Department of Cultural Representations

The Department of Cultural Representations is made up of the following four laboratories: the Laboratory of European and American Literature, the Laboratory of Pre-modern Japanese Studies, the Laboratory of Sinology, and the Laboratory of Visual and Modern Culture. This department aims to support students in their research and education by providing them a broad view of culture and teaching them about topics as diverse as literature, the history of thought, visual culture, and popular culture. A variety of works are available from a multitude of regions in many different languages, including English, French, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Classical Western Texts. By attending to these research topics, we aim to concretely and theoretically analyze and evaluate the plethora of works that humans have created to express themselves. While doing so, we aim to base our work in a diverse set of critical, visual, and cultural theories. We warmly welcome all students who wish to pursue research on language, culture, and visual media.

Laboratory of European and American Literature

Here, we work to thoroughly comprehend European and American literature. On the one hand, faculty members specialize in Classic Western Literature, French Literature, Russian Literature, and American/English literature. On the other hand, they are methodologically divided between specializing in hermeneutic research, historical cultural studies, comparative literature, and literary theory. In this way, we weave a complex web of thoughts, in which imagination and creativity come together to take us on a journey to brand new literary worlds.

Message from Laboratory

The laboratory of European and American literature awaits students who are motivated to seriously tackle texts.

The “Mémorial” of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), which is said to have been written by him when he encountered God.

Faculty List

  • SENAHA Eijun Professor
    Research Fields: English and Gender Studies
  • TAKEUCHI Yasuhiro Professor
    Research Fields: American Literature
  • TAKEUCHI Shuichi Professor
    Research Fields: French literature
  • TODA Satoshi Professor
    Research Fields: History of ancient Christianity, Literature of the Christian Orient (ancient and medieval), Classical philology
  • OGURA Hikaru Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Russian Literature, Polish Literature, Comparative Literature
  • MIYASHITA Yayoi Assistant Professor
    Research Fields: Shakespearean Drama, Narrative Theory, Medieval English Literature

Laboratory of Pre-modern Japanese Literature and Culture

In the Pre-Modern Japanese Literature and Culture Laboratory, we academically analyze classical Japanese literature and culture in order to find the unique cultural heritages it has to offer the world. Whether it be a study of the earliest classics such as the Kojiki and Manyoshu, or more a more recent study of Chikamatsu, Saikaku, and Basho, we support students as they research topics that match with their own interests.

Message from Laboratory

The laboratory of pre-modern Japanese literature and culture deals with classical Japanese literature and culture covering ancient to early modern times. The word “classic” is an indicator for evaluating the work of specific texts and words. Classical values serve as a foundation for creating new values, which is part of long-standing literary activities. The classics presented in front of us have been selected as valuable following the screening of past classical works. At the same time, it can be safely said that we are in the middle of activities aimed at renewing their value. Our research involves discovering and questioning the real value of research subjects, determining their original form, and identifying evaluation procedures. In our laboratory with a free atmosphere, individual members select intriguing research themes and pursue their research while interacting with each other to acquire inspiration. Let’s shed new light on epoch-making studies!

Faculty List

  • KANAZAWA Hideyuki Professor
    Research Fields: Ancient Japanese literature
  • MINAMI Yoko Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Japanese early-modern literature
  • NOMOTO Tosei Associate Professor
    Research Fields: narrative literature
  • KOBAYASHI Tadamasa Lecturer
    Research Fields: Study of Japanese HEIAN literature

Laboratory of Sinology

At the Laboratory of Sinology, we research a broad range of themes such as Chinese thought, language, literature, and other topics related to China or countries in the East-Asian Cultural Sphere. Many students have short or long term experiences studying abroad in China or Taiwan. Moreover, in this department there are also many students who have come from China, allowing for an environment in which everyone can experience positive intercultural exchange.

Message from Laboratory

The laboratory of Sinology has an array of books, magazines, and dictionaries related to Chinese thought, languages, and culture on its bookshelves. Students spend their time preparing for lessons and gathering necessary information to complete papers in this room. They also publish their own research journals and coterie magazines, giving publicity to their research contents. We truly welcome those who like reading or consulting a dictionary, wish to hold a book club, and are interested in creating magazines. Please just take a look at our laboratory.

Bookshelves in the laboratory of Sinology
Chinese philosophy and Taotie (monster in ancient Chinese mythological creature): research journals published by our laboratory
Research journal published by seminar members and students’ coterie magazine Ka-rin (the fire ring)

Faculty List

  • TAMURA Yoko Professor
    Research Fields: Chinese performing arts and literature
  • YUHAZU Kazuyori Professor
    Research Fields: Scholarship and thought in ancient China
  • KONDO Hiroyuki Professor
    Research Fields: Chinese philosophy, A history of philosophical theories of <i>Zhou-yi</i>
  • XIONG Zheng Lecturer
    Research Fields: Classical Chinese literature and Chinese philosophy

Laboratory of Visual and Modern Culture

The Visual and Modern Culture Laboratory focuses primarily on modern and contemporary Japanese literature, as well as cinema from both Japan and around the globe. Here, we engage in concrete theoretical research on contemporary visual culture *including animation, manga, photography, and subculture) and thought. We aim to continue pursuing new standards for theories on literature, film, and thought as we work at the forefront of the most advanced research on our modern world.

Message from Laboratory

The laboratory of visual and modern culture comprises two major categories: (1) Japanese modern literature and (2) image and representation studies. (1) The former category encompasses a wide variety of eras from the Meiji Era (1868 – 1911) to modern times as well as an array of genres ranging from novels, poems and criticisms to pure literature, mysteries and light novels. (2) The latter category addresses any region, any time, and any genre including animation and documentaries with superb faculty members specializing in Japanese, Western and Chinese movies, respectively.

The laboratory invariably pays close attention to global theoretical trends including French modern philosophy, feminism/gender criticisms, analytic aesthetics, and fiction philosophy. It dynamically pursues these themes based on theoretical research while emphasizing historical, specific verification and interpretation.

To create opportunities for the publication and presentation of research outcomes, we have organized the Society for Hokkaido University Visual and Modern Culture, which plays a central role in hosting annual conferences and several lecture sessions, publishing the annual academic journal Layer: Image and Expression, and providing students with opportunities for presentation, thereby serving as a driving force for diverse research.

We look forward to welcoming highly motivated students.

Faculty List

  • YING Xiong Professor
    Research Fields: Image and Representation Studies
  • OSHINO Takeshi Professor
    Research Fields: Modern Japanese literature, Cultural Studies
  • MIZUTAMARI Mayumi Professor
    Research Fields: Gender, History of Thought
  • KAWASAKI Kohei Associate Professor
    Research Fields: Visual culture studies, Japanese film studies