Dissertation 80 credits

The dissertation is an opportunity to pursue an area of specialist study on a specific academic methodology or topic. Students will be assigned two members of staff as supervisors to advise on research and writing. The dissertation module is supported by the core module, allowing students to develop a range of transferable skills for the workplace, future research, or doctoral-level study. Students will pursue and individual research project, drawing on knowledge gained on other modules in the MA in Interdisciplinary Japanese Studies and acquiring an in-depth knowledge of a more specialist area of research.

Japanese Art History and Cultural Heritage: Interdisciplinary Approaches 20 credits

Japanese art history is a dynamic and innovative research field, exemplary within the context of local art histories. This intellectual excellence can be attributed to the unique academic constellation that informs research on Japanese art, concentrated around two main fields: art history and areas studies. Japanese art scholarship thus benefits from the synergies of employing both visual and regional expertise. In particular, through its strong relation to area studies, art history of Japan is drawn to interdisciplinary cooperation and dialogue. This course is designed to make students aware of the benefits and possibilities of exploring Japanese art from an interdisciplinary standpoint, and to help them identify research subjects that appeal to the larger academic audiences. Focusing on art history’s connections with other research fields, from literature studies to environmental studies, this module is based on a series of case studies from pre-modern and modern Japanese art, with each session dedicated to art history’s relation to a specific discipline. This integrated approach will encourage interdisciplinary discussion and collaborations, while addressing visual material in a new and innovative way. This course brings together academic expertise of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures, the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities, and visual resources in the collection of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.

Japanese Literature 20 credits

Modern Japanese literature, like all modern global literatures, is a lived discourse which connects to, generates, and is enmeshed within a vast cultural matrix of visual and performing arts, a matrix which circumscribes every aspect of our consumer culture. This matrix is expansive, transcending the boundaries both of the nation state and of given historical time periods, through its multiplicity of overlapping (post)modern concerns and obsessions: the creation of a nation state; nationalism; colonialism and postcolonialism; proletarian uprisings; war; writing the self; feminism; sadomasochism; body modification; nuclear catastrophe; and homelessness (to name but a few). Yet, as something which is encountered through the body, it is also localised, time-specific, and personal. This module aims to reconcile these two interpretive positions by reading literary and theoretical texts alongside visual and performance arts and thus exploring how a written text may invoke, and partake of, different cultures, schools of thought, and modes of expression; and how it might depart from them.The module will give you a comprehensive understanding of the major discourses which have informed Japanese literary trends through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; an awareness of the local and international artistic and socio-political discourses in which a given text is implicated; and an ability to analyse, discuss and write about the various key themes, tropes and aesthetic forms that characterise modern Japanese literature. You do not need knowledge of the Japanese language as all texts studied in class will be in English; and there is no requirement for you to have studied Japanese literature or society. Final assessment will take the form of a 5,000-word critical essay on a relevant literary text, or texts, of your choice.

The course may include reading and discussion of the following:

  • The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu
  • ‘The Tattooer’ by Tanizaki Jun’ichirō
  • ‘A Floral Pageant’ by Okamoto Kanokoi
  • The Woman with the Flying Head and Other Stories by Kurahashi Yumiko
  • ‘Rabbits’ and other short stories by Kanai Mieko
  • Norwegian Wood by Murakami Haruki
  • Snakes and Earrings by Kanehara Hitomi
  • Miss Ice Sandwich by Kawakami Mieko
  • Real World by Natsuo Kirino
  • Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri

Researching Japan 40 credits

This module will provide an introduction to research skills and resources necessary for undertaking postgraduate research about Japan. The module will be convened by Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) and organised with the support of the Centre for Japanese Studies (CJS), located in the Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities (IIH). This compulsory core module will include units offered by all Japan-related UEA and SISJAC academic staff. There will be a significant amount of teaching time devoted to dissertation preparation. Each week is organized around a key text, theory, or movement in Japanese studies. Significant works in the field will provide case studies around which we develop our understanding of the opportunities offered by interdisciplinary engagement with Japan.

Constructing Japanese Heritage 20 credits

This module will critically assess how ‘Japan’ is both constructed and represented through its heritage. You will encounter the major works on Japanese heritage, develop a familiarisation with key terms and concepts, notably through a framework of tangible and intangible heritage. Each week case studies will take us all around the Japanese archipelago and beyond, as we explore how Japanese history and identities become entangled with politics, economics and international relations. You will engage with a variety of sources, including journal articles, books, and digital publications.

“This course is designed for someone who wants to develop their ideas beyond Japanese Studies.”

Dr Matsuba Ryoko, Senior Digital Humanities Officer

Applications open for 2022

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