- Professor at Institute of Japan Studies
- Classical Japanese Literature
Let's travel the fertile world of the classics together!
The topic of my research is waka poetry of Japan's medieval period (12th to 16th centuries). I am interested in medieval waka poetry as intellectual literature which recreated the classical world before it into a new world. I aim to understand this from a historical perspective and also explore how contemporary people responded to it.
The reason that the classics are still read today is surely due to their outstanding quality. In order to interpret such works precisely, in my lectures we look at them not only in printed type but also in a form close to the original texts. Both students researching Japanese literature and those in fields related to Japanese language--even those who are focused on topics in the modern period--should get acquainted with hand-copied manuscript books (shahon) and woodblock printed books (hanpon). I am very keen for students to become aware of the kinds of paper and the kinds of characters that were used, and what forms such works took in the classical period. As part of my seminar class we also go to an exhibition of classical texts about twice a year to be able to look at originals that we do not normally have the opportunity to see.
I will be teaching classes in "Japanese Culture Studies" and "Research in Comparative Literature and Culture," for students across both masters' programs. As the Japan Studies program aims to look at Japan from an international perspective, I would like students from outside of Japan who have never been in contact with classical Japanese, and Japanese students who have forgotten the classical Japanese they learned in high school to be able to read such works as an introduction (or reintroduction) to classical Japanese. Even if they do not reach a level at which they are able to read the texts with ease, the experience of working with such classical documents will help students to become aware of comparisons, contrasts, and other new viewpoints in their fields of specialization.
There is a broad range of fields related to classical Japanese, and I also do not limit myself to the medieval period--in the past year, I have been concentrating on a commentary for an anthology of Masaoka Shiki's poetry. My students are also involved in research across a range of topics. I have been teaching classical Japanese here at TUFS for almost 30 years now, and I am happy when I get news of graduates who are highly active in research in their own countries. In fact, some of the international students that I am supervising now are students of those graduates. The Japan Studies program is unique in that students from Japan and overseas, from various different cultural backgrounds, study classical Japanese literature together and tackle research that allows them to make use of their respective strengths.