College: Harvard University
Certificate Price: $100
Length: 9 Weeks
Instructors: Melissa McCormick

Japanese Books: From Manuscript to Print

Module 1: Books, Scrolls, and Religious Devotion

This unit offers special access to a unique group of books and scrolls and sacred objects once interred inside a thirteenth-century Buddhist sculpture of Prince Shotoku, now in the collection of the Harvard Art Museums. The works to be studied represent the most prevalent formats of Japanese books, but they display striking material idiosyncrasies that will help us understand how and why manuscripts were made, and how they could be personalized for individual readers, motivated, in this case, by religious devotion.

Module 2: Visual and Textual Storytelling: Short-Story Scrolls

Enter into the storyworlds of two lively illustrated Japanese tales, The Tale of the Rat (Nezumi sôshi) and The Chrysanthemum Spirit (Kiku no sei monogatari) in the Harvard Art Museums. Both tales are illustrated in the “small scroll” ( ko-e ) format, roughly half the size of standard scrolls, resembling medieval paperbacks, and intended for personal reading and private libraries. This unit focuses on reading experience, exploring the interrelationship between word and image, and explaining how literary and pictorial conventions work together to communicate a story.

Module 3: “Multimedia” Books: The Tale of Genji

Japan’s most celebrated work of fiction, The Tale of Genji , has been continuously read from the time it appeared in the eleventh-century to the present day and provides a perfect case study for exploring various book formats over the centuries in Japan. Using decorated manuscripts, richly illustrated albums, and a playful printed book of a Genji spin-off, A Fraudulent Murasaki’s Rustic Genji (Nise Murasaki Inaka Genji), this unit showcases the spectacular visual and material properties of Genji volumes that make them suggestive of “multimedia” books.

Similar Courses

Computing for Data Analysis

The modern data analysis pipeline involves collection, preprocessing, storage, analysis, and interactive visualization of data. The goal of this course, part of the Analytics: Essential Tools and Methods MicroMasters program,…

Computer Hardware and Operating Systems

This is a self-paced course that provides an Introduction to Computer Hardware and Operating Systems This course will cover topics including: Fundamentals of system hardware Introduction to OS concepts OS…
C Programming: Advanced Data Types

C Programming: Advanced Data Types

In this course, part of the C Programming with Linux Professional Certificate program, you will define your own data types in C, and use the newly created types to more…
Saving Schools

Saving Schools

This course seeks to answer the question: how did a school system, once the envy of the world, stumble so that the performance in math, science, and reading of U.S.…
The Quantum World

The Quantum World

Welcome to The Quantum World! This course is an introduction to quantum chemistry: the application of quantum theory to atoms, molecules, and materials. You’ll learn about wavefunctions, probability, special notations,…
China and Communism

China and Communism

How did the Communists conquer China? What role does culture play? What are the successes and failures of the Chinese Communist Party after seizing power in 1949? What constitutes liberation?…
Big Data and Education

Big Data and Education

Online and software-based learning tools have been used increasingly in education. This movement has resulted in an explosion of data, which can now be used to improve educational effectiveness and…

Lending, Crowdfunding, and Modern Investing

In this course, you’ll learn the foundational theories behind robo-advising, crowdfunding, and marketplace lending, and how to apply these theories to optimize your investments. Professor David Musto of the Wharton…