Division of History

Japanese History

Japanese history is an academic discipline whose aim is to comprehensively understand the continuously changing society and culture born on the Japanese archipelago. Evolving over this long history, Japanese society and culture have had a definitive influence on the ways Japanese people think and act. Hence, for Japanese students, pondering Japan’s history means nothing other than the endeavor to understand themselves and the external world that has shaped them.

Now that many international students have enrolled in our programs, our interests are, of course, no longer simply studying “Japanese history from the Japanese viewpoint”. Moreover, as Japanese society and culture were born through interactions with other regions of the world, it is also essential to discern those processes. We aspire to attain a balanced understanding of history based on respect for differing viewpoints. To that end, our curriculum is designed to provide students with skills for reading historical documents with accuracy and precision as well as an ability to conceive research projects from broad perspectives.

For students learning Japanese history, the Department of Japanese History, Kyoto University Graduate School of Letters surely offers an ideal environment for study. Our collection of historical resources has been enriched for over a century; now more than 50,000 primary historical resources are available for access by students. Our reading courses sometimes use ancient documents that are one thousand years old. Also, one advantage of studying in Kyoto that should never be forgotten is that students can visit, when necessary, important historical locations and sites while pursuing their studies amidst the cultural tradition of the ancient capital. Tours to different parts of the country, which expose students to a variety of historical sites and cultural assets and which are intended to enhance their knowledge and personal interactions, are organized in spring and autumn each year.

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YOKOTA, Fuyuhiko Prof. History of modern Japan
YOSHIKAWA, Shinji Prof. Political and social history of ancient Japan
UEJIMA, Susumu Prof. History of medieval Japan
TANIGAWA, Yutaka Assoc. Prof. History of Education and religion in Modern Japan
TANI, Tetsuya Ass. Prof. History of modern Japan