History 162, Spring 2004, SMA 215


Ruth Dunnell
Seitz 4, x5323
Office hours: Tues 3-4, Wed. 10-noon, Fri 10-11 am, 2-3 pm or by appointment.

In this class we will trace the important socio-economic, political, and cultural developments that climaxed in the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shoguns in the late 16th-early 17th centuries. The Tokugawa "Peace" (ca. 1615-1868) laid the stage for Japan's remarkable transformation in the modern era. We will read and discuss a variety of primary and secondary sources, watch some films, and become familiar with early Japanese views of their society and with modern interpretations of its development.

Course Objectives
1) To gain an understanding of historical process and what shapes it--the interplay of events, the transitions between historical periods, the particular Japanese solutions to the universal problems of livelihood, power, and self-fulfillment, and the logic of the dominant cultural patterns which emerged from those solutions.

2) To expose students to a culture significantly different from their own as a way to understand and appreciate human diversity, and as a way to see the self in the mirror of others. The challenge is multiple: overcoming barriers of time, space, and language (=culture) to find meaning; learning that time, space and language are relative, not fixed, entities; learning their "logic."

3) To develop the analytical reading and writing skills necessary to accomplish the above: How to read and listen to the voices on the page as well as in the classroom, how to ask questions and compose an essay or an argument (a set of related thoughts with a beginning and a conclusion and a point).

Table of Contents

Course Requirements & Texts Suggested Topics for Reports
Weekly Schedule Research & Presentation Guidelines
Map Exercise Writing Guidelines
Essay Guidelines List of ERES Readings
Library Resources Evaluation of Research Presentation


Course Requirements (out of 1000 points total)

Essays 50% Two essays, 6-8 pages each, due 2/27 and in last class. @250 pts = 500 pts
Weekly Exercises 30% Based on assigned readings, done in or outside of class; marked pass (25 pts), pass plus (30 pts) or pass minus (15 pts). You must be in class to get credit for these exercises. Best 10 @300 pts
Class Presentation 15% On a topic of your choosing, 10 minutes. @150 pts
Map Exercise 5% Due 2/13. @50 pts
Attendance Required Each absence beyond the second unexcused absence will knock 10 points from final total.

1. Essays:
One analyzing suggested themes in Genji and Heike. Due Friday Feb. 27, by 4 pm.
One in response to questions handed out; due in the last class May 6.
Essay #1 rewrites will be encouraged for all, required for those scoring below 180 pts.
Writing guidelines follow below. Do come consult with me in drafting your essays.

2. Weekly exercises:
Short guided assignments focused on class readings to be completed in class or at home for submission in class. These short writing exercises will include brief analyses of documents in response to questions, quizzes, etc. You must attend class to receive credit for this work. Each exercise will be marked pass (25 pts), pass plus (30 pts), or pass minus (15 pts). There will be at least 10 of these; if more, only the highest 10 scores will be counted.

3. Class Presentation:
On a topic you choose from a list of suggested topics, in consultation with me. You will sign up for a presentation date when you come meet with me. Your presentation should be about 10 minutes. See guidelines below. You may work in teams of 2, or individually.

4. Map exercise: To be handed out in class. Due: Friday Feb. 13.

5. Attendance: ATTENDANCE IS REQUIRED. More than two unexcused absences will result in a lower grade (10 points deducted for each missed day beyond the second absence). Excused absences refer to those documented by the Health Clinic (your name appears on their weekly list) or an authorized college official in writing to me. No weekly exercise can be made up without official documentation.

Disabilities: If you have a disability that you feel might affect your participation in this class, please notify me as soon as possible and also identify yourself to Erin Salva, Coordinator of Disability Services at PBX 5453 or via e?mail at SALVAE. I will make every effort to accommodate verified disabilities so that you may do your best work in this course.

Texts & Readings
The following books may be purchased at the Bookstore; all are also on Reserve at the Library:

Conrad Totman, Japan before Perry: A Short History
Helen McCullough, trans, Genji & Heike
Donald Keene, Chushingura, The Treasury of Loyal Retainers
Katsu Kokichi, Musui's Story, The Autobiography of a Tokugawa Samurai

Additional readings will be found on ERES. The ERES password is genji. Print out ERES readings and bring them to class! Having your copy with you in class will be necessary to complete the weekly class exercises. If I ask you to analyze a passage in the reading, and you do not have your copy with you, you are stuck! (Unless you have a photographic memory).

