Week 2: Setting up websites and early historical Japan

Check you have completed your week 1 assignments by the start of class!

NOTE about PDF access: temporarily PDFs are hosted on Canvas, due to a technical issue with my webspace.

Tue 1/21: Setting up websites!

Bring your laptop or other large screen device to help set up your own website (Bergbuilds domain).

  • If you already have a site, please come, we will cover some other things as well!
  • We will gather in our classroom (ETT 204) and walk over to the Hive as a group, and remain there for the entire session.
  • Post questions, queries and musings in the Pad

Thu 1/23: Myths, and early contacts with China

  • Post questions, queries and musings in the Pad
  • Slides (Gdrive link)
  • Read: Textbook: Varley, pp. 7-18.
  • Read: Primary source: Tsunoda, Ryūsaku, Wm. Theodore De Bary, and Donald Keene, eds. Sources of Japanese Tradition. Introduction to Oriental Civilizations. New York: Columbia University Press, 1964. (PDF, Canvas link)
        • Sources from China describing early Japan, starting p. 4; I included the editor’s introduction; this may be useful if the primary source translation doesn’t make much sense.
        • Questions to ponder:
              • How could the Chinese historians have obtained this information?
              • How would you describe this information? (genre, type, contents…?)
              • What value has this information? For the Chinese of the third, fourth and fifth century? For us in the present?
              • What values did the Japanese hold in this early period?
              • What do you learn about the Chinese from these texts?
  • Read: Primary source: Shirane, Haruo. Traditional Japanese Literature: An Anthology, Beginnings to 1600. Abridged ed. Translations from the Asian Classics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. (PDF, Canvas link)
        • pp. 15-21: These are the opening pages of the Kojiki, containing the widely known foundation myths.
        • Questions to ponder:
              • Why look at myths in a history course?
              • When was this text written?
              • What effect does the author seek to produce in readers?
              • What effect has the text produced since the time it was written? In other words: did the text have consequences in the world?
  • Optional extra: primary source: Singer, Kurt. The Life of Ancient Japan: Selected Contemporary Texts Illustrating Social Life and Ideals Before the Era of Seclusion. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2014. (PDF, Canvas link)
        • pp. 37-42: This is a brief selection from the Nihongi, with extracts for the period 319 CE- 415. This document gives you an insight in how the Japanese created their own historical records after the Chinese model.