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University of Pittsburgh

Japanese Courses

JPNSE 1070: World of Japan: The Culture of Detection

3 credits

A literary and visual exploration of mystery and detective fiction in Japan including representative literary works, film, manga, and anime.

The rise of detective and mystery fiction in Japanese culture is connected to larger epistemological and aesthetic questions about the nature of, and the ends of modernity.  In order to investigate the development of detective and mystery fiction in Japan, we will cross through semiology, psychoanalysis, social theory, and narratology.  We will reflect on the modernity of the detective and its pervasive presence in contemporary culture.   Students can expect to learn about the origins and evolution of the detective novel in Japanese literature.  Topics under the microscope include the history of detective fiction, the psychology of violent crime, crime and society, the procedures of crime detection, famous male and female detectives, analysis of the detective story form, and criticism of detective fiction.