Division of Department of Japanese Studies Department of Japanese Literature

Academic Inquiry into the Heart of Japanese Literature

The field of Japanese literature covers a wide range of Japanese literary works from ancient to modern times. Various theoretical standpoints and methods are available to researchers, but the members of our department engage with literature as an art form as they seek to elucidate its style, specifics, and development. Furthermore, they strive to reveal its core meanings and significance in relation to world literature. They remain assiduous in both research and learning in order to achieve these goals.
Many of our department members are graduate or exchange students, so there are abundant opportunities for newcomers to receive new information and to come in touch with unfamiliar perspectives and ways of thinking. It also should be mentioned that more than one thousand students have already graduated from our department. Some have pursued academic careers, while others became librarians, journalists, or publishers, or entered public offices or companies. An alumni association “Tohoku Daigaku Bungakuka Ki no Kai” unites both alumni and currently enrolled students. Members of our department thus have the opportunity to meet and interact with diverse people, as well as to study Japanese literature from multiple angles, combining a solid theoretical basis with flexible approaches. By doing so they learn how to employ a broad perspective and novel concepts to acquire a deep understanding of culture and society.

Message from Senior


3rd grade, Humanities and Social Sciences
High school : Yamagata Prefectural Yamagata Higashi

Recommended book : The Scroll of Darkness by Kajii Motojirō
Reason : The Scroll of Darkness by Kajii Motojirō
Why: The beauty of darkness in this short story and the eloquent style are captivating. Kaiji’s description of darkness is both shrewd and multifaceted — he presents it as evoking a sense of profound peace in humans. The story often continues with a new paragraph, so reading it indeed feels like following a scroll that unfolds only to be rolled up again a moment later.

Highlights of the Faculty of Arts and Letters

The process of learning more about the subject of my interest delights me. As a literary researcher, I am overjoyed whenever I feel that my understanding of the work has become deeper. It is a great pleasure to be able to put into words and share with others the unique reading I have arrived at after engaging with the text countless times. Likewise, I am happy to encounter new points of view and interpretations during discussions in the classroom. Again and again I have confirmed that the greatest pleasure for a member of our department is to read a literary work all day long and lose track of time reflecting upon it.

To everyone aiming for the Faculty of Arts and Letters

I believe that enjoyable research is impossible without a proper foundation. You must develop the basic skills necessary for a researcher and cultivate a curious and inquisitive mind. Just as a Noh comedian has to memorize all of the kata movements before he is able to perform, a literary scholar must learn to scrutinize literary works, to analyze and contemplate previous research, to organize and put into words his or her own thoughts, and so on. But even more important, I suppose, is finding pleasure in reading, for it will become the driving force behind your research.