Division of Department of Global Humanities Department of Chinese Language and Literature

Studying the literature and language of China, a land of expansive breadth and deep history

China covers almost the entire eastern part of the Asian continent, and its history goes back to more than two thousand years B.C.E.
Members of our department study languages and literature that have emerged in that vast corner of time and space. The sheer size of the country and its ancient culture of record-keeping ensure that traces of various changes and influences remain in both written and spoken language, and Chinese literature is comprised of hundreds of genres.
First our students acquire basic skills necessary for reading Chinese classics. They also study the entire history of Chinese literature, which means an encounter with manifold genres and works not covered by school-level courses. In the fourth year, each student selects the most fascinating topic from this multitude, deciphers the corresponding source text (a task that requires proficiency in both classical and modern Chinese, as well as Japanese language) and summarizes his or her discoveries in a graduation thesis. Students are also provided an opportunity to improve their language skills by studying in Chinese-speaking countries.
Some of our students become school teachers or continue on to graduate school, but many of them employ their newly-acquired language skills to work in companies advancing into the Chinese market, in mass communications (that is, in publishing, the newspaper business, or television), or in government offices.

Message from Senior


3rd grade, Humanities and Social Sciences
High school : Ibaraki Pref. Mito Daiichi, Chiba Pref. Chiba Higashi, Shizuoka Pref. Mishima Kita

Recommended book : Kijin to Isai no Chūgokushi by Inami Ritsuko (Kirihara’s choice)
Reason : I recommend the 2005 edition published by Iwanami Shoten. China was home to many great personalities. This is a collection of stories about their dramatic lives. It also includes witty remarks and famous lines attributed to them.(written by Kirihara)

Highlights of the Faculty of Arts and Letters

In my opinion, one of the strengths of Tohoku University is its abundance of departments. Selecting a department that will suit your needs and abilities might not be easy, but this is also a good opportunity to ask yourself what you want to do in the future. It is possible to take introductory lectures in other specialties even after you decide on your major course – you can then use skills and information gained there in your research. It goes without saying that the research and study conducted in your department will be extremely interesting (even if you will find yourself at a loss and unable to move forward from time to time) (written by Yukiyama)

To everyone aiming for the Faculty of Arts and Letters

First and foremost I advise you to read as much as you can. The Faculty of Arts and Letters offers interesting courses in many disciplines, so students tend to waver when it comes to choosing their major. So you should read books on many different topics while still in high school — this way you will definitely discover what suits you the most. I particularly recommend paperbacks. I am definitely studying Chinese literature now thanks to the books on China I read as a high school student. It does not matter whether you are interested in the subject or have not even heard about it before; just buy some books and start reading. This might be your first step into a new world. (written by Ōishi)