Welcome to the Faculty and Graduate School of Letters of Kyoto University. For more than 110 years, we have been at the forefront of humanities research, centered at Kyoto, the culturally rich, former capital of Japan. We have long been a world-class institution of Japanese and Asian studies, while also having a strong record of research in the wider areas of the humanities.
The College of Letters (Bunka Daigaku) of Kyoto Imperial University, the predecessor of our institution, was founded in September 1906, consisting of only three departments: philosophy, history, and literature. 110 years later, at the beginning of the 21st century, we have six divisions (Philology and Literature, Philosophy, History, Behavioral Studies, Contemporary Culture, and the Joint Degree Master of Arts Programme ㏌ Transcultural Studies), and these six divisions host more than 30 departments. In addition to philosophy, history, and philology, we also explore wide-ranging disciplines which are not conventionally included in the humanities domain, such as sociology, history of science, and psychology.
We are proud to be traditional, original, and innovative at the same time. Our most recent enterprise is the Joint Degree Master of Arts Programme ㏌ Transcultural Studies, the newest master’s degree programme launched in 2017. The programme is offered in collaboration with Heidelberg University, Germany’s oldest university, and Kyoto University, in which students spend one year in Kyoto and another in Heidelberg, and submit a single master’s thesis to receive a Master of Arts degree awarded jointly by both universities upon completion. The aim of the programme is to invite students to address the regional and global issues posed by globalization.
Our alumni have made a significant contribution to academic research. Yet humanities studies also open many opportunities outside of the academic profession. A large number of alumni have been leaders in the journalism, publication, and education sectors, and recently many have succeeded in a wide range of careers in the public sector and other industries.
Faculty members pursue their own research, while teaching students based on the cardinal idea of liberal arts education, the “cultivation of humanity through education”. “Globalize your university” is the slogan seen everywhere these days, but, as a world-class leading research institution of the humanities in Japan, we believe that we should continue to make a great and original contribution to international academia, based on our experience, history, and philosophy fostered in the ancient city of Kyoto. We hope many of you will share our philosophy, and work and study with us. We are looking forward to seeing you in Kyoto.
Dean of the Faculty of Letters / Graduate School of Letters