SOAS University of London

Japan & Korea Section, Department of East Asian Languages & Culture

Modern Japanese Literature (PG)

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2021/2022
FHEQ Level:
Taught in:
Term 1
This module will cover literary writings from 1868 to the present day. The texts will be used to discuss the wider social and economic developments in modern Japan. Topics will address the distinct social and economic context of Japan that led to a very modern literary articulation of the relationship between people and their environment. An important question to be addressed is whether modern Japanese literary forms can be attributed mainly to the introduction of Western paradigms, or to a more native-based literary and cultural set of circumstances. Students will read background critical and theoretical writings from both Japanese and non-Japanese perspectives, and they will consider links between literary style and cultural context through a close reading of diverse literary texts.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

The module aims to provide students with good background knowledge of specific aspects of modern Japanese society through a close analysis of its literature. In addition, it familiarizes students with a number of critical and theoretical approaches useful in any reading of literature. Student presentations will also give students greater confidence in presenting their ideas in a public forum.


Total of 10 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week in lectures.

Method of assessment

Essay of 2000 words (textual analysis or reaction paper) due on day 5, week 9 of the term in which the course is taught (40%); essay of 2500 words (research paper), due on day 1, week 1 of the following term (50%); a 15-20 minute oral presentation on their second essay topic, with a handout summarising the main points (10%).

Suggested reading

The reading list will be made available from the convenor at the beginning of the module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules