Japanese Literature

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VinaiRachakonda
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Japanese Literature

Post by VinaiRachakonda » Thu May 01, 2014 8:07 pm

Hey all,

As I have been studying quizbowl and going through many packets, and one thing (of many) I absolutely cannot get right is Japanese Literature. What are some must know Japanese authors and literary works so I can study them?

Thanks
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Thu May 01, 2014 8:38 pm

http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =3&t=13840

In addition to the stuff mentioned there, I recommend, as always, taking a serious interest in Japanese literature i.e. genuinely wanting to know more about the themes of Japanese lit rather than trying to memorize a NAQT style "You Gotta Know" list. If you do that, you'll notice when Japanese lit comes up, and you'll remember it because you care about it, not because it's a chore.

That said, here's a quick list of important authors (trying to go chronologically and restrict myself to the HS canon, though I'll probably forget some):
Basho
Lady Murasaki
Akutagawa
Tanizaki
Soseki
Mishima
Kawabata
Oe
Murakami

I leave it to you to use quinterest and google to figure out what their most famous/notable works are.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Fakespeare » Thu May 01, 2014 8:41 pm

One of the most common titles, especially in lower difficulties, is Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki. Other common authors that are talked about include but are not limited to:

Yukio Mishima--famous for committing seppuku on live television after a failed coup d'etat
Yasunari Kawabata--author of Snow Country, House of the Sleeping Beauties, Master of Go, The Sound of the Mountain
Sei Shonagon-- wrote The Pillow Book about the lives of courtly ladies
Ryūnosuke Akutagawa--known for Roshamon and Hell Screen, has a Japanese literature award named after him
Kenzaburo Oe-- author of Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids, A Personal Matter, and The Silent Cry
Haruki Murakami-- author of the Wind-Up Bird Chronicles and 1Q84

Not an exhaustive list by any means, but it's a good starting place. Learn the clues and associated works for these writers and you should for the most part be able to lock down on high-school leveled Japanese Lit.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by AKKOLADE » Thu May 01, 2014 9:06 pm

I still stand by my post in that thread.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Thu May 01, 2014 9:24 pm

Don't forget Shusako Endo, he's a person too.

Edit: Of course the easiest way to find out more is just to read the book. Your library will have Murakami for sure.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by pajaro bobo » Thu May 01, 2014 10:15 pm

Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:
I still stand by my post in that thread.
For real though, while I'm not going to discourage you from trying to learn it, be sure to keep in mind that it's not something that's going to be coming up regularly in most HS tournaments.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Thu May 01, 2014 10:24 pm

if u aren't reading the works of ihara saikaku u don't know japanese literature
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by The Polebarn Hotel » Fri May 02, 2014 8:36 am

It's counter-intuitive to tell someone not to learn something. It's Japanese lit, and while it may not come up all the time or even at every tournament, it's worth knowing for the times that it may come up. Most of the authors that you'd need to know on the high-school level have been posted. Most important from what I've seen are Mishima, Kawabata, Oe, and Murakami.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Fri May 02, 2014 9:53 am

Crazyflight wrote:It's counter-intuitive to tell someone not to learn something. It's Japanese lit, and while it may not come up all the time or even at every tournament, it's worth knowing for the times that it may come up. Most of the authors that you'd need to know on the high-school level have been posted. Most important from what I've seen are Mishima, Kawabata, Oe, and Murakami.
Casey's got the right idea: while it may not come up very often (and rightfully so, in my opinion), it's worth knowing these are actual dudes that question writers will write about. Obviously, it wouldn't be time well spent if you try to read every Oe book and try to reach the level of scholarship in Japanese lit just purely for quiz bowl sake, but recognize who these dudes are and what they wrote. I've always read it like this in my head: Mishima = the seppuku guy, "I guess Hitler was his friend", wrote some Sea of Fertility stuff... Oe = sad stuff... Murakami = more modern stuff... Ishiguro =more modern stuff, sorta? I never bothered learning him, since I bank on my teammate Brandon acing all the Remains of the Day clues since he's read the book... Kawabata = games, geishas, stuff that's not like the others i mentioned
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Fri May 02, 2014 10:29 am

Sniper, No Sniping! wrote:Casey's got the right idea: while it may not come up very often (and rightfully so, in my opinion), it's worth knowing these are actual dudes that question writers will write about. Obviously, it wouldn't be time well spent if you try to read every Oe book and try to reach the level of scholarship in Japanese lit just purely for quiz bowl sake, but recognize who these dudes are and what they wrote. I've always read it like this in my head: Mishima = the seppuku guy, "I guess Hitler was his friend", wrote some Sea of Fertility stuff... Oe = sad stuff... Murakami = more modern stuff... Ishiguro =more modern stuff, sorta? I never bothered learning him, since I bank on my teammate Brandon acing all the Remains of the Day clues since he's read the book... Kawabata = games, geishas, stuff that's not like the others i mentioned
Yes, instead of not learning something, you should simplistically reduce all authors into sometimes incorrect generalizations.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Fri May 02, 2014 11:24 am

Crazyflight wrote:It's counter-intuitive to tell someone not to learn something. It's Japanese lit, and while it may not come up all the time or even at every tournament, it's worth knowing for the times that it may come up. Most of the authors that you'd need to know on the high-school level have been posted. Most important from what I've seen are Mishima, Kawabata, Oe, and Murakami.
Do you want powers? This is how you get powers. (With reservations, along Fred's line of thinking, it would be limited powers, but it would be very likely powers).
Sniper, No Sniping! wrote:Casey's got the right idea: while it may not come up very often (and rightfully so, in my opinion), it's worth knowing these are actual dudes that question writers will write about. Obviously, it wouldn't be time well spent if you try to read every Oe book and try to reach the level of scholarship in Japanese lit just purely for quiz bowl sake, but recognize who these dudes are and what they wrote. I've always read it like this in my head: Mishima = the seppuku guy, "I guess Hitler was his friend", wrote some Sea of Fertility stuff... Oe = sad stuff... Murakami = more modern stuff... Ishiguro =more modern stuff, sorta? I never bothered learning him, since I bank on my teammate Brandon acing all the Remains of the Day clues since he's read the book... Kawabata = games, geishas, stuff that's not like the others i mentioned
Do you want negs? This is how you get negs.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Fri May 02, 2014 12:13 pm

Kazuo Ishiguro is British.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by vinteuil » Fri May 02, 2014 12:37 pm

Also, a lot of these authors mostly wrote extremely short works: Akutagawa wrote short stories (and short ones too!), both Mishima's Oe's most famous novels are sub-300 pages (if you don't read The Sea of Fertility all at once), and I think just about everything by Kawabata is too. Obviously all the famous haiku are short.
1Q84 and Genji, on the other hand…
Anyways, it's great stuff, all worth reading.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Fri May 02, 2014 12:59 pm

something similarly dumb wrote:
Sniper, No Sniping! wrote:Casey's got the right idea: while it may not come up very often (and rightfully so, in my opinion), it's worth knowing these are actual dudes that question writers will write about. Obviously, it wouldn't be time well spent if you try to read every Oe book and try to reach the level of scholarship in Japanese lit just purely for quiz bowl sake, but recognize who these dudes are and what they wrote. I've always read it like this in my head: Mishima = the seppuku guy, "I guess Hitler was his friend", wrote some Sea of Fertility stuff... Oe = sad stuff... Murakami = more modern stuff... Ishiguro =more modern stuff, sorta? I never bothered learning him, since I bank on my teammate Brandon acing all the Remains of the Day clues since he's read the book... Kawabata = games, geishas, stuff that's not like the others i mentioned
Yes, instead of not learning something, you should simplistically reduce all authors into sometimes incorrect generalizations.
One caveat I'll say is this isn't supposed to be a substitution for learning titles and general plots, but merely an introductory thought when first exposing yourself to Japanese lit (and the relevant materials) in quiz bowl. Knowing the genre in which an author wrote in (generally speaking), what authors wrote about, and even when they lived can be important in learning the authors, and it certainly a lot more helpful than the semi-satirical generalizations I posted. Since Japanese Lit isn't taught heavily in the classroom (at least I don't think it is?), learning authors names and what they wrote can be difficult if you don't put any context to it, so to some extent knowing that Oe writes about his disabled son (among other things) may actually be a lot more worthwhile and beneficial for a novice than trying to binarily associate works with authors.

