Course syllabus




SEMESTER 1, 2019

15 points

Course Director: Dr Lawrence Marceau 

Class Representative: Rosalie Alter-Shaw

Facebook Group URL:

(Detail of street scene in Edo, from Kidai shōran [Excellent View of Our Prosperous Age], c. 1805)


Explores literary works and other writings and media from early modern (Edo/Tokugawa) Japan, focusing on the way these texts reflect aspects of Edo culture. Texts in English translation.

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:00 to 4:00pm, and by appointment


School of Cultures, Languages, & Linguistics Website:

For enquiries, please contact the Arts Students’ Centre, Social Science Bldg., Room 418 (416-418), open M-F, 9am-5pm


JPN 243/343 Course Meeting Locations and Times:

            Lecture: Wednesdays 15:00-17:00 Clock Tower, Room 032 (105-032)

Tutorials: Fridays, 14:00-15:00 and 15:00-1600 Clock Tower Annex, Room G30 (119-G30)


Note: Attendance required for the 2-hour lecture & one tutorial per week

NOTE ON EQUITY & IMPAIRMENT ISSUES: Students are urged to discuss privately any impairment-related requirements face-to-face and/or in written form with the course convenor/lecturer and/or tutor.

Well-being always comes first

We all go through tough times during the semester, or see our friends struggling. There is lots of help out there - for more information, look at this Canvas page, which has links to various support services in the University and the wider community.

Course Readers:  These will be available for purchase at Ubiq (former University Book Shop). If you decide to withdraw the course, please return the course reader to UBS.  Please note that if you lose your course book and need a new one, you will have to pay for it.


Course Objectives:


            This course complements JAPANESE 240/340: Villains & Heroes in Japanese Literature, focussing in this case on literary texts from the Early Modern (Edo or Tokugawa, c. 1603-1867) period. This course will in particular give you the opportunity to improve your reading and writing through planning, preparing, and completing an academic essay. You'll be devoting the last several weeks or so of the semester to this essay (while continuing to read and discuss a range of works from the mid- to late-Edo period).


            In this course we'll be exploring Japanese written works from the Early Modern period, when hereditary military elites held political power in the name of the Court. As we read, we'll be asking questions about such issues as: social patterns of behaviour, religious and other belief systems, everyday life, the political system, literary and artistic creativity, travel, leisure and entertainment, production and consumption, and gender roles. We'll also consider how these aspects of life change over the course of this period (nearly 300 years).


            You will gain three types of knowledge in this course. First, you will learn facts related to aspects of life in early modern Japan, as suggested above. Second, you will develop (while taking other Stage 2 and Stage 3 courses on Japan) your appreciation for the themes and concerns that these texts raise within their socio-cultural contexts. Third, you will continue to develop further self-awareness about your own ethnic and cultural background through continued reflection and comparing with other cultures you've come into contact with. The knowledge you gain corresponds directly with the amount of serious effort and effective study you devote to this course.


            In addition to these knowledge objectives, this course also fulfils important skills objectives.  They include building skills in critical reading, in classroom discussion, and in effective writing.  I put much effort into reading your essays and other coursework, so when you receive comments back from me, please look them over carefully.




Mid-length essay (1500 words, week 5)     30%

Mid-semester test (week 6)                         20%

Final longer essay (2000 words, week 12)  40%

Tutorial discussion questions                      10%

Total =                                                        100%


Tips for doing well in this course:

  1. Attendance (If you are ill or must leave the area in an emergency, email and leave a message beforehand; even in lecture sessions, the class dynamics change if you are not in attendance)
  2. Critical and thoughtful reading of primary and secondary materials
  3. Creativity and initiative in classroom discussions (don't let others do all the talking!)
  4. Essays submitted on time (I downgrade late submissions five per cent a day; after a week I do not accept them)


Academic Integrity

Libraries & Learning Services (LLS, Te Tumu Herenga) Websites for Referencing Information and Training

(I have pasted the passages below from the Libraries & Learning Services website


Plagiarism involves taking another person's ideas, words or inventions and presenting them as your own. Paraphrasing or rewording another person's work, without acknowledging its source, is also plagiarism.
In Western academic culture this is a totally unacceptable practice and considered a serious academic offence. There are heavy penalties, such as failing a course or even worse — being thrown out of university. See The University of Auckland's guidelines on academic integrity.

