Suzanne W. Barnett Fall 2005 Wyatt 144 (253) 879-3168; home (253) 752-8107 m w f, 12: 00-12: 50

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Suzanne W. Barnett Fall 2005

Wyatt 144 (253) 879-3168; home (253) 752-8107 M W F, 12:00-12:50

Office Hours as posted and announced Jones 202

or by appointment

University of Puget Sound


(Japan to the Early Nineteenth Century)
- Syllabus -
Note: History 247 fulfills the core requirement in Humanistic Approaches and, for students meeting the "old" core requirements, it fulfills the core requirement in Historical Perspective. The course also counts toward the major-minor in History and counts toward requirements in the Asian Studies Program. For the core and for credit in History and/or Asian Studies, Pass/Fail does not apply; only letter grades apply.

Course description (University of Puget Sound Bulletin)

This introductory survey of Japanese civilization from its origins to about 1840 examines the cultural experience of the Japanese people beginning with the formation and evolution of early hierarchical communities, through the aristocratic classical age and then rule by a territorially based military elite, and into commercial and social change in the early modern era of Tokugawa Japan. Special attention to enduring beliefs, values, and institutions enables understanding of the persistence of Japan’s distinctive tradition despite cultural innovations from both indigenous and outside sources.

Japan today is one of the leading industrialized nations in the world, and this characterization is all the more significant because Japan was a relative newcomer on the multinational scene. How did Japan's distinctive cultural experience across time take shape, and how did it establish the basis for Japan's model nationhood in the twenty-first century? This course attempts to answer that question.

At the same time, this course should allow its participants to appreciate traditional Japanese civilization on its own terms: How did early Japanese people perceive themselves and their world, and by what process--and in keeping with what principles--did they form themselves into an imperial state? Where did the shoguns come from (and what happened to emperors when shoguns ruled)? How did Japan fit into East Asia, especially in comparison to China? What values does the Japanese literary tradition illuminate and celebrate? How did religion shape politics and power? What was the experience of women and "commoners" in the days of palace intrigues and shogunal politics?
HUMANISTIC APPROACHES. As an option in the Humanistic Approaches core curriculum, this course enables students to explore the origins and development of Japanese civilization by way of methodologies appropriate to humanistic approaches to knowledge. These approaches involve inquiry about issues of human creativity, identity, and values, and thus the course highlights revelations of cultural definition and reflections on the nature of humanity. The course also raises questions about the roles of individuals and groups in cultural achievements, continuity, and change. While historical inquiry and the effort to see “the past” and “the present” in relationship across time is the heart of the course, the course utilizes multiple lenses of exploration. The mid-eighteenth century puppet play Chushingura, for example, is a literary/artistic creation that is historically significant because it was both a political statement in its time and an ongoing illumination of enduring Japanese values.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES. The course allows each student to advance her or his education in the liberal arts by the following intended learning accomplishments:

  • Understanding of the ways that human creativity and reflection on “issues of existence, identity, and values” inform human activity and help to define past and present in human experience (see the Humanistic Approaches core objectives and guidelines appended below as the next-to-last page of this syllabus)

  • Understanding of distinctive features of the Japanese heritage of social, political, economic, and intellectual-aesthetic development

  • Appreciation for individual and collective initiative in prompting innovation in Japanese tradition within patterns of continuity of both values and institutions

  • Effective use of multiple sources of information and interpretation, including both primary materials and secondary materials, as well as literary materials

  • Advancement of skills of critical thinking, including reading, writing, and speaking, along with analysis and argumentation

From the details of this syllabus you will see that this course demands attention to events, persons, and trends in Japan from the beginnings to about 1840. Even more, it demands independent thinking about issues and some interpretive historical work. Additionally, it requires attention to intellectual skills of reading, analyzing and expressing ideas, and writing to make a point. A central theme of the course is Japan's cultural balance--between restraint and the dramatic expression of will, between the aesthetically harmonious (the chrysanthemum) and the violent (the sword), between enduring values and creative change. A further theme is the dynamism of distinct regions in the formation of political authority.

