Guohe Zheng
Professor of Japanese

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
--Benjamin Franklin

Modern Languages and Classics   Ball State University






     2013 Summer JAPANESE ANIME

  Courses / top

Japanese 101/102

Japanese 201/202

Japanese 301/302



Japanese 403 Advanced Reading and Writing Japanese 401 Literature Japanese 304 Composition


Interests / top 


J-Related Sites Dicts & Tools

Chinese Websites

Research / top 

Database,  Search Engines East Asian Libraries Research Materials Associations/GrantAgencies

Last updated: August. 18, 2012

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Lecture Notes on Essence of the Novel, 1885, by Tsubouchi Shôyô (1859-1935)

a.          Glorious tradition of Japanese literature, novel

Period of Japanese History:
Courtly Tradition: Classical Japan (538-1185)
Samurai Tradition:
    Medieval Japan (1185-1600)
Merchant Tradition:
    Edo Japan (1603-1867)
Empire of Japan (1868-1945)
Postwar Japan (1945-)


Tale of Genji, Literature on Aristocratic life

Tale of Heikei, Literature on samurai and their wars

Saikaku, Literature on Merchants

 From ancient times to 1868.

b.    Problems of today (mid-Meiji period): Deplorable

Cause of the problem:

          --Writers guiding principle: to express the approved moral sentiments—the novel’s chief function is the castigation of the vice and encouragement of the virtue. Erect a framework of morality into which they attempt to force their plots. Slaves of public farce pandering to the tastes of the time

          --Readers indiscriminate. Literature, instrument of education. Long tradition in Japan: Novel's chief function is the castigation of vice and the encouragement of virtue. Kanzenchoaku.

c.     Prediction: "By dint of steady planning from now on for the improvement of our novels we may finally be able to surpass in quality the European novels, and permit our novels to take a glorious place along with painting, music, and poetry on the altar of the arts."

Hichichi Ichiyo:,+japanese+money&client=firefox-a&hs=Jh7&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=sb&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=0EwPVOSVEon8ygOTqIHwDA&ved=0CB8QsAQ&biw=840&bih=591
Mori Ogai:
Shimazaki Toson:

Japanese 401'ichir%C5%8D_Tanizaki

 ----------Week 8 -------------

“The Tatooer” by Tanizaki Jun’ichiro

10. Art for Art's Sake and reversal of roles of male and female

A Comparison of Verb Conjugation in English and Japanese



















(Regular II)

(Regular I)






work  (body)



  み ―る


    -s   (tail)

         was, etc.


 たべ ―る


    -ed (tail)




かく    (dict)

    -ing (tail)










    -s   (3rdSgPr)





    -ed (Past)




―ない (neg)


    -ing (Progrss)


―ます (pol)





―る     (dict)






―れば (condit)




―よう (volit)







Rule: Take a verb, add one of the 3 tails.


Note: English conjugates for 3rd person singular, past tense, progressive, etc.

No general rule. Have to memorize one by one. But there are small rules shared by a few verbs.

No rule. Have to memorize one by one.

Rule: The vowel in the stem of the verbs remain “i” or “e” all the time.


Drop -ます, add the appropriate tail and you will never be wrong.


Note: Japanese conjugates for negative, polite, conditional, volitional, etc.

Rule: The vowel in each of the above conjugations is distributed as

“a, i, u, e, o” in that order.


There is nothing else the student needs to worry about on top of the above in English.

There is one more thing the student has to master before she or he can handle regular Japanese. That is the so called –te form of verbs which is ubiquitous.  Please refer to BIBLE SHEETS #2 and  #3 for details.


1.   P. 207 Why does Sensei begin to think of K as a kind of devil?

2.   P. 211 Why does Sensei ask K if K has revealed his secret only to Sensei?

3.   Pp. 214-215 K once said that “Anyone who has no spiritual aspirations is an idiot.” Why does he accept the fact that he himself is an idiot (p. 215)? (Clue: concentration of mind/passions, the true way.)

4.   Pp. 222-225 After Sensei asks Okusan for Ojosan’s hand, he has a long walk in the streets. When he passes K’s room upon returning, he feels guilty for the first time and the cry of his conscience. Why do you think his conscience bothers him?

5.   P.227-228 Who informed K that Sensei and Ojosan are engaged?

What is K’s reaction to the news?

6.   P. 230 What is the reason for K to commit suicide, according to his death note?

7.   P. 229 What is “the great shadow that would forever darken the course” of Sensei?

8.   P. 235 What are the 2 reasons given in the newspapers for K’s suicide?

9.   P. 235 What 2 things do Okusan, Ojosan and Sensei do shortly after K’s death?

10. P. 238 What passage on p. 238 can be said to be the answer to the question raised earlier in the novel about the reasons why Sensei changed as he did?

11. Pp. 240-241 Sensei’s view about why K killed himself changed over time. What are the 3 reasons he cites in a chronological order? He ends up sharing one of the feelings with K. What is that feeling? (Clue: the price of living in this modern world, discussed earlier this semester.)

12. P. 245 What does the word anachronism mean? In what sense does this word explain the reason for Sensei’s timing for killing himself?