Comparative Studies of Japanese and Chinese Cultures ab

LecturerJie HU, Professor
DepartmentGraduate School of Languages and Cultures, 2012 Spring & Fall
Recommended for:Graduate School of Language and Cultures Department of Japanese Language and Culture students (a,bそれぞれ2単位週1回 全15回)

Course Contents

We will explore the relationship between Ancient Japan and foreign cultures via different phenomena including written characters, political system, and literary representation of Ancient Japan. We will mainly discuss cultural negotiation issues of Ancient Japan and Ancient China. Besides simply revealing differences between the cultures, we learn how to observe the processes of cultural flow, conflict, and fusion.

I change topics every year, so in this year (from April of 2012 to March of 2013), through both first semester and second semester, the theme will center on both Kanshi (classical Chinese poetry) and Waka (classical Japanese poetry) concerning women. The participants read original texts and secondary research related to the topic before each class, learn the methods and ideas, and analyze the literary work. The aim of this course is to master reading comprehension, the ability to propose questions, and the ability to consider theoretically by reading secondary research and original texts.

Key Features

  • As most participants are foreign students, and about half of the participants' majors differ from the class, I attempt to create a comfortable class atmosphere in order to understand the topic and content easily, and to start discussion without difficulty. Before discussing each topic, I will give a brief explanation and will prepare some question prompts.
  • I will distribute original texts and secondary research related to it via e-mail one week before class, for your convenience. Before each class members must individually prepare for class, understand the contents, and summarize key points of the secondary research.
  • In my previous classes, I primarily asked the students to read secondary research, and attempted to give them a visual image using video clips and power point slides. I intend to give my students first hand knowledge of "utagaki" by using video of Southern Chinese Ethnic groups "utagaki," which are peasant ritual gatherings of men and women who dance, sing, and recite poetry.
  • In order to progress into discussion from the question prompts, we will discuss using the Socratic method (open ended questions), and summarize our discussion at the end of class. For their end of semester reports, many students treat the themes that are discussed and proposed in class.


Prints will be distributed in class.

Course Requirements

I hope students take both first semester class A and second semester class B in succession. I will distribute references to you beforehand, students must prepare before class and attend class.

Course Schedule

Semester I (a)
Session Contents
1 Introduction
2 Origin of Waka:"Utagaki"
3 "Sōmon"(love poems) of Manyōshū (Japan's oldest anthology of poems)
4 Takahashi Mushimaro's poems, based on Japanese legend
5 Kanshi and Waka about Tanabata (the star festival on 7th of July)
6 Summary of first semester

Semester II (b)
Session Contents
1 Introduction
2 Otomo no Sakanoue no Iratsume "Grudge song"
3 The relation between Waka and Kanshi about love in the Shinsen manyōshū
4 Waka based on "Chōgonka" (Epic Chinese poem)
5 "Keienshi" (Kanshi about women's sadness) and Waka by "Women Waiting"
6 Summary of second semester


  1. Attendance (30%)
  2. Class Participation (20%)
  3. Final Report (50%)

Last updated

May 16, 2020