"Beauty and duty." Japan's cultural heritage prominently involves two concepts:
(1) aesthetics (standards of the beautiful and pleasing) deriving in large part from the aristocratic age (710-1185) and (2) the idealization of feudal loyalty as a social and political virtue in the era of the samurai (1185-1867). Understanding aesthetics and loyalty as cultural values in the Japanese setting over time is a consistent objective of this course.
The lessons of this course. The heart of our work will be to explore, understand, and evaluate Japanese civilization on its own terms. Your instructor expects you to be attentive and responsible in meeting your assignments. More important, I expect you to learn from your readings and from each other, and I expect to learn from you: I trust you to have insights on the course material and to back up your interpretations with reference to assigned readings. In this process you will develop knowledge and intellectual ability that go beyond Japanese history into the realm of "general validity."
REQUIRED BOOKS FOR PURCHASE (in order of first use except for the last two items):

Totman, Conrad. Japan before Perry: A Short History. Berkeley: University of California Press, © 1981.

de Bary, Wm. Theodore, ed. Sources of Japanese Tradition. Second edition. Volume 1. New York: Columbia University Press, © 2001.

Keene, Donald, ed. Anthology of Japanese Literature: From the Earliest Era to the Mid-Nineteenth Century. New York: Grove Press, © 1955.

TAKEDA Izumo, et al. Chūshingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers). Translated by Donald Keene. New York: Columbia University Press, © 1971.

Berry, Mary Elizabeth. The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

Hanley, Susan B. Everyday Things in Premodern Japan: The Hidden Legacy of Material Culture. Berkeley: University of California Press, © 1997.

Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Manual of Style. Fourth edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, © 2004. Note: This book includes the Chicago style expected in this course for scholarly citations and bibliographies (pp. 193-208).

Coursepack (see itemization, below).

Morris, Ivan. The Nobility of Failure: Tragic Heroes in the History of Japan. New York: New American Library, 1975. Dedication, Introduction, chapter 1 (YAMATO Takeru), chapter 5 (MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune), and chapter 8 (OSHIO Heihachiro).

TOKUGAWA Ieyasu’s “Laws Governing the Military Households” (1615) and other documents.

KUMAZAWA Banzan (1619-1691), “The Model Samurai” and another document.

YAMAGA Soko (1622-1685), “The Way of the Samurai" and another document.
Additional readings include class handouts (required) and optional items in the Library; references appear in the syllabus as appropriate. Two handouts of primary sources are as follows:

“Whence Comes Japan?” excerpt from Nihongi (720 CE).

KAWABATA Yasunari on Tales of Ise, from Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself (1969).
Everyone ought also to have her or his own copy of a good dictionary. See me if you need convincing on this point.
VISUAL TEXTS. Selected visual texts, some as portions only, may be part of some class sessions, as indicated in the weekly schedule. Here are some possibilities for excerpt or full-video showings, listed in order of potential use.

"The Japanese," part 2 (from Japan: The Living Tradition; 30 mins.), Weeks 1-2.

"Early Japan," part 1 (from Japan: The Living Tradition; 30 mins.), Week 3.

"Feudal Experience," part 1 (from Japan: The Living Tradition; 30 mins.), Week 9.

"Feudal Experience," part 2 (from Japan: The Living Tradition; 30 mins.), Week 11.

"Edo Japan--Virtual Tour,", Week 12.

"The Art of Kabuki" (36 mins.), Week 13.

Edo-Tokyo Museum, Week 14

"Makiko's New World" (57 mins.). To be scheduled outside class at a time agreed upon by the class (Week 14?).
Be prepared. History 247 proceeds on the basis of your learning from a few good books that provide access to Japan's past and permit you to sharpen your critical thinking. These books are worth the effort to command their contents: Read to know the past through the "angle of access," looking for what a particular author emphasizes, what information and argumentation the author employs, and what paramount lesson the author conveys or implies.
Some readings are works close to the subject matter (primary sources), and some are works of analysis distant from the subject matter (secondary sources). All materials, including literary works, involve interpretation; and the reader's task is to look for, appreciate, and evaluate the information and the argument. Suggestion: Of a particular reading (document, article, chapter, story, or whole book) be able to say of the author--Conrad Totman, for example--"In chapter one Totman focuses on …(fill in)…and argues that…(fill in)…."


