Book Reading and Discussion on Japanese Thoughts and Culture: Japanese Traditional Drama, Two Plays by Chikamatsu Monzaemon

Course Type: Seminar
Study Focus: KBR, VMC
Term: Fall

Teacher: HAYASE Atsushi

Course Code: JK24002

This Book Reading and Discussion course explores various aspects of Japanese thoughts and culture by reading Japanese Classics in English translation and discussing them in English.


In this academic term participants will discuss Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725)’s two /sewamono/ (“the lives of ordinary people”) plays written in his late years: /Shinju Ten no Amijima/(/The Love Suicides at Amijima/, 1721) and /Shinju Yoi Goshin/ (/Love Suicides on the Eve of the Koshin Festival/, 1722). Chikamatsu is arguably the most celebrated dramatist in Japan, who wrote many memorable and higly artistic plays for Ningyo-Joruri, or puppet drama, and Kabuki, or dance-drama, performance. Specifically, he is supposed to be the first dramatist in the world who staged common people as the protagonists of tragedies. As is often the case with his /sewamono/ plays, both /Shinju Ten no Amijima/ and /Shinju Yoi Goshin/ are based on the real incidents that happened in Chikamatsu’s lifetime.

The main purpose of this course is to provide occasions for communication between Japanese and international students, in a friendly atmosphere. By actively participating in discussions Japanese students will improve their English communication skills, and international students will deepen their understanding of Japanese culture.


Course Information

Module: Research 1-3
CATS Requirements: BA 3rd. year or above

Day/Period: Wed/5
Location: Sem. 4
Credits: 2


Course Goals

By the end of the term students should gain some basic understanding of Ningyo-Joruri and Kabuki, and become confident in talking about Japanese culture in English.

Course Schedule and Evaluation

For a detailed course schedule, please visit KULASIS.

At the end of the term students will be asked to write an essay about /Shinju Ten no Amijima/ and /Shinju Yoi Goshin/ (3,000-5,000 words). Students’ grades will be weighed according to the following scheme:
Active participation in discussion 50%
Course Essay 50%

To JDTS/MATS students: This is course can be taken as full seminar (8 ECTS) only.