Contemporary Japanese Culture (JPN4217.01)

Huang-wen Lai

Today, Japanese manga, anime, J-pop, and film have a global audience. But these exports can only be truly understood in light of longstanding domestic anxieties about sex, violence, “the kids these days,” and vulnerability to natural and anthropogenic disaster. This course traces some of these anxieties through critical examinations of manga, anime, teen fiction (light novels), video games, television, music, and fashion in Japan. As we engage with the assigned texts and films, we will investigate how the popular culture products of the present reflect Japan’s past and envision its future. We will also have repeated opportunities to ask whether these media products are truly “Japanese,” why people call them “popular” (and what they mean when they do), and what exactly the commonplace word “culture” actually means.

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Entirely remote (synchronous)
Prerequisites:1st term Japanese/Permission of instructor. Email Ikuko Yoshida ( for permission.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
T/F 2:10PM - 4:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

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