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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Fall 2007

ANS 320 • From Genji to Godzilla: Adaptations of the Japanese

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31560 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
ART 1.120

Course Description

In this course, we will focus on "classics" of Japanese literature, film, and theater that have engendered countless adaptations over the years. Our texts will range from the premodern classic The Tale of Genji to the postwar B-movie Godzilla, and from medieval Noh plays to contemporary manga (comic books) and anime (animated films). We will consider how and why modern artists turned to these classics" again and again throughout the centuries. The focus of our investigation will be to look at how the adaptation process is influenced by both the cultural and political identity of the artist, as well as their gender, and by fundamental differences among genres and media. The goals of this course are twofold: to become familiar with a wide range of Japanese texts, from premodern classics to contemporary literature, film, and popular culture; and to learn to think, discuss, and write critically on the topic of adaptations by considering not only their content, but also their form and their socio-historical context. This class requires no background in Japanese language, film, or history; all literature will be read in translation and all films are subtitled in English.

Grading Policy

Homework/In-class assignments: 25% 2 papers (4-5 pages with one rewrite): 50% Final Project: 15% Attendance/Participation: 10%


The Tale of Genji (ca 1000), medieval and modern Noh plays "The Lady Aoi" (Zeami Motokiyo, ca. 1400; Mishima Yukio, 1956), Masks (Enchi Fumiko, 1958), and the manga (comic book) Asakiyumemishi: Genji monogatari (Yamato Waki, 1980-93); Gojira (dir. Honda Ishiro, 1954) and Godzilla, King of the Monsters (dir. Terry O. Morse, 1956); "Kappa" (Akutagawa Ryunosuke, 1927) and The Kappa Child (Hiromi Goto, 2001); the legends of obasute, "The Oak Mountain Song" (Fukazawa Shichir_, 1956), and Ballad of Narayama (dir. Kinoshita Keisuke, 1954 and dir. Imamura Sh_hei, 1983), the kabuki play Love Suicides at Amijima (Chikamatsu Monzaemon, 1721) and the film Double Suicide (dir. Shinoda Masahiro, 1969); the US detective novel King's Ransom (Ed McBain, 1959) and the Japanese film High and Low (dir. Kurosawa Akira, 1963); the short story Grave of the Fireflies (Nosaka Akiyuki, 1967) and the anime Grave of the Fireflies (dir. Takahata Isao, 1988).


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