The assigned pages in Totman's text appears next to each major section heading in the weekly schedule below. Try to complete the Totman reading in the first week of each new section, depending on its length. You will be expected to have done this reading, and should seek clarification of obscure points, but otherwise we will not normally go over it in class. It provides background for discussing other readings, and will be amplified in lectures.


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Weekly Schedule

I. EMERGENCE OF THE STATE Totman, to p. 69.
T 1/20 Introduction: Geography & Landscape.

Hand out map exercise.

R 1/22 TH Origins of the Japanese people & impetus toward centralization.

*ERES de Bary, Sources of Japanese Tradition, 13-31.
Tale of Genji, intro & ch. 1

T 1/27 Adoption of the Chinese model.

*ERES David Lu, Sources of Japanese History, 19-35, 42-47.
Tale of Genji, intro & chs. 2-4

R 1/29 Heian Culture & Religion. Film: Classical Japan & The Tale of Genji"

*ERES Lu, 14-17; de Bary, 153-162, 184-187, 193-196;
Tale of Genji, ch. 5

T 2/3 Elites, commoners, & privatization of land & office

Tale of Genji, chs. 6-8


R 2/5 Warriors in the capital and the first shogunate.

*ERES: Margaret Fukuzawa Benton, "Hojo Masako: The Dowager Shogun," in Heroic with Grace: Legendary Women of Japan, 162-207.

T 2/10 Kamakura bakufu and gokenin system.

*ERES Carl Steenstrup, "Hojo Shigetoki's Letter of Instruction to his Son Nagatoki," Acta Orientalia 36 (1974): 417-437.
Finish Genji and start reading Tale of Heike, intro. & ch. 1-2

R 2/12 Decline of first bakufu & the Mongol invasions. Film: Medieval Japan & Buddhism in literature (1185-1600)

Tale of Heike, ch. 3

Friday 2/13 Map exercise due by 4 pm

T 2/17 The warrior code and medieval justice.

*ERES Hitomi Tonomura, "Women and Inheritance in Early Warrior Society," Comparative Studies in Society and History 32:3 (July 1990):592-623. (JSTOR)
Tale of Heike, chs. 4-5

R 2/19 The imperial restoration and the new shogunate.

Tale of Heike, chs. 6-7

III. SOCIETY IN FLUX Totman 93-132
T 2/24 Medieval religion, art and society

Student reports
Tale of Heike, chs. 8-10

R 2/26 Medieval religion, art and society.

Finish Tale of Heike

2/27 Friday: Paper on Genji & Heike due by 4 pm.

T 3/2 Provincial warriors & Muromachi politics.

*ERES Marius Jansen, "Tosa in the Sixteenth Century: The 100 Article Code of Chosokabe Motochika," in Studies in the Institutional History of Early Modern Japan, 89-114.

R 3/4 Sengoku ("Warring States") daimyo patterns of control.

Bring to class: Jansen, "Tosa in the Sixteenth Century: The 100 Article Code of Chosokabe Motochika"

Spring Break

T 3/23 Film: “Seven Samurai” (read about it in Richie, Films of Akira Kurosawa, on

R 3/25 Film: “Seven Samurai”

*ERES, Henry Smith, “The Paradoxes of the Japanese Samurai,” in Learning from Shogun, Japanese history and western fantasy, 86-98.

T 3/30 Conflict and Community in late medieval Japan.

*ERES Nagahara Keiji, “Village Communities and Daimyo Power,” in Japan in the Muromachi Age (1977), 107-123.
Submit review of "Seven Samurai"

R 4/1 Trend towards unification.

*ERES George Elison, "Hideyoshi, the Bountiful Minister," in Elison & Smith, eds., Warlords, Artists, and Commoners, 223-244.

IV. THE TOKUGAWA PEACE. Totman, 133-232
T 4/6 The bakuhan system. Film: "Tokugawa Japan (1600-1868)

Start Reading Chushingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers

R 4/8 Urbanization & Commerce

Continue reading Chushingura
Student Reports

T 4/13 Rural society

ERES *Tsuneo Sato, “Tokugawa Villages and Agriculture,” in Tokugawa Japan, The Social and Economic Antecedents of Modern Japan, pp. 37-62.

R 4/15 The taming of the samurai in life & art.

