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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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101 - 125 of 229 Reviews for Words Spun Out of Images: Visual and Literary Culture in Nineteenth Century Japan

By Valentina B

Apr 2, 2020

I have studied Japanese culture and art in the past, but this particular topic was incredibly interesting and new to me. The lecturer was very clear and precise, which I found helpful.

By Regina P

Jun 19, 2020

Marvelous course! I've learned many cultural things about Japan and now I look forward to learning more. The professor was very clear and his examples were really interesting.

By Al M M

Sep 26, 2022

I was interested in the culture and the history of Japan. This course has helped me to broaden my knowledge. You should enroll in this course, your effort won't go in vein.

By Faye P

Dec 27, 2020

Thank you for showing us even a glimpse of Japan! I've been very fascinated and mesmerized about their culture. I wish there are more courses available like this. Thank you.

By Archisha B

Jul 26, 2020

A very inspiring and informative course. Really broadened my ways of viewing not only Japanese art and literature, but also any other form of art from any part of the world.

By Péter P P

Nov 2, 2022

This was a very interesting course about the Japanese art, and its connection with literature.

Professor Campbell gave many interesting info about the historical background.

By Moritz S

Mar 30, 2020

A very interesting look into intermedial relations between images and writing in early modern to modern Japan. Prof. Campbell's personal collection is certainly impressive!

By Bruna D

Mar 9, 2022

Muito interessante para quem quer aprender mais sobre a cultura e história do Japão. O curso fala não só do óbvio mas faz a ligação com a política e períodos históricos.

By Kuu R

Jun 1, 2022

I really enjoyed learning the connection between art and literature and understanding the basic history that was the backdrop to everything which was presented.

By Iago V

Apr 4, 2023

Learnt so much and had acquired really great insights on Japanese culture. It made me want to start scribbling on all my photos in the great tradition haha.


Aug 5, 2020

It was such a wonderful course and I'm glad that I've gained an insight into the literary culture of Japan as well as the visual elements associated with it.

By Yan L

Oct 9, 2018

Fantastic course and the teacher is so erudited. After the course, I want to have more MOOCS with this teacher. What an intellectual model this teacher is!

By Anastasia A

Oct 10, 2021

I loved it. I learned a lot, which led to a better understanding of the Japanese culture and history in general. I wish there was more. どうもありがとうございます

By Коршунова Е В

Nov 3, 2019

I am so grateful for the opportunity to take this course. I would definitely recommend it to everyone who is interested in Japanese art and history.

By Lin S

Apr 20, 2021

Great course for anyone new to Japanese visual and literary culture. The instructor is clear, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable on the topic.

By Natasha V

May 15, 2023

Brilliant analysis, and a deep dive-in into the history of 19th-early 20th century Japan through images and photographs. Absolutely fascinating

By Diana V

Jun 24, 2022

Amazing introductory course into the art and literature of 19th century Japan. I couldn't get enough of this fascinating subject. Thank you!

By Hiranmoy L

Oct 16, 2017

Great course, excellent teaching by sensei. ALthough subtitles sometimes are wrongly interpreted (like 'major restoration' nstead of 'Meiji'

By Andrea K L

Dec 28, 2017

Excellent introduction, I enjoyed this course tremendously, very informative, learned a lot.

Many thanks to Professor Campbell and his team!

By Bert S

Jul 25, 2020

Surprisingly interesting to me. I first thought it had a limited scope but that gradually proved wrong. Thank you for creating the course.

By Jerome H

Jul 10, 2020

面白かった. It is the first time i understood that combination of images and poems or words was a specificity of Japan in the 19-20th century.

By Itziar B

Nov 19, 2020

I really enjoyed and learned, maybe a little short ...

Right now, I want to read a lot of about the themes suggested !!!

Thanks a lot !!!

By Raul R

May 31, 2021

This is a one of a kind splendid course, where you'll be able to see some of the 19th and early 20th century art and culture history.

By William D

Dec 29, 2020

This course provided me a perspective on writing and imagery that I had not considered. A welcome addition to my knowledge of Japan!

By Yujin L

Nov 2, 2018

the lecturer is knowledgeable and engaging. it greatly enriched my appreciation of japanese arts and culture. i highly recommend it.