Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies

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Modern Japanese Fiction in Translation


Class code etc
Class code A6302
Year 2020
Faculty/Graduate school Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies
Previous Class title
Attached documents
Class form
Term 春学期授業/Spring
Credit(s) 2
Day/Period 月5/Mon.5
Campus 市ヶ谷 / Ichigaya
Classroom name
Grade 3~4
Duplicate Subjects Taken Under Previous Class Title
Open Program
Open Program
Global Open Program
Interdepartmental class taking system for Academic Achievers
Interdepartmental class taking system for Academic Achievers
Class taught by instructors with practical experience

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Outline and objectives

How do we process the experience of encountering a new language and culture? How does that process in turn affect our own personal language and identity? In this course, we will read translations of personal essays and fiction written in the Japanese language by contemporary authors undergoing such experiences, including Japanese authors living abroad and non-Japanese authors writing in their adopted language. As we compare their stories and observations, we will also consider how the act of writing provides each author with a space to form and perform new cultural identities and personal idioms.


Students will practice reading and writing critically as they explore dynamics of culture, language, and identity in modern Japanese literature.

Which item of the diploma policy will be obtained by taking this class?

Will be able to gain “DP 1”, “DP 2”, “DP 3”, and “DP 4”.

Default language used in class

英語 / English

Method(s)(2020年度はオンライン授業の実施に伴い、変更の可能性があります。変更は学習支援システム等で提示します。/Method(s) may change depending on the online lesson.Changes will be reflected in the Learning Management System, etc.)

Classes will be divided roughly evenly between lectures and guided discussions. Short quizzes will be given to assess comprehension of weekly readings. Students will submit midterm and final papers.

Active learning in class (Group discussion, Debate.etc.)

あり / Yes

Fieldwork in class

なし / No




Introduction of course content and selection exam

2:Transnational Literature

Concepts of transnational literature

3:Creating the Modern Japanese Canon

Mack, Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature

4:Culture Shock and Interpretation

Tawada, Where Europe Begins

5:Exophony and Border Crossing

Tawada, Where Europe Begins

6:Language, Literature, and Imagined Communities

Mizumura, A True Novel

7:Language and the Construction of Identity

Mizumura, The Fall of Language in the Age of English

8:Review & Midterm Examination

No reading

9:Language and Belonging

Levy, A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard

10:Identity as Costume

Levy, A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard

11:The Right to Language

Levy, A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard

12:Transnationalism and Borrowed Ideology

Zoppetti, Ichigensan

13:Writing Within the Canon

Zoppetti, Ichigensan

14:Final Synthesis

Review major themes of the course and discuss new frontiers in transnational Japanese literature

Work to be done outside of class (preparation, etc.)

Students are expected to perform close readings of weekly reading assignments and prepare to actively engage in class discussions. Preparatory study and review time for this class are 2 hours each.


Levy, Ian Hideo. A Room Where The Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard: A Novel in Three Parts. Columbia University Press, 2011.
Additional readings will be distributed through the H'etudes system.


Mack, Edward. Manufacturing Modern Japanese Literature: Publishing, Prizes, and the Ascription of Literary Value. Duke University Press, 2010.
Mizumura, Minae. A True Novel. Other Press, 2014.
Mizumura, Minae. The Fall of Language in the Age of English. Columbia University Press, 2015.
Tawada, Yoko. Where Europe Begins. New Directions, 2007.
Zoppetti, David. Ichigensan: The Newcomer. Ozaru Books, 2011.

Grading criteria

Class contribution (30%), quizzes (20%), in-class midterm paper (25%), final paper (25%)

Changes following student comments