CLASS PARTICIPATION (roughly 25% of overall course grade): Being in class on time and routinely, listening thoughtfully and respectfully, offering informed comments, and questioning. Class conversation is always in order, and a record of it belongs in your class notes. In contributing to the conversation your effort should be as a participant in the class as an intellectual community--not "speechifying," but generating, sharing, and developing ideas toward mastery of the course material in a way better than each of us might do alone.

ATTENDANCE. The expected level of class attendance is 100%, which is vital to learning. It also is the basis of the function of the class as an intellectual community: Each of you is important to how all of us proceed.
THOUGHTFUL READING. Learn to read efficiently (not line-by-line plodding) and effectively: Take notes on all assigned readings, making a record for each reading that includes central themes, "need-to-know" information, and how the argument proceeds. Above all, appreciate what the reading is "about" (which is not necessarily the stated topic as such). Systematic notes on a reading make the difference in being able to engage a text and learn from the author's interpretation and argumentation, and your reading notes should be on hand for reference during class sessions.
WRITTEN WORK (roughly 75% of overall course grade). In many respects this course is about writing and speaking to make a point as informed by critical thinking and evidence, and the quality of argument and use of language will be prominent in the instructor's evaluation of written work. The assumption is that good writing is the outcome of good thinking and that good writing depends on one's individual mastery of texts and relevant ideas. Another principle at work here is that inaccurate or unclear words undermine the effectiveness of one’s point. NOTE: Submission of all written work is necessary for successful completion of the course.

Friday Footnotes (see explanation below), five of them, due Friday of Weeks 1, 2, 5, 6, 10

Paper I, on Chūshingura (due 26 September, Monday of Week 5)

"Hour" examination (19 October, Wednesday of Week 8)

Paper II, pre-exam essay on novelty in feudal Japan (due 5 December, Monday of Week 15)

Final examination: Exam Week, Wednesday, 14 December, 12:00-2:00 p.m.


  • Items of written work prepared outside class, including Friday Footnotes, are to be in typescript and submitted in hard copy (that is, no electronic submissions).

  • Each item should have had at least one serious revision and rewriting prior to submission. (Your instructor will assume this practice on your part.)

  • In general, written work prepared outside class is due at the beginning of class on the due date.

FRIDAY FOOTNOTES. On Friday of each week in Weeks 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, each student will submit a short essay, typed, of at least one substantial paragraph (a paragraph should consist of at least three well-developed, complex sentences) and normally no more than 1.5 pages. Each of these essays is to be about a historical term, event, person, or trend according to the options listed and is to engage appropriate readings as assigned for the week ending on the Friday the essay is due. Each essay should have a meaningful title that invokes the topic and should indicate why the topic is historically significant. Each Friday Footnote essay is to have at least two scholarly notes (footnotes or endnotes) to indicate what particular source or sources, down to page number(s), provided specific information or inspiration. Each essay also is to have a full bibliographic reference to the text (or texts) appearing in the notes in correct form according to Chicago style as exemplified in the Hacker style manual and class handouts.
The topic for each essay must come from the list of possibilities in the syllabus for the given week (example: Week 1, below, with "Amaterasu," "uji," and "Yamato" as options). In your paragraph, accommodate what, when, why, and wherefore (content, context, consequence), always seeking to understand why the topic is worth writing and speaking about; be sure to establish a time dimension, and feel free to engage a particular author by name and argumentation (for example, "Conrad Totman represents uji as. . . .").
The purpose of this assignment is threefold: (1) To practice gaining specific command of elements of the Japanese past, (2) to practice thinking and writing, and (3) to develop the habit of assessing and acknowledging sources as appropriate.

  • Tip 1: Always provide the date of your completion of the essay.

  • Tip 2: Do not quote unless a quoted word or phrase is part of your own sentence. Guideline: No more than 4 quoted words at a time? and no whole sentences?

  • Tip 3: Avoid first-person pronouns (I, we) unless assuming a persona (as in playing a role).

  • Tip 4: Do not summarize beyond the minimal provision of "need to know" (what your reader needs to know in order to appreciate your argumentation).

  • Tip 5: Any item in the bibliography must also be in at least one footnote (or endnote); any item in a footnote (or endnote) should be in the bibliography.

