JK13001Foundations I-Seminar (KBR/VMC)

Numbering Code G-LET36 6JK13 LE36 Year/Term 2021 ・ First semester
Number of Credits 2 Course Type special lecture
Target Year Target Student
Language English Day/Period Thu.5
Instructor name HARIMOTO KENGO (Part-time Lecturer)
Outline and Purpose of the Course This course aims to introduce students to the transculturality of twenty-five years of post-WWII Japan by means of Tokusatsu films and TV shows represented by Godzilla movies and the Ultraman series. We pay attention to their interactions with other cultural phenomena of the era. Some of the cultures involved include the ones that adopted: the US, Europe and Asia. Other cultures that inspired the Japanese include that of India.
Course Goals Students will develop eyes to discern social and cultural phenomena that traversed different cultures through seemingly popular entertainment. They will become familiar with diverse social, political and cultural matters that influenced the creation and spread of such entertainment.
Schedule and Contents Week 1 and 2: Godzilla 1954: Birth of Godzilla, atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, natural disasters, the century of science and technology

Week 3: Acceptance of Godzilla movies in the West: Cold War, exoticism

Week 4: Rodan 1956: Known better outside Japan, industry and economy of Japan in early post- war period, early movie tourism, JSDF

Week 5: Mothra 1961: US occupation of Japan, Anpo protests (anti US-Japan Security Treaty movement), Japanese view of Southeast Asia

Week 6: Godzilla vs King Kong (1962)

Week 7: Mothra vs Godzilla (1964):

Week 8: Ghidorah, the Three-headed Monster (1964): Roman Holiday, space age, Japan’s changing mood

Week 9: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965): Japanese mythology, Space race, UFOs

Week 10 and 11: Ultra series (1966–): Japanese answer to Superman; Buddhist inspiration?

Week 12 and 13: Detour: From the Bhagavadgītā to Godzilla: Oppenheimer, Nazi leadership, Indian philosophy; the idea of avatāras

Week 14: The 6 Ultra Brothers vs. the Monster Army (1974 Thai production): How cultures transfer and merge, how the locality and age affect creations

Week 15: Godzilla vs Hedorah: back to the roots? clear case of cultural commentary to the current crisis and conclusion to the course
Evaluation Methods and Policy Class participation 40%; Homework 40%; Final paper: 20%
Course Requirements None
Study outside of Class (preparation and review) Due to time constraints, students are advised to watch the subject films prior to the class.