Columbia University has partnered with Waseda University in Japan to launch a new, innovative summer program which will provide undergraduate students the unique opportunity to explore the influential works of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa while studying alongside local Waseda students. The 4-week course taught by Paul Anderer, Columbia Professor of Japanese Literature, will explore the global dimensions of Kurosawa's artistry while attending closely to the local and personal experiences that give his work its distinctive style and urgency. Coursework will focus on the black and white films he made during the long postwar, elements of Japanese tradition, and the era of silent film. Weekly site visits related to an aspect of Kurosawa’s filmmaking or his upbringing will be conducted. Finally, students will participate in a Japanese language and culture workshop to strengthen language skills while having a forum to discuss cultural interactions and questions.
This program was developed with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Columbia Japanese Film Studies Summer Program Flyer (PDF)
Please click on the following links for more information about:
Open to currently enrolled undergraduate students in good academic standing.
Minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
No previous coursework is required.
All students enroll in the following course:
EAAS S4361. Kurosawa and the World. 4 points.
Tokyo Summer: Kurosawa Syllabus 2014
The course will explore the global dimensions of Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s artistry, while attending closely to the local, often personal experiences that give his work its distinctive style and urgency. Students will focus on the great black and white films he made during the long postwar, and take account of what they owe to Kurosawa’s education and artistic apprenticeship; to elements of Japanese tradition (especially to theatrical and oral performance traditions); also to the era of silent film, to German Expressionism and Russian Constructivism, and to authors such as Akutagawa, Dostoevsky, and Shakespeare.
Site visits will be made to locations relating to one or another aspect of Kurosawa’s filmmaking, such as the Kyobashi Film Center, the black market district of Ueno, and Toho Studios, all inside Tokyo, the city of his birth and upbringing.
Incorporated into the course will also be a Japanese Language and Culture Workshop which will provide a venue for students to meet with Waseda language tutors to discuss linguistic and cultural questions and to work on conversational and vernacular skills.
Waseda University was founded in 1882 by Shigenobu Okuma, later Prime Minister of Japan, with the aim of fostering contemporary Japanese leaders. It has since developed into a comprehensive university with more than fifty thousand students and staff, comprising 13 Undergraduate Schools, 23 Graduate Schools, and other Research and Affiliated Institutes. The pedagogy and spirit embraced through Waseda's tradition and pride with a flexible and innovative mindset have ensured that Waseda stands firm at the forefront of Japanese education.
Housing & Meals
Students will live in the Waseda International Student House (WISH), a new dormitory in Nakano which is located 20 minutes away from the Waseda campus. Each dorm unit consists of four single rooms with a shared living room and bathroom. Each floor has shared laundry and kitchen facilities. Other dorm residents include Japanese and international undergraduate students.
The dorm does not have a cafeteria but does have a convenience store. Students can cook for themselves or eat in the on-campus cafeteria which serves breakfast and lunch.
Course-related site visits will be made to locations relating to an aspect of Kurosawa’s filmmaking or to Tokyo, the city of his birth and upbringing such as the Kyobashi Film Center, Ueno black market district, and Toho Studios.
Faculty & Program Staff
Professor Paul Anderer will serve as the Faculty Director of the Tokyo summer program and will teach the "Kurosawa and the World" course. He is the Mack Professor of Humanities and a Professor of Japanese Literature in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Columbia. He is currently writing a book on the black and white films of Akira Kurosawa, in their relationship to the Japanese post-war and to the era of silent film-making. Anderer has served as the chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, as Director of the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, and as Vice Provost for International Relations. He is the author of Other Worlds: Arishima Takeo and the Bounds of Modern Japanese Fiction, and of Literature of the Lost Home: Kobayashi Hideo—Literary Criticism, 1924-1939, along with numerous articles relating to the culture of modern Japan and to the city of Tokyo.
Mana Karimata will serve as the program Teaching Assistant.
Local instructors from Waseda University will teach the Japanese language and culture workshop.
Students arrive in Tokyo, check into dorm: June 7
Dorm orientation: June 7 at 6pm
Program orientation, classes begin: June 9
Classes end: July 4
Students depart: July 5
*Please don't make travel plans until you have received the finalized calendar with your acceptance materials.
Program Fees Summer 2014
The list below is intended to summarize possible charges that could be incurred against a student's account. Certain charges depend upon specific circumstances, as noted.
*Covers tuition, housing, orientation, excursions and cultural activities
**One-time fee for visiting students only
***Required of any student who withdraws from program once registered
Tuition and fees are subject to Board of Trustee approval and may change.
These estimated expenses below are NOT paid to the program. The estimated figures below are provided as a basis for students to determine their individual budgets.
Round trip airfare NYC -Tokyo
*Please note that all students must have health insurance which covers them overseas.
Award amounts will vary depending on the length of study and student need with the average award being approximately $4,000. Undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at two-year or four-year colleges or universities are eligible to apply.
Application deadline: March 1
How to apply
The online application includes the following:
If you have questions about the course content, please contact Faculty Director Paul Anderer at email@example.com.
If you have general questions about the program or your application, please contact the Office of Global Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-854-2559.