Division of Department of Global Humanities Department of Indology and History of Indian Buddhism

We study Indian Buddhism, a religion with roots going back more than 3,000 years

Our research covers a period of more than 3000 years. It starts with the linguistic culture of the Indo-Aryan peoples (who belonged to the Indo‐European language family) before their expansion across the Indian subcontinent, and follows the development of Buddhism, which was born in India and then spread to Tibet and East Asia. We conduct rigorous analyses of Hindu and Buddhist writings, including the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Mahabharata, Hindu sacred texts, and classical Hindi literature (including fiction and philosophical treatises), as well as early Buddhist texts, the Mahayana sutras, textbooks, and esoteric Buddhist scriptures. In the classroom we read basic sources, with grammar and research books always at hand. Many centuries ago the inhabitants of a faraway land left us what should be called classics of humanity: as products of serious debates and dedicated contemplation about human life and afterlife, about the structure of the world and the universe, these texts appeal to us even now. You can observe how concepts such as “karma” or “reincarnation” emerged and spread in India before being imported to Japan, on the one hand, and learn about values and views of life specific to Hindu society, on the other hand. Our discipline boasts a long history of international cooperation. We hope to be joined by bright young researchers who will endeavor to pursue their studies in this rich environment, with human history set up as a universal axis for various inquiries.

Message from Senior


3rd grade, Humanities and Social Sciences
High school : Aomori Prefectural Hachinohe

Recommended book : Gohan no Otomo 1. by Tana.
Reason : Gohan no Otomo is a full-color comic consisting of eight wonderful, heart-warming episodes. Each episode introduces a variety of rice side dishes (gohan no otomo), and they all look absolutely delicious. As a reader, I am satisfied in every sense. Recipes are also included, and you will want to try out each one after reading the manga. For me, delicious rice is a great consolation in times of trouble: it warms my heart and gives me comfort. I hope that this comic, too, will become a source of warmth and support for all of you.

Highlights of the Faculty of Arts and Letters

Tohoku University students choose their major during their second year. This means that for the first year you will be able to select whatever courses you like out of the General Education curriculum and then decide what you want to do and which department to join. Each of the twenty five departments is unique, and courses will differ greatly depending on your choice.
If we take a negative view, we could say this system might leave students little time to master their major unless they choose quickly. However, we can also say that this initial chaos increases the number of possible choices and opportunities. Students gain the time to explore unfamiliar areas and determine which of those they would like to study further. You can try everything and expand your knowledge of various disciplines during your first year — and then devote yourself to your favorite subjects. Here lies the appeal of the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

To everyone aiming for the Faculty of Arts and Letters

You should develop your strengths. It is better than forcing yourself to do something you are not good at. You have more chances to learn and gain confidence when doing something you enjoy. Those who want to join the Faculty of Arts and Letters might not be good at natural sciences. That said, you are bound to discover something you can actually do as you study. Then you should try to polish that particular skill. You will enjoy your classes if you find out something you can work on, regardless of the subject.
Some of you might also worry that it is hard for students of our Faculty to find a job. Well, it is true that your professional knowledge will probably come in handy only in drunken debates. But you will learn much more than specific facts during your time here — furthermore, your major is not the only thing that matters when you are hunting for a job.
As a student of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, you are bound to study language. Since language is such an indispensable part of our lives (no matter how great a scientific discovery, it will remain meaningless unless you can explain it to the world), four years of studying it will not be in vain. You do not enter university to get a job; you enter university to learn things you will not have time for after you start working. So I want you to join our faculty with confidence and determination.