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World Languages

Japanese Literature: The Heart of Japan in Soseki's Kokoro (Advanced 13-Wk Flex)

This 13-week course will invite students to read Natsume Sōseki's "Kokoro" (こゝろ) together and discuss both Japanese history and language through the critical period of Japan's turning point to modernism following the Meiji Era.
Kelsey P. Payne ケルシー先生
326 total reviews for this teacher
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year olds
learners per class

Charged upfront
Flexible schedule
Over 14 weeks
No live meetings

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Class Experience

This class is taught in English.
 + Learners will have the opportunity to appreciate great Japanese literature by one of its most prominently renowned writers.
 + Learners will be able to taste nuances of the Japanese language as it is depicted in the novel.
 + Learners will be able to recognize significant events in recent Japanese history and the sociology of the Japanese people at that time.
 + Learners will be able to advance their Japanese language proficiency and Japanese-English translation skills 
 + Magna cum laude graduate in philosophy with honors and concentrations in Japanese studies and religion
 + 2nd Level JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) certification-holder* 
 + Member of the 2007 International Scholar Laureate Program Delegation on Diplomacy & International Relations in the People's Republic of China 

*JLPT 5th level is the lowest and 1st is the highest (also now denoted "N5" through "N1)

I studied Japanese language, culture, history, and economics both at home (Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota) and a year abroad (Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan). I returned to Japan after graduating to live for another three years in Kagawa prefecture, Shikoku, where I worked in language instruction and Japanese-English translation. I attained certification in the 2nd highest level of the internationally recognized Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), and twice sat in for the 1st level. 

My teaching experience in language instruction (where I also often implement the Natural Approach and TPR) continues to this day in private lessons for both children and adults in ESL, Japanese language learning, and JLPT test prep. For Japanese, this includes literacy in kanji and the language's other character sets, as well as comprehension and production in both informal and business-level conversation. It also means a top-down approach to deconstructing, studying for, and tackling the JLPT for those students looking to take their Japanese to the next level and even get this important certification that can land them a job abroad. (Feel free to contact me for more information about the JLPT and suggestions on whether or not it may be right for your learner's language goals.)
A fair amount of reading (in both Japanese and English) of each chapter will be expected to be completed by class time each week. Please see the Lessons Overview in the Class Experience section above.
+ The Soseki Project (see External Resources) + Kokoro / The Heart こころ (1955) Director Kon Ichikawa (on YouTube)
In addition to the Outschool classroom, this class uses:
No live meetings, and an estimated 4+ hours per week outside of class.
"The site provides a number of tools to assist the reader (explained in detail in the Features link). However, a solid understanding of Japanese grammar and mastery of basic vocabulary have been assumed in order keep the extent of vocabulary helps, explanations, and notes reasonable. A minimum of two or three years of college-level Japanese study (or equivalent) is recommended before starting on these works." (

Among more mature themes in Kokoro, the story revolves around a case of suicide by a friend of the main character. There are also multiple mentions and instances of fatal illness and impending death within the family.

Please feel free to contact me directly with questions or for further details.
   + Japanese language component:
  + Kokoro / The Heart こころ (1955) Director Kon Ichikawa: shared later as a YouTube link

 + Kokoro by Natsume Sōseki (translated by Edwin McClellan):

Note: I offer the above link for the (optional) book as an Amazon Associate, meaning that, while you do not pay more for the book, Amazon pays me a small commission for recommending these copies of the book to you for purchasing. Any commissions received helps me afford to making teaching and tutoring a sustainable means of income for me, however, you are never required in my classes to make purchases through this means if it does not suit you to do so. 


Kelsey P. Payne ケルシー先生
Lives in the United States
Japanese Studies, Philosophy, and Math Educator for First Principles Thinkers
326 total reviews
143 completed classes

About Me

At a Glance

 + Magna cum laude graduate in philosophy with honors and concentrations in Japanese studies and religion
 + Praxis II 5161 (Mathematics Content Knowledge) certification-holder
 + 2nd Highest Level JLPT (Japanese... 
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