Division of History

Oriental History

The Department of Oriental History deals with the history of China and other nations and regions of East Asia (e.g. Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea, East Turkestan, Tibet and Southeast Asia). A great variety and number of courses are offered not only by the department faculty, but also those of the Graduate School ofHuman and Environmental Studies and the Institute for Research in Humanities. As developing the skills required for accurate reading of historical materials is essential for a historian, the undergraduate program places particular emphasis on seminars devoted to classical Chinese historiography and reading courses. Preparation for this type of class typically consumes much of a third-year undergraduate’s time. Skills in reading classical Chinese are also essential in studying the histories of Korea, Inner Asia and even Southeast Asia. In addition, knowledge of modern Chinese is essential not only for reading publications by Chinese researchers but for understanding classical sources as well. Prospective students are encouraged to acquire as much knowledge of the language of their studies as possible prior to enrollment. Those students who are interested in studying the history of a region other than China will need to learn the relevant local language, such as Korean, Mongolian, Manchurian, Tibetan or Vietnamese (some of which are taught in undergraduate courses).

With some of the best archives of the literature of oriental history in the libraries of the Graduate School of Letters, the Center for Eurasian Cultural Studies, the Center for Informatics in East Asian Studies, the Institute for Research in the Humanities, Kyoto University offers an ideal learning environment. The research interests of our graduate students, research students and fellows, who join undergraduate students in voluntary study sessions, cover virtually all fields of oriental history. Senior members of the student community such as graduate students serve as mentors for undergraduate students in their day-to-day work. The department also hosts the secretariat of the Society of Oriental Researches (Toyoshi-Kenkyu-kai), a nationwide research society, which holds annual meetings and publishes Toyoshi Kenkyu (The Journal of Oriental Researches) quarterly. The journal boasts an outstanding international reputation as a gateway to the scholarly community for young researchers.

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YOSHIMOTO, Michimasa Prof. History of ancient China
NAKASUNA, Akinori Prof. Chinese cultural history; Chinese historiography
TAKASHIMA, Ko Prof. History of modern China