JAPN 254(F) Japanese Literature and The End of the World (Same as Comparative Literature 264)*

From the endemic warfare of the medieval era to the atomic bombing and the violent explosion of technology in the twentieth century, the end of the world is an idea which has occupied a central place in almost every generation of Japanese literature. Paradoxically, the spectacle of destruction has given birth to some of the most beautiful, most moving, and most powerfully thrilling literature in the Japanese tradition. This course examines the literature of disaster in order to investigate the link between destruction and literary creation. Texts may be drawn from medieval war narratives like The Tale of the Heike; World War II fiction and films by Ibuse Masuji, Imamura Shohei, and Ichikawa Kon; fantasy and science fiction novels by Abe Kobo, Murakami Haruki and Murakami Ryu; and apocalyptic comics and animation by Oshii Mamoru, Otomo Katsuhiro and Takahata Isao. No knowledge of Japanese is necessary. All texts are translated or subtitled in English. Format: lecture/discussion. Requirements: two short papers, a midterm exam, and a final exam. No prerequisites. No enrollment limit (expected: 15). Open to all.