Grading: Roughly 75% written work, 25% class. In general, individual writing assignments allow students to build on previous efforts as the course proceeds. Papers and exams count more than Friday Footnotes (although these are important to do routinely and do add up). The final exam, which will allow each student to demonstrate individual command of the course material, should constitute approximately 25% of the overall course grade. In determining the overall course grade the instructor will credit improvements and effort, and I reserve the right to depart from strict numerical averages.
Workload and letter grades: The poets, politicians, and warriors of Japan's past would have understood why this course involves so much reading and writing, for these are means of acquiring knowledge, position, and influence. They also would have appreciated the general delineation of letter grades in the course, as follows: An "A" applies to work judged to be of exceptional quality in showing command of the material, including accuracy and comprehensiveness in representing the readings, originality in working with relevant ideas, and superb presentation; a "B" applies to work judged to be of distinctive quality, widely responsible to the readings, well organized, and possessing an originally thoughtful point of view; a "C" applies to work judged to be of sound quality, basically responsible to the readings and organized according to a fairly standard argument. Work below "C" is deficient of content and presentation, suggestive of inadequate attention to assigned readings and class sessions.
As a matter of policy, this course has no provisions for extensions on papers, examinations at other than the scheduled times, and no "Incomplete" grades. The "W" grade (for official withdrawal) should apply only when the student has followed official withdrawal procedures, by the stated deadline (26 September); the basic policy at the University and in this course is that after 26 September "WF" (for "withdraw failing") is the standard, even if the student's work is of "passing" quality and the withdrawal procedures are followed.

The academic standards of the University as they appear in the "Academic Policies" section of the latest edition of The Logger (available from the Registrar's Office) apply in this course. You will want to have your own copy of The Logger for reference on matters such as "Academic Honesty" and procedures for withdrawal from a course. Plagiarism or any other violation of the standards of academic honesty can result in a failing grade in the course and University action.

Weekly Schedule and Assignments

The readings assigned below are listed on a weekly basis, not class-by-class. This allows you to consider the broad sweep of a week’s readings before and during the given week. In class, as we proceed through the term, we will spell out appropriate breakdown of the readings expected for the next class (or classes). Be attentive, and always bring your syllabus to class for reference and notation. Readings as identified for a given class session should be completed before the class session.

I. Foundations
In this section of the course (weeks 1-4) we survey the historical reference points of Japanese civilization over the full chronological stretch of our study, from the beginnings (both imagined and evidenced), through the emergence of the centralized state under an emperor and his court, and then into the politics and values of changing state and society in the late "feudal" period (when a shogun ruled). Please note that this effort facilitates introductory knowledge of cultural and institutional "foundations" that we will revisit and extend in subsequent sections of the course.
Week 1 Japan: Jimmu's "beautiful country" 29 Aug-

FRIDAY FOOTNOTE #1: (1) Amaterasu, (2) uji, (3) Yamato

Japan's geographical isolation, cultural origins and issues of cultural identity. Controlled relationships with foreigners: Korea, the China connection. Myths, warriors, clans. Specialized terminology: Jomon, Yayoi, haniwa, Amaterasu, kami, Shinto, uji, be, Yamato.
VIDEO Friday and/or in Week 2: "The Japanese," part 2 (30 mins. or a portion)
Reading: Course syllabus, entire. Develop a sound preliminary view of the conceptualization and ordering of the course, how to use the syllabus, due dates of papers, and dates of the hour examination and the final examination.

"Whence Comes Japan?" excerpt from Nihongi (720 CE). Class handout.

Conrad Totman, Japan before Perry, Preface and pp. 1-17.

Wm. Theodore de Bary, ed., Sources of Japanese Tradition, second edition, vol. 1, pp. 3-28 ("Earliest Records" and "Early Shinto").

OPTIONAL: ON RESERVE. George B. Sansom, Japan: A Short Cultural History, chapters I, II, III. Please note this remarkable book, to which you may want to refer throughout the term. Sansom provides details that complement Totman's text and also the sources in the de Bary text.

OPTIONAL: ON RESERVE. Albert M. Craig and Donald H. Shively, ed., Personality in Japanese History, pp. 29-56, essay by John C. Pelzel: "Human Nature in the Japanese Myths." On Amaterasu and the mischievous Susa no o.

