Division of Department of Japanese Studies Department of Innovative Japanese Studies
Teachers TAKAHASHI Akinori
Message from Senior
High school : Physical-Technical Lyceum (Yakutsk, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Russian Federation)
Recommended book :
Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things Lafcadio Hearn. (Tuttle Publishing, March 2005)
Reason : Lafcadio Hearn’s (1850-1904) Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things was published in 1904 but it is still very much worth reading nowadays. With the help of his wife, Koizumi Setsu (1868-1932) and his own imaginative power, Hearn retold various legends and tales circulating in Japan. He was among the first writers to introduce Japanese culture to Western readers during the Meiji era. Kwaidan is considered to be Hearn’s greatest masterpiece, celebrated both in Japan and around the world.
Highlights of the Faculty of Arts and Letters
It has been five years since I came to Tohoku University. I started as a research student in the Department of Japanese Literature and proceeded to join the Master’s program there. In April 2019, I entered the Doctoral program at the newly established Department of Innovative Japanese Studies. Two breathtaking years have passed since then, and we are about to see the first-generation of Master’s students graduate from our lab in March 2021.
In our Department of Innovative Japanese Studies, we work hard and play hard, nurture important bonds between ourselves, and enjoy constant support from our professors and academic advisors. Also, in our lab international and Japanese students can interact and study together, which is quite rare for the Graduate School of Arts and Letters. Listening to your labmates’ seminar presentations allows you to contemplate Japan and Japanese studies from different perspectives (historical, literary, cultural, etc.). It can always come in handy in both your research and your post-graduation life. If you wish to acquire a wider worldview, explore Japanese studies from various angles, or simply get to know us, please feel free to drop by the Department of Innovative Japanese Studies! We are always here, and you are always welcome.
To everyone aiming for the Faculty of Arts and Letters
There is one thing I learned after entering the Graduate School of Arts and Letters: it is all about a good balance between advancing your research and staying sane despite all the stress that comes along the way. All-nighters, research struggles, impending deadlines, and the impostor syndrome - unfortunately, all of those are inevitable in a Grad student’s life. So it is not only hard work that matters but also taking care of yourself. You must eat properly, catch up on sleep, and have regular workouts and health check-ups. And most importantly, you must build an effective support system by maintaining close relationships with those you care about and who care about you. Mental state matters as much as physical health, so having someone to turn to during a bad day is priceless; likewise, you should be prepared to support others in the same way.
You can search for friends among other students at your faculty, but maybe you should also try joining some student organizations or circles. My personal favorites are TUFSA (Tohoku University Foreign Students Association), TEDxTohokuUniversity, and International Oasis. If you are a Japanese student, you can make international friends there and improve your English speaking skills. If you are a foreigner, you could also join SenTIA (Sendai Tourism, Convention and International Association) or International Concierge Service at the Kawauchi Library. You will get first-hand experience interacting with Japanese staff and students and organizing events of all kinds, and working part-time will earn you some money. Overall, there are many opportunities for self-realization at Tohoku University. If you are worried about your future career, gain as many new experiences as you can during your student years. You might not like everything, but I'm sure you will discover the power hidden within yourself. Good luck with your endeavors!