21G.039J | Fall 2015 | Undergraduate

Gender and Japanese Popular Culture


Pecha Kucha

“Pecha Kucha” is Japanese for (roughly) “chit chat.” It is a presentation style invented by some expats in Japan, involving talking while images are shown. For the first few weeks of class, we will use Pecha Kucha presentations: 10 slides (images, no text), each set to run for 20 seconds each. Please use this to introduce yourself and some aspect of popular culture and / or gender studies that you are interested in.

The “Pecha Kucha” presentations should be 3 mins.

Microtheme Response Papers

Microthemes will be due on most days of class to facilitate discussion. Microthemes are not due on days when essays are due. In your comments, please note one key point from the author to be discussed, and respond with a criticism of your own or relate it to some aspect of popular culture that you care about (e.g., as illustration, contrast, or counterexample). These need not be polished, and you are allowed to skip one during the semester without penalty.

Microthemes should be 1-page, double-spaced.


Essay 1

In the first section of this class, we have explored theories of gender, theories of popular culture, and discussions of inequality. We have also explored some examples of popular culture, including Princess Jellyfish (manga) and Kamikaze Girls (film). Using these materials, please make an argument regarding one of the statements detailed in the Essay 1 Prompt (PDF).

Essay 1 should be 5 pages, double-spaced.

Student Examples

“Gender Inquality in Japan: An Issue of Class.” (PDF)

“Japanese Culture Abroad.” (PDF)

“On the Global Transformation of Japanese Culture.” (PDF)

Note: Essay 2 is a literature review, due as part of the final project. See below.

Final Project

Please choose a topic of interest to you related to gender and Japanese popular culture, and write an 8–10 page (double-spaced) essay analyzing an aspect of this phenomenon that speaks to the issues we have read about and discussed in class.

The final project consists of three parts: A literature review, a final presentation, and a final paper. These are detailed in the Final Project Prompt (PDF).

Student Examples

“Education in Japan.” (PDF)

“Feminism and Studio Ghibli.” (PDF)

All student examples appear courtesy of MIT students, and are anonymous upon request.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments with Examples
Presentation Assignments