LABOR DAY: Monday, 5 September (no class)
Week 2 Enduring values W, 7 Sep-

FRIDAY FOOTNOTE #2: (1) Yamato Takeru, (2) love in the Man'yoshu, (3) Shinto

Heroes, the "brave of Yamato," and military prowess, also "the nobility of failure" concept (how have Japanese people regarded men who fought without compromise even when they knew they could not win?). The celebration of duty, bravery, and love in poetry and prose. Early religious beliefs and values.
(VIDEO: "The Japanese," part 2 [30 mins. or a portion])
Reading: Ivan Morris, The Nobility of Failure, Dedication, Introduction, and ch. 1 (Yamato Takeru). Coursepack 1-17.

Donald Keene, ed., Anthology of Japanese Literature, pp. 19-58. (Introduction, "Man'yoshu," "Kojiki").

de Bary, 1, pp. 28-31 (more "Early Shinto").


DUE Monday, 26 September (Week 5): short paper (500-600 words, on doublespaced typewritten pages, perhaps 2-3 pages if one assumes 200-250 words per page), on Chūshingura, SUBMITTED IN DUPLICATE (original and one copy for me; for yourself make an additional copy). Original, meaningful title; thesis (statement of a point of view to be developed in the paper as informed and supported by the assigned readings) included in the opening paragraph. Write an essay that accommodates your own informed perceptions of Chūshingura with reference to (1) the theme, (2) the historical setting (warning: this is complex), (3) social and economic conditions, (4) personal and societal values, (5) one character who represents a particular value.
Include multiple NOTES, also a BIBLIOGRAPHY in Chicago style according to the Hacker handbook and on class handouts. Advice: Quoted material, if used at all, should be at a minimum and should consist only of phrases or short passages linked to your own sentences (avoid "detached" quotation). Avoid the first person pronoun (I, we). Remember to include the date of your paper.

Week 3 "Imperial" ideology 12 Sep-

Ideas and principles as matters of life and death in the politics of proto-imperial Japan. "Chinese learning" and the rise of the Soga, Shotoku Taishi, Soga vs. Mononobe and Nakatomi. Why were the Taika reforms so important?

VIDEO Monday and/or Wednesday: "Early Japan," part 1 (30 mins. or a portion)
Reading: Totman, pp. 18-26.

de Bary, 1, pp. 40-55, 63-84 (Shotoku Taishi, the imperial idea, Taika reforms).

(Begin reading for Week 4.)

Week 4 The samurai ethic 19 Sep-

Who were the samurai? What was the "Forty-seven ronin" incident all about? When did it occur? The historical setting of Chūshingura and the values of the uniquely Japanese feudal legacy.

Reading: TAKEDA Izumo, et al., Chūshingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers), entire.
Advice: By 12 noon Thursday you should have mapped out a structure for your paper and should have at least one paragraph in draft form. Consult a writing advisor in the Center for Writing and Learning or see me if you seek further advice.
DUE Monday, 26 September: paper on Chūshingura; please be in class on Monday even if your paper still needs typing and/or copying. You may turn in the paper in class (or after class, providing that you were in class from the beginning of class). Remember to date the paper and to submit it in duplicate.
Last day to drop with "W," 26 Sep (M)


Week 5 Nara Japan (710-784 A.D.): aristocratic bureaucracy and "Buddhist" politics

26 Sep-

FRIDAY FOOTNOTE #3: (1) 702, (2) Todaiji, (3) Kaifuso

A centralized state and a ruling aristocracy; Taiho code; Kojiki, Nihon Shoki; Nara Buddhism, Dokyo. The move to Heian (why?).
Reading: Totman, pp. 26-31.

de Bary, 1, pp. 84-108, 111-121 (governance, Taiho code, Nara Buddhism).

(Begin readings for Week 6.)

