Course of Japanese Literature and Culture

Course of Japanese Literature and Culture

Examining human existence by researching literary and linguistic heritage


Chair of the Course of Japanese Literature and Culture

Kazuko Miyake

Click here for a list of faculty members

Message from the Course Chair

Approaching the essence of Japanese culture by interpreting Japanese literature and language from a global perspective

In the 21st century, if a financial crisis, extremist movement, or infectious disease occurred in some part of the world, its effects would almost instantly spread to Japan and across the globe. On a more positive note, Japanese manga and anime culture and our advanced technology and meticulous work ethic have been recognized and praised around the world. In this age of globalization, the barriers of time and space that separate Japan from the world have disappeared and objects and ideas are now imported and exported relentlessly. The previously preserved order and individuality are now exposed to the world and its influences. In times like these, is there such a thing as an unchangeable Japanese essence? We must now consider what this is and how to preserve it. In times like these, is there such a thing as an unchangeable Japanese essence? As we navigate through the frantic changes brought about by globalization, it is becoming ever more important that we look at our heritage and consider the kind of future we want to create. In order to foster meaningful interactions with the wider world, we not only need to deepen our understanding of our own cultural heritage but also develop an awareness of how we relate to other cultures. Well-balanced intellectuals, insightful researchers, and thoughtful practitioners—these are the kinds of people we hope to nurture through this course.

In the course, lecturers, who are researchers specializing in Japanese language, literature, and culture, help students conduct research that cuts across history or examines current issues from various perspectives. Students also have the opportunity to perform in-depth comparisons of different cultures and examine how cultures influence each another through research centering on Japanese language and literature from the age of the Man’yōshū to the postmodern era.

In the Master’s course, rather than being confined to a narrow research area, students focus on their own research projects while experiencing a wide range of specialist fields. Through two years of research practice, we aim to nurture intellectuals and professionals with rich knowledge and advanced research skills, as well as educators with philosophical insight. In the Doctoral course, we nurture researchers and educators with advanced skills for deepening and developing their research projects and unlocking the door to original academic research. Besides researchers and educators, we nurture individuals who can apply broad-ranging knowledge and expertise, developed through research practice, and flexibly respond to any situations they face.

Several of our graduates have gone on to teach Japanese at junior and senior high schools. An increasing number of graduate students have also gone on to work as teachers after experiencing part-time teaching during their studies, and they find jobs as full-time teachers at technical colleges. For students who only wish to acquire a teacher’s license, we offer a system for obtaining the qualifications needed to apply for this license by earning the designated credits in the first year of study and passing the final examination. Such support is one of the characteristics of the course, which emphasizes both education and research.

Rather than pursuing knowledge that directly connects to practical skills and results, the course focuses on the profound understanding and awareness of humanity that research inspires. In other words, students study topics that explore the foundations of human existence and seek to deepen their understanding of humanity and the world. Such deep insight and thinking power rooted in humanity is the most important quality needed in the dynamically changing 21st century. While studying in the course, let us consider how each student can contribute toward the future through discussions and encounters with teachers and other students. 

Overview of the Course

At the beginning of the 2014 academic year, the name of the course was changed from the “Course of Japanese Literature” to the “Course of Japanese Literature and Culture.”

The course primarily aims to foster advanced abilities of inquiry for creatively confronting emerging literature and culture through research practices that focus on literary heritage compiled in Japanese.

The subject areas in the course range from ancient and medieval works to the literature and culture of the modern era. With faculty members who are well versed in their respective fields, we will guide students toward deeper research while encouraging active communication between teachers and students, among students, and with participating Japanese and foreign scholars.

We hope you will fully utilize the meaningful environment that the course offers, in which accumulations of knowledge and beauty supported by long-held traditions are transformed into the next generation of creative research.

  • Admission capacity: Master’s program – 10 students; Doctoral program  – 3 students
  • Lecture times: Day
  • Campus: Hakusan
  • Degree: Master’s program – Master of Arts; Doctoral program – Ph.D. in Japanese Literature and Culture
  • Teacher’s license: Senior high (Japanese); Junior high (Japanese)