Finish Chushingura: The Treasury of Loyal Retainers
Student Reports

T 4/20 Popular Culture

Student Reports
Start reading Musui’s Story

R 4/22 Popular Culture.

Student Reports
Continue reading Musui’s Story

T 4/27 Intellectual trends

*ERES Tsunoda, Sources of Japanese Tradition, vol. 2, 9-15, 37-43,
Student Reports

R 4/29 Japanese & the outside world

Finish Musui’s Story
*ERES Tsunoda, Sources of Japanese Tradition, vol. 2, 48-56, 88-96

T 5/4 Tokugawa as early-modern Japan

Student Reports

R 5/6 Summing Up

Final essays due

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Map Exercise

On a base map of Japan (supplied by instructor or you), identify and locate (label) the following:
On a separate sheet (or on a copy of this page), identify the places under “Specific” below as town, lake, mountain, temple (what kind?), province, region, site of famous historical event, etc. Put your name on both papers and turn in on Friday Feb. 13 by 4 pm.

  • General:
    Names of the four main islands of Japan
    Neighboring islands and countries
    Main bodies of water around the Japanese islands
  • Specific:
    Mt. Hiei
    Mt. Koya
    Lake Biwa

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Essay Guidelines

Guide lines for Essay One

DUE: Friday Feb. 27, by 4 pm. Late papers will be marked down 8 pts. per 24 hours late. If you require an extended deadline, it must be negotiated with me at least 48 hours in advance. Since you will have an opportunity to rewrite, you should try very hard to turn this essay in on time. It is unlikely that I will be able to return them to you before spring break begins, although I will try. I will be happy to go over your essay in progress with you in person (you will have to come in and bring it to show me!), not by e-mail, please.

FORM:  6-8 pages (minimum of 1500 & maximum of 2000 words). Typed, double-spaced, 2" margins, 12 pt font. Use only class texts and brief text citations: e.g., (Genji 143) or (Heike 289). Please do not go out and find other sources to bolster your argument. This essay should reflect your own voice, your own thinking, and your own interpretation of this text. Your understanding and interpretation will be shaped by other class readings, lectures, films and discussions. But you do not need to cite those other sources unless you quote a relevant statistic. You should cite or quote from Genji and Heike. Use quotations sparingly to support or develop your argument or interpretation. Do not cite whole paragraphs and leave them dangling on a page without commentary!


Based on an analysis of the classical and medieval tales, *Genji and Heike, discuss three aspects of the medieval transition that marks the end of the classical era and birth of the warrior age in the 12th century. In addition, discuss Japanese attitudes towards these aspects of change, and towards change (or history) in general, as reflected in these tales.

The following breaks down the two aspects of this topic in ways that I hope you will find useful. In composing your essay, you do not need to create two separate sections to deal with these questions. You can weave them together, or discuss one first and then the other, bringing them together in your conclusion.

What were the features of this transition in politics (e.g., relationship of court and countryside), social relationships (e.g., the social basis of political power, kinship), economic developments (e.g., inheritance, land tenure, sources of livelihood in commerce & agriculture, etc.), religion and culture (broadly defined)? What was changing and how can we trace change in these works? You cannot write about everything, so choose three features or aspects of the late classical/early medieval transition to focus on that seem well represented in the two works.

How do these two pieces of literature treat the particular characteristics of Japanese society that you selected as indices of change? What attitudes do the people in the tales (or the narrators) reveal toward these changes in particular, and what broader attitude towards change or history does this suggest?

*The Tale of Genji reflects the height of classical court culture in the early 11th century, so serves as a baseline from which to measure or mark change, yet it also contains insights into ongoing trends that will culminate in the 12th century transition.

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Library Resources for Students:

N.b. Class texts: maps, indices, bibliographies, footnotes

In KC Library Reference:
E. Papinot, Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan (1923) DS833 P3 1948
Louis Frédéric, Japan Encyclopedia (2002) DS821 .F73 2002
Kodansha Encyclopedia of Japan (1
983) DS805 .K633 1983
Kokudo Chirin, The national atlas of Japan (1990) G2355 .K63 1990

