Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM001N (AF:384115 AR:211884)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
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This is one of the characterizing subjects within the "Japan" curriculum of the graduate course in "Lingue e Culture dell'Asia e dell'Africa Mediterranea".
The course contributes to the attainment of the teaching goals of the graduate course in the area of language skills and includes also the more specific goals of the cultural and humanities areas.
The main objectives of the course are: 1) to acquire a foundational knowledge of Japanese premodern literature’s genres, literary techniques, and historical development; 2) to develop critical thinking skills through textual, historical, and socio-cultural analysis, through a variety of activities including close reading, class discussion, and longer written analyses; 3) to gain competencies in situating literature in its socio-cultural, political, ideological,
and historical context, and in critically assessing the relationship between works of literature produced in different periods; 4) to acquire useful tools to conduct bibliographic research and work independently on different topics of Japanese premodern literature ; 5) to learn how to write an academic essay.
Knowledge and understanding:
- to know and understand the main authors and works of Japanese premodern literature
- to know and understand concepts and tools from the fields of literary criticism and historiography
- to deepen the knowledge and understanding of historical contexts through the analysis of literary texts
- to know useful tools to conduct independently bibliographic research

Applying knowledge and understanding:
- to analyze and interpret literary texts by using concepts and tools from the fields of literary criticism and historiography
- to critically apply concepts from literary historiography to the historical period studied in the course
- to use bibliographic references in different languages (included Japanese)
- to conduct new and interdisciplinary researches

Making judgements:
- to produce critical judgments on the textual and historical-literary phenomena that are part of the program
- to subject various types of sources (academic and creative texts) to critical examination
- to develop original and innovative theories on the topics introduced during the lessons

- to express one's opinion in an effective way
- to re-elaborate and express in an effective way the opinions of other people
- to write independently an academic essays on Japanese premodern literature
- to analyze and translate texts written in Classical Japanese

Lifelong learning skills:
- to know how to conduct bibliographic research
- to know how to critically integrate the study of different materials (notes, slides, manuals, creative texts, academic articles)
- to be able to read and re-elaborate in a synthetic way materials written in different languages
- to refine one's ability to use the online teaching platform
- to know how to write an academic essay in an effective way
A solid knowledge of Japanese political and social history from the X to XII century. Good command of classical and modern Japanese.
This course through close readings of Sarashina Diary (Sarashina nikki, XI c.) and other works written by women in the same historical period will explore the literature of memory and autobiography— how Japanese women writers across the historical and cultural spectrum have written of themselves— their experiences, their relationships, their world. Our aim will be to appreciate the representation of gender, the ideas of love and romance, the education and the moral values of women lived in the XI century Japan in order to prove how these aspects are conditioned by intersecting social, cultural, religious and political factors.
Students will be expected to develop translation skills (expecially from modern and classical Japanese) and sharpen their ability to apply philological and critical arguments to selected pieces of Sarashina Diary. They will also learn how to conduct bibliographic research and how to write a brief academic essay on the topics discussed during the lessons. For this purpose the teacher will explain how to use several databases and websites of national and international libraries. Teacher will also guide students to the gradual process of writing academic essays and to the correct use of editorial rules.
- Ambros Barbara (2015). Women in Japanese religion. New York: New York University Press.
- Arntzen Sonja, Ito Moriyuki (a cura di) (2014). The Sarashina Diary: A woman's life in eleventh century Japan. New York: Columbia University Press.
- Copeland Rebecca, L., Ramirez-Christensen Esperanza (a cura di) (2001). The Father and Daughter Plot: Japanese literary women and the law of the father. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
- Faure Bernard (2003). The power of denial. Buddhism, purity, and gender. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Fukuya Toshiyuki (2015). Sarashina nikki zenchūshaku. Tokyo: Kadokawa gakugei.
- Fukuya Toshiyuki, Wada Ritsuko (a cura di) (2020). Sarashina nikki jōraku no ki sennen. Tokyo: Musashino shoin.
- Maurizi Andrea (a cura di) (2012). Spiritualità ed etica nella letteratura del Giappone premoderno. Torino: UTET.
- Negri Carolina (a cura di) (2006). Le memorie della dama di Sarashina. Venezia: Marsilio Editori.
- Pandey Rajyashree (2016). Perfumed sleeves and tangled hair. Body, women, and desire in medieval Japanese narratives. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
- Sarra Edith (1999). Fiction of Femininity: Literary invention of gender in Japanese court women's memoirs. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Shirane Haruo, Suzuki Tomi (eds.) (2000). Inventing the Classics. Modernity, National Identity, and Japanese Literature, Stanford: Stanford University Press.
- Wallace John R. (2005 ). Objects of Discourse. Memoirs by women of Heian Japan. Ann Arbor: Center for Japanese Studies. The University of Michigan.
The achievement of the objectives of the course will be verified as follows:
1) Evaluation of a short essay (max 3000 words, 50% of the final mark) focusing on the analysis of one of the topics discussed during the lessons. The essay will be submitted one week before the oral exam and will follow the editorial roles explained by the teacher.
2) Evaluation of an interview (50% of the final mark) which aims to verify students' knowledge of the textual references and critical scholarship of the field included in the section "referral texts" of the syllabus. Students will be also expected to prove their ability to analyze and translate a selection of pieces from literary works in Classical Japanese.
Frontal Lessons with Power Point presentations
written and oral
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 23/01/2023