Division of History

West-Asian History

Although the Japanese name of the department, Sei nan ajia shigaku, derives from the South and Western Asian History Course, founded within the Department of Oriental History in 1957, the department in fact emphasizes the history and culture of Western and Central Asia in education and research. We offer a variety of courses in the three major languages of these regions, namely Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The courses range from elementary grammar to advanced reading using historical materials, which enable students to learn the language in a gradual step-by-step fashion. Students in the department are encouraged to attain proficiency in at least one of these languages, and if possible, several. Our policy, just like those of other departments in the faculty, is first to foster student ability to read historical materials appropriately, then to respect their independence as much as possible in the choice of research orientations and topics. Research interests of past and current students have thus covered almost all regions and ages from which historical materials written in one of those three languages remain, including not only the Middle East and Central Eurasia but also the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa, Western Siberia, the Indian subcontinent and Eastern Turkestan. Research and education in ancient Oriental history has also been pursued in the faculty, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain courses in this field. Graduates from our undergraduate programs have been successful in diverse fields including research and education, government, business and the mass media. In recent years, more and more students have found employment in the governmental and business sectors after completing the masters’ program.

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ITANI, Kozo Prof.