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JPN4002 : Contemporary Japanese Animation

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Shiro Yoshioka
  • Owning School: Modern Languages
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


•       To familiarise students with the trends in contemporary academic research on anime.
•       To draw students’ attention to and deepen their understanding of the differences between academic approaches to anime in Japan and elsewhere (especially America) as well as the different ways scholars employ to reflect on Japanese culture and society in general.
•       To raise students’ awareness of anime’s potential as a text that can inform a variety of disciplines.
•       To develop students’ understanding of the history and the main genres of anime.
•       To develop students’ understanding of the history of the exportation of anime and of its acceptance outside Japan.

Outline Of Syllabus

Anime is rapidly gaining popularity as a subject of academic research in a number of disciplines. Approaches to anime, however, vary, especially between works written in English and Japanese: different films and different topics are chosen and different methodologies are employed. The most significant point to consider is the different attitudes held by Japanese and non-Japanese scholars in their approach to Japanese society and culture. Those differences, in turn, relate to differences in the disciplines associated with research of anime and related media in Japan and elsewhere.

Anime and related media provide us with a vantage point on contemporary Japanese society and culture. However, when using anime as a source for research on Japanese society and culture, it is mandatory to overcome this split, and to do so, we need to approach anime from three viewpoints: the non-Japanese (especially American) view of anime that conceives it mainly as a film text; the Japanese view that analyses it as a representation of specific social situation and thought peculiar to contemporary Japan, and finally that of the enthusiast who focus on the technical details and the history of anime as an art form. This advanced survey course begins with an overview of the history of anime, and then explores the various ways in which anime has been treated in academic research, taking cues from critical writings. Finally, we shall reflect upon the Japanese and the American critical approach to anime in order to summarise the issues raised in the course.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion41:004:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching181:0018:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1160:00160:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Each session consists of a lecture and a seminar. From the second meeting, at the end of the class, students will be provided with question(s) on topics to be discussed in the next session. Lectures which will provide the students with necessary background information to understand and discuss the topic of the session. Key critical writings in Japanese will be also explained.

In the seminar, students will have an opportunity to express their opinion on the topic of the session, based on their readings of the articles and on what they have learned from the lecture. They will be also asked to critically analyse anime as a text.

Reading references below include only the most basic materials. The full list including recommended readings and materials in Japanese will appear in module handbook distributed at the first meeting.

While the module will introduce the students to areas for which only materials in Japanese are available, the key ideas and argument in these will be explained in English in the lectures.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report1M20Week 8. 1500 word review on one of the readings of the student's choice.
Essay1M803500 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The report will give students an opportunity to practice/refresh their skills in critically reading and commenting on existing academic research on anime, a skill essential for essay writing.

The students have to write an essay on one of the topics covered in the course (e.g. History of anime, gender, internationalisation of anime). The choice of specific agenda as well as methodology to be adopted is up to the students (The choice of agenda itself and how s./he discusses the issue of his/her choice will be also assessed).

The essay writing will require careful and thorough organization and demonstration of knowledge gained through the lectures, seminars and self-studies. Research for the essay will give the students an opportunity to frame the knowledge they have gained throughout the module, and argue/discuss/analyse persuasively, thus testing their achievement in the intended knowledge and skills outcomes above.

Reading Lists