Division of Department of Japanese Studies Department of History of Japanese Thought
History as the Key to Uncovering the Meaning of What It Is to Be Japanese
As a field of study, the history of Japanese thought compares “Japanese” ways of thinking with those of various other countries and nations with the aim to give an objective historical account of “Japanese” mentality and values, as well as various attempts to relativize those concepts. Addressing questions such as “What does it mean to be a human?”; “What does it mean to be Japanese?”; “How are connections formed between people?”, it tries to find the answers by following and explaining the workings of thought and cultural processes that marked the history of this archipelago from ancient times to the present.
This department was opened in 1923, one of the first in Japan. It has remained the center of the corresponding research up to the present, serving as a starting point for many outstanding scholars in Japan and abroad. Graduate and exchange students comprise a considerable part of our department — moreover, our graduates currently work in education, and in the public as well as the private sector, including trading companies, banking, mass communications, and publishing.
Students of our department engage in all kinds of activities apart from classes: they hold regular research meetings and reading groups, publish scholarly journals, and participate in baseball tournaments and outdoor parties like cherry-blossom viewing and imoni-kai.