Week 6 Heian Japan 3 Oct-

FRIDAY FOOTNOTE #4 (1) Murasaki Shikibu, (2) Shingon, (3) Fujiwara

Heian (which was the kyoto, or "the capital city," later officially named Kyoto) and classical higher culture: religiosity as a style, courtly love and palace politics, the rise of the Fujiwara, Lady Murasaki's masterpiece (Tale of Genji). Developments in Japanese Buddhism: Saicho and the Tendai sect, Kōbō Daishi (Kūkai) and Shingon.
Wednesday: NO CLASS (IES Curriculum Committee meeting)
Reading: Totman, pp. 31-54. For Monday

de Bary, 1, pp. 123-174, 197-202 (Heian Buddhism and aesthetics). Read to acquire contexts for Saicho and Kobo Daishi, and know at least one primary-source document for Monday. On Friday, be able to bring Heian Buddhism into conversation about the literary selections in the Keene anthology.

KAWABATA Yasunari, on Tales of Ise, from Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself (1969). Class handout. For Monday.

Keene, Anthology, one or more from each group below (for Friday):

Group A pp. 67-75 ("Tales of Ise"),

pp. 76-81 ("Kokinshu"),

pp. 82-91 ("Tosa Diary"),

Group B pp. 106-136 ("Yugao," from Tale of Genji),

pp. 137-144 ("Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon"),

pp. 145-155 ("Diary of Murasaki Shikibu").


HOUR EXAM, Wednesday, 19 October (Wednesday of Week 8)

Bluebook in-class essay exam, to include thought questions requiring both data and argumentation. Memorization will not suffice as preparation, but thinking-through issues and themes will. Use the syllabus topics and questions to initiate a study guide of your own construction (we can talk in class about how to do this). NOTE: This exam will build on your earlier writing and lead the way to the next paper and the final exam.

Advice: Review the conceptualization of the course and other commentary on pp. 1-2 of the syllabus, above, as well as key topics noted in connection with particular readings and class sessions, thus to be able to put topics into the historical process. You also will want to review your class notes and notes on readings, along with your returned papers, in "packaging" your learning in the course to the point of the hour exam.

Week 7 The rise of the "second aristocracy"; from court to "camp"; Kamakura 10 Oct-

"Privatism" and the undermining of imperial authority. Problems of land ownership vs. proprietorship, rise of the shoen. Emergence of powerful local families with palace ties. Struggle for power: the Taira vs. the Minamoto (the Gempei wars). The Kamakura shogunate (bakufu), founded by Minamoto no Yoritomo; the new military elite. Popular religion.

Reading: Totman, pp. 54-80 (and re-read pp. 28-30 on shoen). For Monday.

de Bary, 1, pp. 205-222 ("despair" in medieval Japan and its antidote, faith: "Amida" and the "Pure Land"). For Monday.

Keene, Anthology, pp. 179-191 ("Tale of the Heike") and pp. 197-212 ("An Account of My Hut"). For Wednesday.

Morris, ch. 5 (Minamoto no Yoshitsune). Coursepack 18-45. For Friday.

FALL BREAK DAY, Monday, 17 October (no class)
"HOUR" EXAMINATION: Wednesday, 19 October. Essays; bluebooks provided.
Week 8 Kamakura to Ashikaga W, 19 Oct-

Wealth and power, centralization and decentralization, upheavals. Buddhism and "national" politics.

Wednesday: HOUR EXAM
Reading: Totman, pp. 80-106. For Friday.

de Bary, 1, pp. 222-226 (Hōnen), 292-305 (Nichiren). For Friday.


Week 9 Ashikaga Japan: "political fragmentation" and "aesthetic unity"? 24 Oct-

The Japanese feudal model under the Ashikaga shogunate; samurai culture: tea, Zen, NO. Muromachi art: Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji.

Reading: Totman, pp. 106-117.

de Bary, 1, pp. 306-326, 364-372, 388-395 (Zen--Eisai, Dogen, the arts).

Keene, Anthology, pp. 258-263 (Seami on NO) and pp. 286-293 ("Atsumori"). Re-read pp. 179-181 on the death of Atsumori.

Mary Elizabeth Berry, The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto. Look over the entire book, including the back cover and "Acknowledgments," and determine the contents and the layout of chapters. Read with care the "Introduction" (pp. xv-xxxii). Be able to explain and comment on what Berry means by the following statement: "Lawlessness was this process of invention, as men and women of all stations rejected stable definitions of selves, attachments, and values to test possibilities."1

VIDEO: "Feudal Experience," part 1 (30 mins.)