Playing with a lit knowledge that revolves around knowing the obscure works of an author won't get players very far now that good quiz bowl writers are moving away from the clue structure based on obscure works of an author and toward the trend of writing about characters and plot developments of an author (which rewards reading stuff and if you don't read, at least understanding what an author generally writes about, which I think we all agree is more rewarding than knowing the title of a fifth or sixth most obscure work of a certain author).

Figure out what's best for you as a player; put context to an author when learning about him or trying to memorize works and characters without any context. (As for the negs comment, IDK... I've played lit the way I've described for a while and my most recent NAQT I went 35/27/6.)
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Dominator » Fri May 02, 2014 1:27 pm

Sniper, No Sniping! wrote:Figure out what's best for you as a player; put context to an author when learning about him or trying to memorize works and characters without any context. (As for the negs comment, IDK... I've played lit the way I've described for a while and my most recent NAQT I went 35/27/6.)
Unless there were at least seven Japanese lit tossups in that set, I'm not sure what this stat line is supposed to prove.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by VinaiRachakonda » Fri May 02, 2014 8:25 pm

Fida wrote:
Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:
I still stand by my post in that thread.
For real though, while I'm not going to discourage you from trying to learn it, be sure to keep in mind that it's not something that's going to be coming up regularly in most HS tournaments.
I understand that some of this stuff will not really come up often in tournaments, nor do I think of studying this as a chore. As a relatively new player to Quizbowl and one who is dedicated to trying to improve I was curious to know about this extremely unfamiliar area. Thank you all for this information and I will try to learn it.
Vinaichandra Rachakonda
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by zachary_yan » Fri May 02, 2014 8:45 pm

Sniper, No Sniping! wrote:Figure out what's best for you as a player; put context to an author when learning about him or trying to memorize works and characters without any context. (As for the negs comment, IDK... I've played lit the way I've described for a while and my most recent NAQT I went 35/27/6.)
This tends to work on easier sets, and especially on literature where clues are more unique to a single answer, but it's unsustainable in the long run. Unless you're willing to spend half of your waking life on making these kinds of binary associations, this kind of playing style doesn't scale up to higher difficulties.

Somewhat returning to the original topic, I've noticed that there is something of a sampling bias when it comes to identifying what kinds of topics a team/player is weak in. It might be more apparent that your team has a deficit in Japanese literature because "Kenzaburo Oe" stands out among the European names, for example. Accordingly, no one ever asks "how do I answer more questions on Shakespeare" or anything like that. At least at the high school level, unless you're already first-lining most of the "easier" answers, if you're looking to improve your literature knowledge you should brush up on your Austen and Twain knowledge along with learning lesser known authors and works.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Chef Curry » Sat May 03, 2014 8:59 pm

Hello,

I don't know if you remember me, but we played each other at UMD, and you guys seemed like you had the basic things down. Pertaining to your question, I would take the works/authors already mentioned and read the books if you can(or sparknote them), and try and go on quinterest to get more of a feel for the the types of clues that come up in that area. That should help you do well at the IS level.
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Re: Japanese Literature

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Sun May 04, 2014 3:55 am

Japanese literature is one of those things like Nigerian authors, Scandinavian authors, modern architecture, religions, South American wars, Civil War battles, etc. where there are only 4-10 of those things tossupable at the non-nationals high school level, and if you learn a few specific titles/names or at least have a general orientation for some of these things, you can "lock up" those categories with little effort. Casey's right: Learn Murakami, Mishima, Oe, Kawabata, and throw in Basho and Akutagawa, learn a work or two or just read tossups on those for like an hour and you can lock up those tossups on all but a top tier of teams/players. As you start playing higher-level competition, you'll need to learn a few more works, and as you get into NSC, HSNCT and non-easy college tournaments, you'll have to learn more authors. I should also note that as someone who was a pretty good high school player who is currently a terrible college player, this is not a sustainable method of learning.
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