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Brief summary of this semester:. When I Whistle (approximately 2.5 weeks: ) World Lit papers 1 & 2 revisions (1.5 weeks) Hard Times (3 weeks) Review of Heart of Darkness (1 – 2 classes) IB dead week and mock exams, March 5 – 16 Clear Light of Day (HL only) (3 weeks)

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brief summary of this semester
Brief summary of this semester:
  • When I Whistle (approximately 2.5 weeks: )
  • World Lit papers 1 & 2 revisions (1.5 weeks)
  • Hard Times (3 weeks)
  • Review of Heart of Darkness (1 – 2 classes)
  • IB dead week and mock exams, March 5 – 16
  • Clear Light of Day (HL only) (3 weeks)
  • Review for IB exams (2.5 weeks)
  • IB exams, May 2 – 22
the japanese aesthetic

The Japanese Aesthetic

aesthetic(s): branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste and with the creation and appreciation of beauty; also, a particular theory or conception of beauty or art (Merriam Webster)

To the Japanese, aesthetics are a basic part of daily life rather than an academic or philosophical discipline. The ancient ideals into which Japanese aesthetics are traditionally divided are:

WABI: transient and stark beauty

SABI: beauty of natural patina (sheen on surface made by age and use) and aging

YUGEN: profound grace and subtlety


A highly esteemed branch of traditional art in Japan

modern japanese literature
Modern Japanese Literature
  • Japan’s defeat in WWII greatly influenced writers
    • disaffection
    • loss of purpose
    • coping with defeat
  • A stress on the inner lives of characters is often evident in Japanese fiction
    • Buddhist tradition emphasizes self knowledge and the impermanence of the material world
  • Alienation in the modern urban jungle is another common theme
japan in wwii
Japan in WWII
  • The Axis Alliance of Germany, Italy, and Imperial Japan is created in 1936
  • Japan at war with China from 1937
  • Hoping to dominate Asia, in December 1941, Japan attacks and conquers U.S. and European possessions in the Pacific
  • At its peak, Imperial Japan’s possessions include Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, parts of China, Malaysia, French Indochina, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), Philippines, Burma, parts of India, and other Pacific Islands
  • Japan defeated in numerous naval battles in 1942
  • Japanese navy decisively defeated by the U.S.; Japan surrenders when U.S. invasion of home islands becomes imminent (15 August 1945)
shusako endo 1923 1996
Shusako Endo1923 - 1996
                • Among Japan’s most renowned 20th Century authors
  • Unique perspective as a Japanese Catholic (baptized at age 11)
  • Born in Japan, but moved to Dalian (Japanese

occupied Manchuria) as a child

  • Began college as medical student, but shifted to

literature with focus on French Catholic writers

  • Worked at munitions factory when WWII

interrupted his university studies

  • Suffered from poor health: spent 2 years in a

hospital; thought poorly of Japanese medicine

endo themes and motifs
Endo: themes and motifs
  • Complex moral dilemmas
  • Christianity; oppression of Japanese Christians
  • Outsiders, foreigners, alienation
  • Hospitals, patients, doctors, disease
when i whistle 1974
When I Whistle, 1974

Setting: Kansei, Western Japan


Sumiyoshi – Ashiya - Nishinomiya

Kansai…. Western Japan


WIW: themes- generation gap; clash in values between old and new Japan- futility and tragedy of war; also, its effects on a generation that has known it- Japanese hierarchies and social norms- acceptance vs. ambition- honesty and integrity- brief encounters that give life meaning

wiw symbols motifs
WIW: symbols & motifs
  • Aiko’s fountain pen
  • the color white
  • the beach (and its changes)
  • Nada (and its changes)
  • trains
  • diseases (cancer, TB)
  • weather

Traditional house and apartment building

Useful References

Fusuma and traditional futon preparation



Bean Cakes

Obi –

the ‘belt’of the kimono

Useful References

Japanese Calligraphy