Pre-Exam Essay DUE Monday, 5 December (Week 15)

Paper on cultural novelty (what was "new"?) in late feudal Japan in connection with the transition from the Ashikaga shogunal period to the Tokugawa shogunal period and the Tokugawa period itself. Provide at least 3.5 (but no more than 4) doublespaced typewritten pages in a reasonable font (800-1000 words?) and submitted in duplicate. This paper is to be both analytical and informational and must engage the argumentation and data of the following two assigned texts:

  1. Mary Elizabeth Berry, The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto, assigned beginning in Week 9 and also below, and

  2. Susan B. Hanley, Everyday Things in Premodern Japan, assigned below beginning in Week 12.

The juxtaposition of these two texts is deliberate, in spite of their difference in chronological emphasis and their seeming differences in subject matter and approach. By putting them into the same "conversation" by way of the paper, you can reach critical understanding of changes Japanese society, political institutions, economic practice, and beliefs in late "traditional" Japan.

The paper is to have the appropriate scholarly trappings--an original, meaningful title that "heralds" your topic and analysis, thesis-argument informed by your mastery of the two texts, NOTES (footnotes or endnotes) and BIBLIOGRAPHY in Chicago style according to the Hacker handbook and on class handouts. As usual, the paper should have had at least one, and preferably more than one, significant self-revision prior to submission.
Suggestions: (a) Determine ways to focus and "problematize" your paper, perhaps by keeping in mind the "what was 'new'?" question or a variation such as "how 'modern' was 'premodern' Japan?" in terms of socio-economic change or political change or changes in ideas and values (including, perhaps, aesthetic standards). (b) The two specified texts (Berry and Hanley) must be in your Bibliography and in multiple Notes, but you might also engage at least one other assigned text (apt book, article, or document) as long as you do not short-change the two specified texts.

Week 10 Sengoku ("the country at war") and reunification 31 Oct-

FRIDAY FOOTNOTE #5: An item of your identification and selection from the week's reading

The Onin Wars, the breakdown of Ashikaga rule, and the beginnings of a new order. Westerners in feudal Japan: "The Christian Century." The "three great unifiers" of the late sixteenth century (Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Tokugawa Ieyasu) and the founding of the Tokugawa shogunate. Specialized terminology: Edo (Yedo); fudai, kamon, and tozama daimyo; sakoku. Violence and change (Berry).
Reading: Totman, pp. 117-144.

Berry, continued. Develop and execute a strategy for mastering this entire book both in terms of the author's argument and in terms of the book's role in your paper due in Week 15.


Week 11 Tokugawa order: "centralized feudalism" / "integral bureaucracy" 7 Nov-

What contribution did the Tokugawa baku-han system make to the Japanese tradition? Was the Tokugawa order "feudal"? Why or why not? Why did Japan emerge from feudalism as a unified country and not as separate nation-states (as in Europe)? Warriors as bureaucrats, "rule by status." NOTE: Our discussion of the Berry book will continue through this week, in spite of temporal passage into the Tokugawa period and discussion of Tokugawa readings as well.

VIDEO: "Feudal Experience," part 2 (30 mins.)
Reading: Berry, continued.

Totman, pp. 145-149.

Tokugawa Ieyasu's "Laws Governing the Military Housholds," "Military Government and the Social Order," and "Ieyasu's Secret." Coursepack 46-49.

Possible video outside class: "Makiko's New World" (57 mins.) To be scheduled for Week 14? (This video fits especially well with considerations of "daily life" and "everyday things" featured in the Hanley book as assigned below.)

Week 12 Tokugawa thought, society, and daily life 14 Nov-

Confucianism in Tokugawa Japan, intellectual orthodoxy, strains and stresses of the gap between theory and reality. Rise of towns and chonin (townsmen) culture. Bushido.

Reading: Totman, pp. 150-188.

KUMAZAWA Banzan (1619-1691), on "The Model Samurai" and "The Development and Distribution of Wealth." Coursepack 50-53.

YAMAGA Soko (1622-1685), "The Way of the Samurai" and "Short Preface to The Essence of Confucianism." Coursepack 54-56.

"Edo Japan--Virtual tour," http:/ (type in the complete address).

