Resource: Podcasts on Japanese Literature and Culture

As many of you know, we love podcasts. With all this newfangled technology, podcasts are an excellent way to practice language or learn about topics you have no previous experience with. Last year a friend of mine who specializes in philosophy and religion but is fascinated by other cultures asked me if I’d ever used Learn Out Loud’s podcast resources before and suggested I look at what they have for Japanese Studies, since he’d start listening to some and found them very informative. He sent me a link that I promptly buried and lost (ah, a grad student through and through!) But upon rediscovering it, lo and behold, what he linked me to was a 25 lecture recording of John R. Wallace’s Introduction to Pre-modern Japanese Literature and Culture course at Berkeley free for download. Wow!

Apparently the University of California, Berkeley has been pretty serious about making many of their lectures available online, and three of these related to Japanese Studies are John R. Wallace’s lectures on Japanese literature. Not only is there the pre-modern literature and culture course above, but there’s also a complementary one on modern Japanese literature and culture available as well as a course on contemporary literature alone. Of course, it may be somewhat difficult to follow since you’re not actually taking the course (and therefore have the benefit of reading the secondary materials for the lecture sections or primary materials for Graduate Student Instructor discussion sections), but I listened to a couple of the pre-modern lit classes and found that Wallace really emphasizes understanding the broader cultural and aesthetic concepts so that when you go into a primary text you have your own set of analytic tools to contextualize and evaluate what you’re reading. So who knows, maybe even without the full materials on hand you’ll still find these lectures really informative and helpful for pursuing Japanese literature and culture on your own! 🙂

Check these out and more if you’ve got some free time!

Do you have any favorite places you go to for Japanese Studies podcasts? Share them with us at!

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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2 Responses to Resource: Podcasts on Japanese Literature and Culture

  1. toranosuke says:

    Apologies for the self-promotion, but for those interested in these sorts of topics, the Samurai Archives Podcast ( that I’ve sometimes been involved with regularly has some great content.

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