LITERATURE AND CULTURE OF ASIA: Identity in three modern Japanese novels and their films
What to do before Session 1
- Please start reading Makioka Sisters if there you have an opportunity to do so.
SESSION ONE (September 25):
- Introductory Comments
- web site
- schedule and possibly other handouts
- some comments on "identity"
- some comments on novels vs. films
- Lecture on Makioka Sisters (book)
- Begin viewing Makioka Sisters (film) 0:40
What to do before Session 2
- Hopefully you can finish reading Makioka Sisters. This will help to fully appreciate film. However the film leaves out the majority of the plot lines of the book and rearranges some event sequences.
SESSION TWO (October 2)
- Finish viewing Makioka Sisters (film) 1:40 (Wallace might not be present this day)
What to do before Session 3
- If not already finished, please finish reading Makioka Sisters for our discussion. You might consider getting started on Norwegian Wood if you have time—our only session devoted to discussing the book is on Oct. 16. Also, I am considering adding a couple of Murakami short stories, so that makes next week's reading a bit crowded.
SESSION THREE (October 9)
- Discussion of Makioka Sisters (the book, with discussion kept separate from the film)
- Discussion of Makioka Sisters (the film, but with reference to the book if the discussion heads in that direction)
- Some introductory comments on Norwegian Wood
What to do before Session 4
- Complete reading Norwegian Wood if possible; it will help with the discussion and definitely with understanding the film. It is possible that I will suggest additional readings at this time. I am considering making available one or two short stories.
SESSION FOUR (October 16)
- Further comments by me and then discussion of Norwegian Wood (book) and other short stories
- Begin viewing Norwegian Wood (film) 0:20
What to do before Session 5
- Please complete reading Norwegian Wood. I am also considering adding academic criticism of the novel and/or film as supplementary readings.
SESSION FIVE (October 23)
- Finish viewing Norwegian Wood (film) 1:13 (Wallace might not be present this day)
What to do before Session 6
- We will discuss Norwegian Wood at the beginning of the session then I will make introductory comments about Ghost in the Shell. Of course it will be helpful if you have completely finished Norwegian Wood. Ghost in the Shell is a graphic novel and I think many of you will find it is far from easy reading unless you have already had exposure to this genre. You might want to get started early. I will also very likely have some additional support reading available and doing that reading first might help with making sense of the novel. Also, you need not worry about every little details; some details of the novel are there just to help create the sci-fi feel of the work and won't figure anywhere else in the story.
SESSION SIX (October 30)
- Discussion of Norwegian Wood (film, with reference to book if you want)
- Lecture on Akira (the first in this genre, not assigned), Ghost in the Shell (book & film) with perhaps some more general comments on this genre
What to do before Session 7
- Please finish reading Ghost in the Shell (book). Also, you might consider doing some of the supplemental reading I've noted.
SESSION SEVEN (November 6)
- View in full Ghost in the Shell (film) 1:23
- Discuss Ghost in the Shell (book and film)
What to do before Session Eight
- There is no reading to do for the final session. However, if you might consider to prepare ahead of time comments or questions on any of the books or films or identity more generally. I will make some comments about identity as in these works and will make some comparative comments about the six or so works we have covered, but most of the session will be open discussion. If you email me ahead of time about very specific questions, I might be able to research the topic and bring in information for you. My email is at the bottom of the page.
SESSION EIGHT (November 13)
- If we have not finished our discussion of Ghost in the Shell yet, we will complete that first
- Concluding comments, open discussion and so forth
Many of the materials for this class should be available through the Museum Store. I have not ordered, nor do I expect you to purchase, the film versions of the books. Norwegian Wood (film) has premiered in the U.S. but is not yet available for purchase.
Makioka Sisters (book): Jun'ichiro Tanizaki. The Makioka Sisters. Edwin G. Seidensticker, translator. There are lots of print editions of this book, and electronic editions as well. Just be sure to get the translation by Seidensticker. This isn't hard. I'm not even sure there is a translation in English other than his. It was completed in 1957, so lots of publishers have printed this book over the years.
Makioka Sisters (film): Kon Ichikawa. The Makioka Sisters. The film came out in 1983 but the Criterion Collection edition came out in 2011. This is definitely the version you should purchase if you want to own this film. They remastered it and the colors and definition are far superior to the originally available commercial version.
Norwegian Wood (book): Haruki Murakami. Norwegian Wood. Jay Rubin, translator. This is widely available.
Norwegian Wood (film): This film is not yet released for purchase in America.
Ghost in the Shell (book): Shirow Masamune (sometimes listed as Masamune Shirow). Ghost in the Shell. This is not easy to locate. Availability issues: A manga specialist might have it, or be able to order it. Version issues: Ghost in the Shell is a commercial franchise with films, TV series (called Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex), books and video games. It is tricky to buy the correct item and, online, they are sometimes mislabeled. Further, the book was reissued by Kodansha. It is a beautiful edition, visually, but has censured some of the more explicit sexual material. The Kodansha version is more available and less expensive. The original version is a collector's item and will be very expensive. Here is the Kodansha information, as listed on Amazon:
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Kodansha Comics (October 13, 2009)
Ghost in the Shell (film): There are multiple DVDs and such with this title. The film we are viewing is called Ghost in the Shell 2.0. The "2.0" indicates that it is a remastered version of the original. This is a much better quality video than the original. Ghost in the Shell 2 is a different film. It is a sequel. Later there was added Ghost in the Shell 1.5, which inserts narrative information between the original and "2". Ghost in the Shell 2 is also a beautiful film; in terms of animation it is almost awe-inspiring and I considered using it for this class. However, Ghost in the Shell 2.0 covers more of the content of the novel we read, and is, by just a little bit, more on-point with regard to our theme.