Anyone who has ever thought seriously of literary studies, I believe, must come to the conclusion that they have already turned into a sort of metaphysics. A scholar attributes the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 to the effects of postmodernism which foregrounds the fictitious nature of a nation-state. In the same context now we have begun to notice that studies on fiction are themselves constructed on fiction. The teaching of literature has also become metaphysical. Today a tablet computer is expected to be the most potential educational tool. If a curriculum is as completely computerized as in Korea, then with no actual experience of reading books students' literacy will be much poorer than now. Indeed the curriculum guidelines put a greater emphasis on the skills of speaking and listening than those of reading. The historical role of reading seems to come to an end. Now that literature has academically and educationally become obsolete, is it really possible to teach it in class? This paper will deal with the difficult situation now we critics and teachers are facing.
To most students the subject of classics seems to be boring. Many classical works, however, are not as boring as they think. Indeed Chōyaku-hyakunin-isshu: Uta-koi, the manga series based on the poems from the “Hyakunin-isshu” anthology, is very popular among the youth. But it is also true that classical texts as teaching material lose their attractiveness because of not a few educational restrictions. Thus some new way of teaching classics must be devised so that young readers can find ancient writings interesting in the classroom as they do in popular culture.
1. This paper is about the project Minoru Tanaka and I have worked on for more than twentyfive years in order to facilitate interactions between literary studies and literary education.
2. The aim of this paper is to critically review the subject of kokugo under the theme of“ kokugo, textbooks, and literary works.” As Shōzō Ōmori once advocated a radical change of the worldview, we need to make a drastic change in our general idea about the subject because the current state of kokugo is more seriously problematic than that of history.
3. In other words, this paper will suggest how to dismember kokugo. Now there is almost no room for literature in the curriculum guidelines for the subject. By paradoxically taking advantage of such marginalization of literature in kokugo, however, we may open up new possibilities of literary studies and education. To achieve this goal, we have to start with the reconstruction of the raison d'être of reading that has been radically undermined by postmodernism. Then we try to rediscover a way of constructing a subject through the act of reading “modern fiction” which is different from modern stories. With such a drastic redefinition of literature we can create something new out of the outmoded institution called kokugo.