On KC Library Reserve:
Martin Colcutt, Cultural Atlas of Japan
Japan: the shaping of Daimyo culture (Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art)
Ivan Morris, The world of the shining prince; court life in Ancient Japan
Chie Nakane and Shinzabur Oishi, Tokugawa Japan : the social and economic antecedents of modern Japan (1990)
Wm. Theodore de Bary, Sources of Japanese tradition, vol. 1 (2001)
Ryusaka Tsunoda, et al, eds, Sources of Japanese tradition, vol. 2 (1964)
David Lu, Sources of Japanese History, vol. 1 (& 2)
John W. Hall, et al. eds, Studies in the institutional history of early modern Japan (1968)
___________, ed., Medieval Japan (1974)
Chieko Irie Mulhern, ed, Heroic with Grace: Legendary Women of Japan (1991)
Andrew C. Gerstle, 18th century Japan: Culture and Society (1989)
Nishiyama Matsunosuke, Edo Culture, Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan (1997) [on reserve for ASIA 490]
Donald Richie, The films of Akira Kurosawa ("Seven Samurai," 97-108).

On KC Library Shelves:
31 volume set Heibonsha survey of Japanese art. N section; check Consort for specific topic of each volume, as they are not shelved together. See volume 31, General index, N7350 .B45 1980. Covers calligraphy, painting, ceramics, gardening, prints, et al handcrafts.

Recommended websites
http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/eastasia/eastasiasbook.html#Religious Traditions

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Suggested Topics for Research Reports

  • Heian Japan:
    Women writers
    Clothing & textile production
    Paper-making (letter writing)
    poetry & anthologies
    legends & myths
  • Religion:
    Buddhist temples (Toji, Hoganji, etc.)
    monastic life
    priests at court
    Buddhist portraiture (e.g., of Zen masters)
    Shinto rituals
    Ise Shrine
    pilgrimage to Ise or other shrines/temples
    Mt. Hiei
    Saicho & Tendai teachings
    Kukai & esoteric teachings
    Honen/Shinran & Amida Pure Land teachings
    Nichiren & Lotus teachings
    Dogen & Zen teachings
    mountain ascetics (yamabushi)
    fox fairies
  • Samurai culture
    armor/swords, castles, etc.
    ethics & codes (education)
    samurai & sex
    female samurai (wives, daughters, etc.)
    samurai in literature & art
  • General
    pottery & ceramics
    gardening & bonzai (nature)
    poetry, anthologies
    food & cooking (making tofu, sake, etc.)
    painting (secular)
    courtly dance, Noh
    popular entertainments: Kabuki, bunraku, story-telling, sumo,
    Yoshiwara (pleasure quarters)
    agricultural technology
    marriage, reproduction & family (rural vs. urban)
    population growth & control
    environment: attitudes, policies
  • Politics & government
    law: wills, codes, adjudication
    Tokugawa legal system
    Christianity in Japan
    village administration/self-government
    imperial line
    uprisings & riots (15th-19th cc.)
  • People & places
    Oda Nobunaga
    Ieyasu Tokugawa
    Ihara Saikaku
    Edo, Kyoto, Kobe, Osaka, Sakai, Nagasaki

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Research & Presentation guidelines

The list of topics suggests the range of materials available as well as the range of subjects. The history of material culture is particularly richly documented for Japan. When you have identified a topic you find interesting, make an appointment to consult with me about feasibility and sources. Do this no later than 2-3 weeks prior to your presentation date.

Next, you should: 1) try to focus the topic very specifically, keeping your audience and time constraints in mind, 2) try to use a primary source (this will help you focus), 3) be sure to analyze the origin & likely audience of your materials & sources carefully, and 4) try to make your presentation lively and historical, which means locating it as precisely as possible in real time and place, and being sensitive to change over time and from place to place. Your presentation should give us a sense of how you have managed these four tasks, which will provide the foundation for my evaluation of your report. You must submit an annotated bibliography, properly formatted, of your sources on the day in which you give your presentation. Use the bibliographic style laid out by Kate Turabian, A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations, of which the library has copies at the information desk. Annotated means that for each source, you have provided a brief analytical commentary. How many sources you use depends on your topic; we will discuss this during the consultation.

Whenever possible, use visual aids and/or handouts: slides from the Slide Library, images from books or the internet, books, charts or maps, actual objects, maps, etc. All such items should be properly identified and sourced. You may, if you like, create a powerpoint presentation, but if you do be sure to bring a laptop in case the classroom computer does not work or the network is down.

