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JAPA244 Modern Japanese Fiction

The study of major works of modern Japanese fiction in their historical, social and cultural contexts, and also in an East/West comparative perspective.

Understand Japanese culture and society "from the inside" by reading some of the major works of modern Japanese fiction, including novels by two Nobel Prize winners. All lectures and readings are offered in English; texts in Japanese are optional.

NOTE: This paper is also offered as JAPA 344; the content of the paper is the same for both JAPA 244 and JAPA 344, but assessment is differentiated between the two levels: students taking this paper at the more advanced level are asked to produce a longer research essay (3,000 rather than 2,000 words).

Paper title Modern Japanese Fiction
Paper code JAPA244
Subject Japanese
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $955.05
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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36 points
JAPA 303, JAPA 344
Schedule C
Arts and Music
All lectures and readings are offered in English; texts in Japanese are optional.
Suitable for students specialising in any discipline. This paper is taught in English. No knowledge of the Japanese language is required.
Teaching staff
Associate Professor Roy Starrs
Paper Structure
Through readings, lectures and discussions, JAPA 244/344 introduces some of the major works and authors of modern Japanese fiction, one of the contemporary world's great bodies of literature.
Teaching Arrangements

This paper is taught via lectures and seminar-style discussions.


The following novels will be read:

  • Natsume Sōseki, Kokoro
  • Tanizaki Junichirō, Some Prefer Nettles
  • Kawabata Yasunari, Snow Country
  • Enchi Fumiko, The Waiting Years
  • Ibuse Masuji, Black Rain
  • Mishima Yukio, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
  • Ōe Kenzaburō, A Personal Matter
  • Murakami Haruki, Kafka on the Shore

Other course readings will be made available on the course BB (Blackboard) site.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

By reading the texts and participating in lectures and seminar-style discussions and completing the required assignments, students will be able to:

  • Place these works and authors in their proper literary/historical context and thus to gain a deeper understanding not only of the works and authors themselves, but of Japanese literary history and of Japanese history in general
  • Acquire a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and society through the study and analysis of Japanese fiction
  • Enhance understanding of the art of fiction in general by viewing Japanese fiction in a comparative perspective and from a variety of theoretical viewpoints
  • Enhance skill in the critical analysis of literary texts, in the use of theory, in research and in the art and technique of writing scholarly essays

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system