Division of Philology and Literature


Japanese Language and Literature

The department’s research fields encompass all aspects of Japanese language and literature. While they usually specialize in either Japanese language or literature, students and members of the faculty must develop a familiarity with both. A respect for both fields is required because no one can study literature without knowing the language, and no one can study a language without knowing its literature. Courses on Japanese language chiefly trace its historical development in careful detail, and those on Japanese literature are devoted to close readings. Students are expected to learn how Japanese people in earlier times viewed the world through a precise analysis of the meanings and functions of classical vocabulary, as well as to consider what Japanese people have prized as truth, good, and beauty through careful readings of texts.

The department has traditionally allowed students to study whatever they want freely in a liberal atmosphere, respecting students as independent scholars. Only if they are requested do members of the faculty teaching staff advise students on their choice of research theme and methodology; they do not take the initiative or impoae their views. Here, student independence is respected above all.

The daily activities of the department are primarily organized by the graduate students who play key roles in organizing a variety of study sessions. Moreover, a monthly journal Kokugo kokubun and an academic journal Kyōto daigaku kokubungaku ronsō are published under the editorship of the department.

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OTSUKI, Makoto Prof. Japanese language, especially ancient Japanese
KANEMITSU, Keiko Prof. Japanese Literature, especially Kamakura and Heian Period
KAWAMURA, Eiko Assis. Prof. Japanese literature, especially Edo-period literature

Chinese Language and Literature

Founded in 1906, the department has an exceptional scholastic tradition that brinp together research streams from Japan, China and the West in formidable fashion. It has developed an archive of primary resources for over a century to support education and research, and this has now grown into one of the best university collections of Sinology resources anywhere in the world (including many precious books and electronic resources). These primary sources can be accessed freely by our students.

Undergraduate students are required, above all else, to acquire the skills necessary to read texts with linguistic accuracy and precision, whether in modern or classical Chinese. This goal is pursued in small classes using original texts (which may involve extensive surveys of usage); students then pursue their own research interests based on that foundation, and finalize their work as a graduation thesis. In the process of their scholarly training, students must develop patience and perseverance, but acquiring the ability to read original texts with accuracy and proficiency will give them a great sense of accomplishment. Graduate students are expected to have the ability to conduct original research on their own initiative, plus proficiency in the languages essential for research work, such as Chinese, Japanese, and English. It is strongly recommended that they fully grasp and absorb the tradition of Sinology in Japan before starting to write a dissertation. Graduate students, with the exception of native speakers of Chinese, are urged to study for a few years in China or Taiwan to familiarize themselves with the local academic community and culture while improving fluency in Chinese.

The department publishes a semiannual academic journal in Japanese Chūgoku Bungakuhō (Journal of Chinese Literature).

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HIRATA, Shoji Prof. Chinese philology, Chinese modern historical linguistics
KIZU, Yuko Prof. Chinese philology, especially traditional philology and dialectology
MIDORIKWA, Hideki Assoc. Prof. Chinese classical literature

History of Chinese philosophy

As indicated by its name, the department concentrates on the study of the history of Chinese philosophy, but the word "philosophy" is defined in a very broad sense. How have Chineee people understood the universe and nature, or the relations between people and society? How have they acted on the basis of those understandings? Our discipline traces Chinese people’s thought and practice in historical perspective.

People may associate the term "Chinese philosophy", above all, with Confucian thought, typically that of Confucius and Mencius, or Taoism.

In truth, Confucianism and Taoism constitute the most important themes for students of Chinese philosophy, and are indeed pivotal parts of the department’s research and education activities. However, Chinese philosophy covers a much broader spectrum; it can encompass all philosophical endeavors undertaken in China’s hisrory, or we may even venture to say, all spheres of Chinese culture. Thus, aside from courses in Confucianism and Taoism, students are offered classes on religion, art and science in China.

There are a few things that should be noted by prospective students.

First, since the department has traditionally focused on pre-modern China (from the Spring and Autumn period to the early 20th century), our programs may not meet the needs of those students who are interested solely in modern China. Furthermore, China as the object of study here mainly refers to regions and peoples using Chinese characters and the Chinese language. Hence, an essential part of students’ daily work consists of reading classical texts written in Classical Chinese and Chinese characters. Indeed, our curriculum places the greatest emphasis on developing students’ skills in reading Classical Chinese.

