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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. The course is designed to provide simple but important basic knowledge about the topic, and to foster micro research skills that will be directly applicable to students' future study in Japanese Studies.

Seminars take a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, with the aim of further developing students' critical skills, attitudes and visual thinking ability, using Yokai examples. Activities offer 'learning by doing' activities, including:

Observing activities - e.g. watching movies, demonstrations, theatrical performances.

Hands-on activities - e.g. Yokai graphic art, Yokai quizzes in Noh drama, appreciating picture scrolls, Yokai maths, and exploring the Yokai landscape.

Learning results will be assessed using five pieces of assessments, which are (percentages refer to weighting for the entire 20 credit course):

1. Video assignment [Yokai Challenge] (5%)
2. Collaborative reading and annotation (5%)
3. One 600-word seminar report (15%)
4. 'WebQuest' project (25%)
5. Final essay - 2,000-2,500 words (50%)
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
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 secretaryMr Iain Harrison
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