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Back to Words Spun Out of Images: Visual and Literary Culture in Nineteenth Century Japan

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Words Spun Out of Images: Visual and Literary Culture in Nineteenth Century Japan by The University of Tokyo

724 ratings

About the Course

In their ambition to capture “real life,” Japanese painters, poets, novelists and photographers of the nineteenth century collaborated in ways seldom explored by their European contemporaries. This course offers learners the chance to encounter and appreciate behavior, moral standards and some of the material conditions surrounding Japanese artists in the nineteenth century, in order to renew our assumptions about what artistic “realism” is and what it meant. Learners will walk away with a clear understanding of how society and the individual were conceived of and represented in early modern Japan. Unlike contemporary western art forms, which acknowledge their common debt as “sister arts” but remain divided by genre and discourse, Japanese visual and literary culture tended to combine, producing literary texts inspired by visual images, and visual images which would then be inscribed with poems and prose. Noticing and being able to interpret this indivisibility of visual/literary cultures is essential in understanding the social and psychological values embedded within the beauty of Japanese art....

Top reviews


Oct 8, 2020

Very interesting where I finished the whole course 2 weeks before the due date because I really enjoyed it. I have been a Japan fanatic since middle school so this course is really my cup of tea


Nov 30, 2020

It was really fun to learn about the history of such art pieces as well as the notable people behind its creation and influence. Mr. Campbell discussed everything clearly as expected.

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76 - 100 of 229 Reviews for Words Spun Out of Images: Visual and Literary Culture in Nineteenth Century Japan

By theodore k

Dec 3, 2017

This course was excellent. Robert Campbell was remarkable-a terrific lecturer and generous in sharing so much of his private collection of images. I am grateful to Coursera and to Prof. Campbell for the opportunity to have taken his outstanding course.

By Ricardo L

Aug 24, 2020

Amazing overview and analysis of a beautiful creative period in Japan, which also constitutes an insight into a very moral and socially coded society, told with erudition and passion for the subject by professor Campbell in a very calm and clear tone.

By Coşkun D M

Nov 2, 2021

Words Spun Out of Images: Visual And Literary Culture in Nineteenth Century Japan, this course also with my classes made me understand a lot about Japanese Culture and History, and I could actually create a great subject in classes to talk about.

By Shantilly R

Oct 12, 2017

This course was extremely valuable to me as someone who is extremely interested in both the art and history of Japan. It was compact (4 weeks) but filled with poignant information and a great basis upon which you can continue to learn more from.

By Nancy

Oct 31, 2019

Really excellent course. Helped me further my understanding of the Japanese culture and how it reflects, as does any culture, the historical context of the country within it's borders as well as to the rest of the world. Thank you Dr. Campbell.

By Djahane Z

Jan 28, 2021

Wonderful course! The modules were very well structured, it was well-paced and I learned a lot! I definitely recommend this course, it offers new perspectives and delves into subjects I knew very little about, so every lesson was interesting.

By Ebba J

Dec 5, 2017

The course was an interesting introduction to the combining of images with writing - that's why I took it. For reading and learning the content better, "cleaned up" transcripts and paragraphs would be of great help. Thanks for the course!

By Leon B

Jun 13, 2020

This course gives me a new knowledge especially in art culture in Japanese, this course is great for someone who interested in Japanese culture in Nineteenth century and the interpretation behind the art that presented in the course.


Mar 28, 2024

This is my favorite course by Coursera so far, so interesting and the professor have a talent to make anything to passionate to learn. I really enjoyed every lecture . I would lke to take other courses with the same professor

By Denni D

Oct 4, 2017

This course has surpassed my expectations in every way. Robert Campbell is an engaging, thoughtful and deeply knowledgable lecturer who obviously takes pleasure from sharing his knowledge. I have learnt so much! Thank you.

By pika c

Sep 13, 2020

Great course. Why such a bad looking certificate? I can't use for anything. It's not the professor's real name. It reads "John Doe" and the signature says "signature". It looks like a joie. I can't use it for anything.

By luciana a a

Aug 30, 2020

A lovely course to know a bit more about image and literature. I loved every single video for they're all very well organized and brought very interesting information about this period. Besides our instructor is great.

By Monica F B F

Mar 30, 2018

Me encanto el curso, ya que no solo aprendí de arte e historia de Japón, sino que las lecciones me llevaron paso a paso a comprender mejor las formas de expresión como la pintura, literatura y fotografía y su objetivo.

By Andrew S

Nov 9, 2017

Excellent course! Well-presented, interesting and unusual subject matter, pitched well for beginners and people with some knowledge. I would be interested in studying other courses by the same institution or presenter.

By Azajul I N

May 13, 2020

I have come to know a lot of unknown facts about the cultures of Japan from this course. My curiosity about Japan has been mitigated by this program. Thanks to the University of Tokyo for this nice course. Well done.

By Randy G

Apr 21, 2022

Extraordinary course ! I have studied Japanese culture and history and lived in Japan for over 10years

and definitely appreciate the perspectrive and detail delivered in the course. I highly recomment this course.

By Ilse d Y C

Apr 4, 2021

Fascinating. Dr. Campbell - thank you for sharing your private collection of images and books (as well as your knowledge and reflections) with us! I've never felt such an urge to travel to Japan as compared to now!

By Ana L U

Nov 12, 2020

This is a very interesting course. It opens a new window of looking at the Japanese culture that's been immortalized through the connection between visual and literary media. Thank you so much Professor Campbell.

By Maria L M

Sep 19, 2020

Professor Robert Campbell is amazing and will take you through a beautiful journey where you will learn about Japanese visual and literary traditions before, during, and after the Edo period. 100% recommended.

By Pedro A N d S

Sep 14, 2021

An amazing course that brought me a deep understanding of and a part of the history of art in japan and how its artistic processes and artists were influenced by times of profound historical change for japan.

By Islas M d s

Mar 23, 2021

Es un curso muy completo que nos deja ver como la imagen y la literatura fueron de la mano en la historia del desarrollo del Japón en el período Edo y en la restauración Meiji, durante el siglo XIX.

By Gerardo C R

Dec 26, 2020

This course was highly educational, as well as deeply interesting. I was not previously educated on the literature or culture of Japanese society and found it still very clear and welcoming,

By Bart M

Apr 29, 2023

Very interesting course about the waning days of the samurai goverment and how art and literary circles, among others, led to the restoration of the emperor and the opening of the country.

By Leonardo M V S

Sep 14, 2022

Excellent course! It is a good way to learn more about Japanese culture during 19th century and its transition period between Edo and Meiji. Also, there are many good graphic sources.