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Evaluation of Research Presentation




Overall Evaluation:

1. Topic focus and consideration of audience (timing):

2. Use of primary source:

3. Analysis or awareness of origin of materials used to prepare report:

4. Liveliness & historicity (vividness, sensitivity to change over time):

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Writing Guidelines

1. Give your paper a TITLE: e.g., "Nature as a Mirror of Change in Genji and Heike"

2. INTRODUCTION AND CONCLUSION: i.e, your first and last paragraphs. They introduce and sum up the points or questions analyzed in your paper.

3. PARAGRAPHS: They organize your ideas and make them readable. Divide the text on a page into at least 2 or 3 paragraphs (pleasing to the reader's eye).
Start each paragraph with a TOPIC SENTENCE that introduces the topic of that paragraph. End each paragraph with a sentence that serves as a logical TRANSITION to the next paragraph and topic.

Reading your topic sentences alone, I should be able to grasp clearly the main points or argument of your paper. In paragraphs, develop the point introduced in the topic sentence and demonstrate or illustrate it, where appropriate, with an illuminating quotation from your source (but not the textbook, in most cases, unless it quotes primary sources).

4. QUOTATIONS: Be selective– select short quotes. Indent and single-space (block) quotations longer than 3 lines. YOU MUST IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF A QUOTATION. Put source name (a shortened form) & page number in parantheses after the quotation, or at the end of the sentence. A good way to introduce a quote is to identify the speaker whose words you are quoting.

6. Learn the difference between a NOVEL, MEMOIR, AUTOBIOGRAPHY, SHORT STORY, and ANTHOLOGY. It will not always be easy to distinguish among these forms.

7. In making COMPARISONS, try to choose comparable units to compare: Comparing 1860s Japan to 1760s US, or to 1860s China, usually makes more sense than to the US today.

8. Modern doesn't just mean "up to date" or "convenient." As a historical marker, it designates an era when a people were or are making (or have largely made) the transition to a new way of life. Not everything in the modern age is "up to date," "convenient" or "rational." Yet it may still be a feature or hallmark of modernity as we have come to define it.

9. "Western," the "West"(or "Eastern"/ "East"): What we you really mean here? We all use it, but think about it. Contemporary American society or ethical/cultural standards? All of Europe? What was early 20th c. Sicilian practice? Try to be as specific as possible.

10. Importance of Verbs: The most Critical Part of Speech for Historians!
Please shun the PASSIVE VOICE whenever possible, and use active voice verbs: Tell us who did it!

"They were given...." "They received...." or "The landlords gave them...."
"They were taught..." "They learned...." or "More experienced women taught them...."

Go to this website if you do not understand why historians shun the passive voice:
Eliminating passive voice

Lastly, if you start a sentence: "There is/are/were...." you can probably find another way to phrase it, using a concrete subject and strong active verb. Especially avoid starting sentences this way repeatedly.

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List of ERES & JSTOR readings

(In the order in which they appear in the schedule):

Wm. Theodore de Bary, Sources of Japanese Tradition (vol. 1), 13-31.

David Lu, Sources of Japanese History, 19-35, 42-47

Lu, 14-17; de Bary, 153-162, 184-187, 193-196

Margaret Fukuzawa Benton, "Hojo Masako: The Dowager Shogun," in Heroic with Grace: Legendary Women of Japan, 162-207.

Carl Steenstrup, "Hojo Shigetoki's Letter of Instruction to His Son Nagatoki," Acta Orientalia 36 (1974): 417-437.

Hitomi Tonomura, "Women and Inheritance in Early Warrior Society," Comparative Studies in Society and History 32:3 (July 1990):592-623. (JSTOR)

Marius Jansen, "Tosa in the Sixteenth Century: The 100 Article Code of Chosokabe Motochika," in Studies in the Institutional History of Early Modern Japan, 89-114.

Henry Smith, "The Paradoxes of the Japanese Samurai," in Learning from Shogun, Japanese history and western fantasy, 86-98.

Nagahara Keiji, “Village Communities and Daimyo Power,” in Japan in the Muromachi Age (1977), 107-123.

George Elison, "Hideyoshi, the Bountiful Minister," in Elison & Smith, eds, Warlords, Artists, and Commoners, 223-244.

Tsuneo Sato, “Tokugawa Villages and Agriculture,” in Tokugawa Japan, The Social and Economic Antecedents of Modern Japan, 37-62.

Ryusaku Tsunoda, Sources of Japanese Tradition (vol. 2), 9-15, 37-43, 48-56, 88-96.

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April 1, 2004