN 252 - Undergraduate Seminar in Japanese Culture
Section: 200 Exploring Japan: Travel Writing from Antiquity to the Future
Term: SU 2010
Subject: Asian Studies (ASIAN)
Department: LSA Asian Languages & Cultures
Requirements & Distribution:
FYSem, WorldLit
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
No knowledge of Japanese language is required.
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:

In this course, we will examine issues of documentation, fiction, and narrative in Japanese travel accounts from the 8th to the 21st centuries, as we consider two basic questions: Why do we travel? What moves us to leave our homes and enter unfamiliar territory? Why is there such a strong desire to record the experience of travel? And when that travel record is based upon such personal experiences, why do we enjoy reading (or watching) them? And what is travel writing? Does it all fit into a single category of travel literature? When travelers record their journeys, the results are extremely varied, ranging from documentary, to personal exposition, to fiction and fantasy. And the motivations for travel are often just as varied as the records themselves. This course will focus on a variety of travel writing dealing with Japan from early pilgrimages to contemporary records of travel in popular culture. We will examine texts, film and objects of visual culture, including photographs, maps, sketches and paintings. These texts and objects range from documentary to fantasy, and will allow us to explore issues of motivation for travel, authorship, and identity in each. For example, how does Bashô’s Narrow Road to the Deep North present the landscape of early modern Japan, how has it been re-imagined in Japanese popular culture, and how do we, as 21st century American readers understand, interpret, and enjoy it today?

ASIAN 252 - Undergraduate Seminar in Japanese Culture
Schedule Listing
200 (SEM)
TuTh 2:00PM - 5:00PM
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