To avoid plagiarism

All material, whether directly quoted, summarised or paraphrased, MUST be acknowledged correctly.
To achieve this:

  • Always clearly indicate the quoted material with quotation marks or indentation of the text as appropriate.
  • Keep an accurate record of your sources of information while reading, surfing the net, and note-taking. Make a habit of recording the 'vital statistics' of all your reading. This means the author, date of publication, title, publisher, page numbers, URL, etc. Here's a pocket guide (link to PDF) on the information to record for different sources.
  • Learn the appropriate referencing style of your department.
  • Be totally consistent in all your references, as well as in your bibliography.
  • Keep your readers in mind - research material you've used must be easily traced back to the original source.
  • Also see the page outlining when you need to reference.

Three ways of incorporating other's work into your writing

  1. A quotation is the words of another writer reproduced exactly in terms of wording, spelling, punctuation, capitalisation and paragraphing. More on quoting ...
  2. A paraphrase is your version of essential ideas and information expressed by someone else. More on paraphrasing ...
  3. A summary is less detailed than a paraphrase, and significantly shorter than the original, rephrasing just the main points.

All require a reference

The benefits of drawing on other peoples ideas
Quoting, summarising and paraphrasing are used to:

  • Provide support for claims or add credibility to your writing.
  • Cite different points of view.
  • Integrate information by assessing, comparing, contrasting or evaluating it, to show understanding.
  • Emphasise a position that you agree or disagree with.
  • Refer to other research that leads up to your study.
  • Highlight a pertinent point by quoting the original.

When to quote

  • When the wording of the original is memorable or vivid and you can't re-write it to sound any better.
  • When the exact words of an authority would lend support to your own ideas.
  • When you want to draw attention to the author's opinion, especially if that opinion differs greatly from other experts' opinions.

When to paraphrase or summarise

  • When the ideas are more important than the author's authority or style.
  • When the original language isn't particularly memorable, but the ideas are.
  • When the original language is too difficult to understand (for instance, when the particular jargon or complexity of the original work is so difficult to understand that you need to paraphrase it so that the meaning is immediately clear).

(End of quote from the LLS – Te Tumu Herenga website)

For Japanese 243, I prefer that you use the MLA Style Manual (see this link from Quick©ite: -- select MLA 8) referencing style. You can find examples of how to do referencing (footnotes, list of works cited, in-text citation) here: (Select the reference type you wish to use in the box at right, after you have selected MAA 8.)

            Also, I strongly encourage you to familiarise yourselves with the online resources available through the UoA Library system.  You are extremely fortunate to be at an excellent East Asian Studies research institution, with a world-class library.  Please go to the websites of the Japan Collection

and explore! For research, the online databases of full-text articles from Asian Studies journals (JSTOR) are also available from the Library's website:

Other helpful online databases for researching material for this course include Project Muse (recent books and articles, including those currently published:

and ProQuest (Master’s, PhD, and other scholarship:


            Finally, I urge each of you to keep in touch with me regarding anything that might affect your performance in this course. I am excited about having the opportunity to read and discuss materials from a time period in Japanese history that is still not fully understood. We'll be reading works that often do not fit neatly into western-derived generic categories. I hope we can explore this material together and arrive at a critical appreciation of these texts and their cultural and historical contexts, appreciations that perhaps no one else has yet gained… Good luck!

Illustrations of terakoya (“temple” schools) for boys (right) and girls (left), ca. 1844-48. Woodblock print diptych, “Bungaku bandai no takara” (「文学萬代の宝」始の巻・末の巻 “Learning: A Treasure for Ten Thousand Generations”) by Issunshi Hanasato (一寸子花里n.d.) in the collection of the Tokyo Metropolitan Library

Course summary:

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