Introduction to Japanese Literature


This course is offered regularly during the fall term.


This course is a one-semester introduction to Japanese literature in English translation. Its main objective is to acquaint students with a non-Western literary tradition by providing an overview of some of the themes and genres of Japanese literature from ancient to modern times. The texts have been chosen according to their fame, interest, suitability for teaching, and availability in good English translations. They include mythology, historical writing, poetry, diaries, drama, and various forms of narrative fiction. Each work is discussed in terms of the social and historical context that produced it, its relevance for the modern reader, and its position within the larger trends of literary development in Japan. The course is designed for students interested in broadening their knowledge of Japan, as well as for students who wish to compare other literature they have studied with that of Japan. No prior knowledge of Japan or Japanese is necessary to enroll. The course can be taken by Department majors in conjunction with JPNSE 1908, Directed Writing.



Class Size


Number of Credits


Course prerequisites

None (All readings are in English with no knowledge of Japanese needed.)