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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Supernatural Japan: Doing Japanology through Yokai (ASST08067)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course offers a broad introduction to Yokai (supernatural beings), from ancient times to the modern period. The course takes a 'learning by doing' approach, allowing students to experience Yokai in art, literature, and traditional theatre, and to discover the historical and cultural value of Yokai in Japanese society.
Course description This course offers a broad introduction to Yokai (supernatural beings), from ancient times to the modern period. Weekly seminars take a holistic and interdisciplinary approach and tutorials aim to further develop students' new critical skills, attitudes and visual thinking ability, using Yokai examples. The course will show how both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Japan can be used to bring new insights into the world view and beliefs of Japanese people through Yokai phenomena and their perception and cognition in a given historical period.

Tutorials provide ample opportunity to observe and experience Yokai, in order to discover the historical and cultural value of Yokai in Japanese society. These activities are organized inside and outside the classroom, including (1) Observe Activities such as watching movies, demonstrations, theatrical performances, (2) Hands-on Learning Actives include Yokai graphic art, Yokai quizzes in Noh drama, Yokai maths, such as traditional-to-modern metric conversion exercises, and exploring the ghostly hour 'ushimitsu-doki' in the Yokai landscape. These learning-by-doing fun activities offer simple but important basic knowledge and micro research skills that will be directly applicable to students' future Japanese Studies.

Learning results are assessed by participation throughout the course, with one group project, and two individual assessments including (1) a biweekly individual Learning Journal (worth 20%) that invites students to consciously reflect on their direct and personal Yokai experience to develop what they did, thought and felt during the hands-on experience, and (2) a group-based Webquest project such as a collaborative Virtual Field Trip (worth 20%) to encourage students studying in small groups to apply classroom learning experiences to a new real-life situation. The Webquest includes a specific task and background information, and links to information available on the web, which should be used to acquire knowledge. Students are responsible for linking their Webquest projects to previous class activities and learning experiences, and each group presents their debriefing report to share the final outcome of the Webquest, and (3) a final individual report (worth 50%) requiring a critical analysis of the chosen Yokai, in which students have an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to apply generalized knowledge and a critical analytical skills set (historical, conceptual, and aesthetic nature) on their favorite Yokai in art/literature/landscapes.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  32
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework

Tutorial report, including hands-on work (20%)

'Webquest group project', including Seminar participations (10%) and debriefing report/presentation (20%)

*Please note that any members of the group who do not/cannot contribute to the project during the life of the project (i.e. the period covers planning to debriefing) will be automatically given a mark of zero

1 x critical analysis of chosen Yokai in art/literature/landscapes (max. 2,000 words: worth 50%).
Feedback Students will receive formative feed-forward, feed-back during tutorial sessions.
Formal written feed-back for individual critical analysis of Yokai via LEARN.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. demonstrate a developed understanding of the Yokai lineage, and the visual representation of Yokai as a form of Japanese art.
  2. draw on and apply relevant skills and attributes (academic, professional and/or personal) in order to engage effectively with reading and interpretation of Japanese hand scrolls, emakimono.
  3. demonstrate relevant skills, reflecting on and generalization about direct and personal learning experiences, through writing individual Learning Journals regularly.
  4. demonstrate developed ability to apply generalized knowledge and a critical analytical skill-set (historical, conceptual, and aesthetic nature) on given Yokai as the social and psychological values embedded within Japanese art, literature and landscapes.
  5. evaluate and critically reflect upon the student's own approach, learning and development throughout their real-life/group project.
Reading List
Komatsu, K., Yoda, H., & Alt, M. (2017). An introduction to Yokai culture: Monsters, ghosts, and outsiders in Japanese history (First ed., Japan library (Shuppan Bunka Sangyo Shinko Zaidan)). Tokyo: Japan Publishing Industry Foundation for Culture.

Akagawa, N., & Smith, L. (2009). Intangible heritage. London: New York: Routledge.
Aston, W. (1896). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the earliest times to A. D. 697 (Transactions and proceedings of the Japan Society. Supplement ; 1). London: Pub. for the Society by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner.
Brazell, K. (1998). Traditional Japanese theater: An anthology of plays (Translations from the Asian classics). New York; Chichester: Columbia University Press.
Griffiths, D. (1998). The training of Noh actors, and the Dove (Griffiths, David, 1941- Mask. A release of acting resources; v.2). Amsterdam: Harwood Academic.
Hough, C., & Taylor, S. (2016). Methodologies in Place-name Research. In The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming (p. The Oxford Handbook of Names and Naming, Chapter 17). Oxford University Press.
Kaminishi, I. (2014). THE POLITICAL CULTURE OF A SCROLL: Jien's Appropriation of Kitano Tenjin. Ars Orientalis, 44, 111-133.
Komatsu, S. (1987). Chojujinbutsu giga (Nihon no emaki; 6). Tokyo: Chuo Koronsha.
Najita, T., & Scheiner, I. (1978). Japanese thought in the Tokugawa period, 1600-1868: Methods and metaphors. Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press.
Nash, J. (2012). Landscape in Language: Transdisciplinary Perspectives, Culture and Language Use 4. Journal of Multicultural Discourses, 7(2), 197-200.
Noma, S. (1974). Japanese costume and textile arts (First English ed., Heibonsha survey of Japanese art; v. 16). New York: Weatherhill.
Screech, T. (2012). Obtaining images: Art, production and display in Edo Japan. London: Reaktion.
Nicolae, R. (2015). Shaping darkness in hyakki yagyo emaki. Asian Studies, 3(1), 9-27.
Pinnington, Noel John, & Pinnington, Noel J. (2019). A new history of medieval japanese theatre: Noh and Kyogen from 1300 to 1600 (Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan.
Wakabayashi, H. (ß2012). The seven tengu scrolls: Evil and the rhetoric of legitimacy in medieval Japanese Buddhism. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Yanagita, K., Mayer, F., & Wakana, K. (1966). Japanese folk tales: A revised selection. Tokyo]: Tokyo News Service.
Yanagita, K. (2013). Excerpts from The Legends of Japan (1929). Review of Japanese Culture and Society, 25(25), 137-151.
Yanagita, Kunio, et al. Japanese Folk Tales: a Revised Selection. Tokyo News Service, Ltd., 1966.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Critical thinking, analytical skills, information technology, group work, aesthetic understanding
KeywordsYokai,mononoke,kami,Yokai landscape,Learning by doing,Visual/performing arts
Course organiserDr Yoko Sturt
Tel: (0131 6)50 4228
Course secretaryMrs Vivien MacNish Porter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3528
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