Skip over navigation

2013 Global Seminars

Tokyo Skyline  Office Buildings at Dawn  Tokyo Shibuya Crossing  Love Business District  Japan earthquake crisis words  Tsunami

Vision and Insight in Classic Japan


The Holly and Henry Wendt, Class of 1955, Global Seminar

“Vision and Insight in Classic Japan” will be taught in Kyoto, Japan, at Ritsumeikan University, from June 17 – July 26, 2013, and is led by Thomas W. Hare, the William Sauter LaPorte '28 Professor in Regional Studies and a professor of comparative literature.

Designed for students interested in traditional East Asia, religion, and the interaction of texts and the arts—or any combination of these subjects—this seminar will explore traditional Japanese culture with a particular emphasis on vision and it's relation to aesthetic, religious and ethical insight. Studies of the essential aspects of Japanese history, the mechanics of East Asian writing systems, and Mahâyâna Buddhism will be complemented by visits to celebrated gardens; opportunities to practice Zen meditation; and experience of traditional theater, music, and the tea ceremony. In addition, students will learn how the science of vision helps us understand the aesthetic achievements of garden designers, architects, and painters. The seminar examines how traditional Japanese arts have found a role in the world of modern Kyoto. Students will visit many important heritage sites around Kyoto, including the Nanzenji, Ryôanji, and Daitokuji temples; the National Museum; and “Philosopher’s Walk.” Longer excursions include a day trip to Nara and a weekend trip outside Kyoto to a traditional inn or hot spring. A class in the elements of the Japanese language is integrated with other coursework.

This course fulfills the Historical Analysis (HA) general requirement and is open to freshman, sophomores, and juniors.