Finally, we might add that being a "book-lover" is one of the minimum qualifications for students of the history of Chinese philosophy even though becoming one requires no special talent.

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USAMI, Bunri Prof. History of Chinese philosophy and theory of arts

Indological Studies

Indological studies begin with a close reading of the texts of various genres written in an old South Asian language called Sanskrit. Sanskrit, as a representative language of the systems of India, enjoyed a status more or less corresponding to that of Latin in Europe. Sanskritic culture was disseminated widely in South Asia, and alao spread to Southeast Asia in the mediaeval period.

You may be familiar with the drama Śākuntala by Kālidāsa, the most famous example of classical Sanskrit belles-lettres. In the field of Indological studies, we deal not only with belles-lettres, but also with philosophical treatises as vestiges of the speculations of the ancient Indians, with the epics and heroic/romantic narratives, with the religious scriptures of Hinduism, with books of law and politics, and with medical, astronomical, astrological and other sciences and arts. We also recently started studying mediaeval cook books.

We have talked about Sanskrit, but this is not the only language important for learning about Indian civilization. The history of India we can learn from written source starts with a text called the Ṛgveda Saṃhitā, which is dated to around BC 1200. This literature is composed in a language we call Vedic, which preserves an earlier form of Old Indo-Aryan than Sanskrit and is indispensable in tracing the history of the Indo-European languages. A variety of languages that belong to the Middle Indo-Aryan are also important because they are closer to the spoken languages, and therefore much early Buddhist and Jain literature is composed in one of these languages.

All the same, the Indians have often regarded ‘language’ not as a mere tool of communication, but as a powerful entity in its own right. Scholarship concerning language, such as grammar, metrics, poetry, and linguistic philosophy, has always played a vital role in their intellectual traditions. Indological studies are also, above all, for students who love languages and who wish to investigate the cultural heritage of the Indian civilization by wrestling with classical literature.

In addition, about half of the classes in our department are held in English and some others can be at participants’ request. Foreign students can study in an English medium from the elementary to the advanced level.

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YOKOCHI, Yuko Prof. Pura-n,ic Studies; Classical Sanskrit Literature
AKAMATSU, Akihiko Prof. Indian Philosophy
VASUDEVA, Som Dev Assoc. Prof. Indian Philosophy, Esoteric Yoga, Sanskrit and Prakrit
ACHARYA, Diwakar Specially Appointed Prof.(JGP) Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit Language
KLEBANOV, Andrey Spec. Lecturer Sanskrit Literature

Buddhist Studies

Buddhism arose in India during the 5th century B.C. and spread across Central Asia, China and the Korean Peninsula before arriving in Japan. Since reaching Japan, Buddhism has had a powerful influence on the ways of thinking of the Japanese people, and it constitutes one of the most important elements underpinning Japanese spiritual culture.

The prime focus of the Department of Buddhist Studies lies in elucidating the roots and origins of Buddhism through philological studies. Hence, our goal is above all else to understand the philosophy and history of Buddhism through reading primary source texts from India (in Pali or Sanskrit) and also Tibetan literature, which inherited those original Indian (particularly Sanskrit) sources while maintaining linguistic fidelity. Courses are thus designed primarily around reading Indian and Tibetan texts. Although the prime research interests of full-time faculty members lie in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, specialists from the Institute for Research in Humanities and part-time lecturers from outside the department cover other fields, such as Buddhism in China and Japan.

Students are expected to have reading skills in Sanskrit and Tibetan. Reading Chinese Buddhist materials is an important requisite, and often Middle Indic languages like Pali are also required in addition to Sanskrit. Because we deal with classic Indian literature, some of the courses we offer are shared with the department of Indological Studies. The two departments also cooperate in evaluating graduation theses, master and doctor dissertations, and even hold a joint farewell party for graduating students at the end of each academic year.

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MIYAZAKI, Izumi Prof. Studies on Atisha; Research on the Tibetan Canons