Department of History

Composed of Three Fields--Japanese History, Oriental History and Western History

The Department of History is composed of three fields, Japanese, Oriental and Western History. A distinguishing feature of the education in the Department of History is its demonstrative academic approach. The emphasis is on mastery of methods for moving steadily forward in studies and not being distracted by topicality, along with being equipped with the ability to read and comprehend archival materials and documents. Therefore, the Department of History has adopted small group seminars with an average of ten students for each school year. From the second- year and afterwards, students choose any one of the seminars on Japanese History (Japanese Archaeology, Japanese Ancient History, Japanese Medieval History, Japanese Edo-Period History, Japanese Modern History, Japanese Contemporary History), and Oriental Pre-modern History, Oriental Modern and Contemporary History, Western Premodern History, and Western Modern and Contemporary History, move forward their specialized studies, and summarize the results in their graduation theses. Additionally, inside Boissonade Tower, as independent facilities for the Department of History, a reference library, library stacks and an archaeology materials room are available.

Curriculum of Wide Variety Organized with Focus on Japanese History

In the composition of subjects, emphasis is placed on Japanese History with basic subjects of abundant and varied contents, represented by Introduction to History, where students study the thought and theories of the all-time great historic scholars or philosophers. In addition to Introduction to Japanese History, Introduction to Oriental History and Introduction to Western History, in order to build greater expertise, there are the aforementioned respective seminars, Studies on Archival Materials and Documents, Japanese Paleography, and additionally, classes grouped by era--from Japanese Archaeology to Japanese Contemporary History--are on offer. Introduction to Japanese History is for deepening one’s structural understanding of Japanese History through the politics, economy and culture of Japan from ancient times to modern times. Introduction to Oriental History is for studying the history of East Asia centered on China. Introduction to Western History is for studying from the period of world integration by the Roman Empire to the capitalist system and civil revolution and socialism in modern and contemporary eras. Additionally, for general and multi-dimensional studies, special lectures covering the three fields mentioned above are also offered.

Historiography to Foster Ability to Think Rather than to Memorize

We believe there are many reasons for interest in history to be kindled. Studies of history in the university are motivated by various interests and concerns, by considering archival materials, by aiming at speaking to people through universal logic. We strive to allow students to choose specific areas and times in Japan, Asia and the West, to nurture the ability to read and comprehend and the ability to analyze archival materials, and to possess historiographic methodology. Students restructure history based on determinate historical materials (archival materials), and perform steady historical studies through pursuit of such, in other words, through criticism of such archival materials. New ideas are gleaned from archival materials in many cases.

Genuine Thrill of Making Historic Interpretation on One’s Own

Out of the almost innumerable historic materials, what to choose as of value relies on the judgment of the person studying history, and the concept of historical studies in the university is, at its core, a tense relationship between archival materials and researchers. And this is the very locus of the joy of historical studies. The process of modifying or reversing a long held historic interpretation through secure archival materials is incomparably thrilling. Therein lies the joy--in discovering the questions themselves--not just in solving the given task.