Samurai, Geisha, Yakuza as Self or Other

This module challenges the foundation of human knowledge. Examining cultural icons from Japan's past and present we will unpack the assumptions, stereotypes, narrative strategies, and visualizing techniques of representing Japan. Students will probe one or more of Japan's three famous cultural icons - the samurai, the geisha, and/or the yakuza - as they appear in literature, visual and performance arts, and academic writings. By the end of the module students will not only have a richer understanding of the 'realities' behind such icons, but more significantly, they will be equipped to challenge stereotypes of Japan presented by journalism, popular culture, and the humanistic and social sciences. Ultimately such discovery will lead students to question their own knowledge of self and other. Students should refer to the module IVLE page for details of the selected icon(s) for the current semester.

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