Keene, Anthology, pp. 362-376 (what is Basho's message?).

Susan B. Hanley, Everyday Things in Premodern Japan. Look over the entire book, including the front and back covers, and determine the contents and the layout of chapters. Read the "Preface" (pp. xi-xiv) and ch. 1: "The Level of Physical Well-Being in Tokugawa Japan" (pp. 1-25). Be able to explain and comment on Hanley’s concept of "physical well-being" in the Tokugawa period and how she determines it; more important, be able to say why she believes it matters--what does it mean in Japan’s historical process?

Week 13 "The floating world" (ukiyo) 21 Nov-

The Genroku era and ukiyo: money, leisure, kabuki, Saikaku. Was pleasure-seeking at variance with established religious values? Maybe, maybe not. What was life like for ordinary people? Be ready for class discussion.

VIDEO: "The Art of Kabuki" (36 mins. or portion)
Reading: Keene, Anthology, pp. 335-362 (Saikaku's stories "What the Seasons Brought to the Almanac Maker," "The Umbrella Oracle," and "The Eternal Storehouse of Japan"). For Monday.

Hanley, continued, toward command of the entire book.

OPTIONAL: ON RESERVE. Howard Hibbett, The Floating World in Japanese Fiction, pp. 3-55 (paperback ed. pp. 3-49).

OPTIONAL: ON RESERVE. Sansom, chapter XXII ("Genroku").

OPTIONAL: Edo-Tokyo Museum website: This site includes pictures of reconstructed buildings and/or actual artifacts. Try to get a sense of Edo as a metropolis.

THANKSGIVING BREAK: Thursday-Sunday, 24-27 November

Week 14 The Tokugawa era: stability and change 28 Nov-

Forces of change in late traditional Japan

Reading: Hanley, continued, toward command of the entire book.

Totman, pp. 188-232.

Morris, ch. 8 (Oshiro Heihachiro). Coursepack 57-81.

Keene, Anthology, pp. 386-390 ("Chikamatsu on the Art of the Puppet Stage") and pp. 391-409 ("Love Suicides at Sonezaki").

"Makiko's New World" (video) shown outside class this week?

DUE Monday, 5 December (Week 15): pre-exam essay on cultural novelty in feudal Japan; please be in class on Monday even if your paper still needs typing and/or copying. You may turn in the paper in class (or after class, providing that you were in class from the beginning of class). Remember to date your work and to submit the paper in duplicate.

Week 15 The origins of modern Japan 5 Dec-

Pre-exam consolidation: "Beauty and duty," along with "everyday things" (Hanley)

Reading: Hanley, ch. 7: "Stability in Transition: From the Tokugawa Period to the Meiji period" (pp. 155-175). For Monday.

Keene, Anthology, pp. 410-415 ("A Wayward Wife"). For Monday.

Course syllabus. Re-read.

Humanistic Approaches core objectives and guidelines (see next-to-last page of this syllabus). Re-read.

Re-read one reading selection of your choice from previously assigned materials in this course. Be prepared to talk about your selection and new insights in connection with the assigned readings for this week.
READING PERIOD, Th-Sun, 8-11 Dec (no class)

FINAL EXAMINATION: Wednesday, 14 December, 12:00-2:00 p.m.

The prescheduled time is fixed; the place will be the regular classroom. The final exam will presume familiarity with the course work of the entire semester and should constitute approximately 25% of the overall course grade. Bluebooks provided.



University of Puget Sound


April 17, 2001



Students in courses in Humanistic Approaches acquire an understanding of how humans have addressed fundamental questions of existence, identity, and values and develop an appreciation of these issues of intellectual and cultural experience. Students also learn to explicate and to evaluate critically products of human reflection and creativity.


  1. Humanistic Approaches courses examine products of individual or collective human reflection and creativity. Accordingly, courses may include literary or artistic works or other evidence of the beliefs, customs, and institutions of a culture or cultures.

  1. Courses in Humanistic Approaches introduce students to methodologies appropriate to the exploration of beliefs about human existence, identity, and values.

  1. Humanistic Approaches courses explore these issues over time or across cultures.


1 Mary Elizabeth Berry, The Culture of Civil War in Kyoto (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), xxi.

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