KANAZAWA Hideyuki Professor
Research Subject

Study of ancient Japanese literature including Kojiki and Man’yo-shu.

Research Fields
Ancient Japanese literature
Faculty - Division / Research Group / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Research Group of Cultural Representations / Laboratory of Pre-modern Japanese Literature and Culture
Graduate School - Division / Department / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Department of Cultural Representations / Laboratory of Pre-modern Japanese Literature and Culture
School - Course / Laboratory
Division of Humanities and Human Sciences / Course of Linguistics and Literature / Laboratory of Pre-modern Japanese Literature and Culture

Office/Lab: 414

Foreign exchange students who want to be research students (including Japanese residents) should apply for the designated period in accordance with the “Research Student Application Guidelines”. Even if you send an email directly to the staff, there is no reply.
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Laboratory of Pre-modern Japanese Literature and CultureKANAZAWA Hideyuki Professor

Outline the Japanese who embraced the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) as a Japanese classic

The Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and the Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan), major works of ancient Japanese literature, are written in Chinese characters. The two classics differ significantly: The former was written with some attempts to delineate Japanese words in Sino-Japanese kanji characters in a time before hiragana (a set of Japanese phonetic characters) or katakana (a different set of Japanese phonetic characters), while the latter was written in kanbun (annotated Classical Chinese), a lingua franca of the time. Norinaga Motoori, a scholar of Japanese literature, greatly valued the Kojiki based on his belief that our ancestors’ experiences and minds could only be depicted by the language of ourselves – Japanese, and he wrote the Kojikiden (Commentaries on the Kojiki), which greatly affected subsequent study of Japanese literature. What’s the nature of the Japanese, whose identity has been forged by embracing the Kojiki as a Japanese classic since then? To carry out research on Japanese classics is an attempt to answer such a question.

Cherish objectivity and a scientific perspective: My lectures provide an introduction to the world of research.

I specialized in ecology before I started researching the Kojiki. While expanding my perspective from creatures and nature, then to humans and nature and on to humans and cultures, I finally came to specialize in my current research: the Kojiki. I believe that in whatever discipline you might choose, research requires objectivity and a scientific perspective. Hokkaido University, whose students are highly motivated, is an ideal environment for researchers and educators. In my lectures, I’m pleased to introduce the latest issues in my research discipline, as well as to share opportunities for you to experience the profound world of research.


Written words, which sometimes last far longer than those who write them, come together to create the world of writings. Humans live not only in the real world. Among all the creatures on earth, only humans lead a dual life between the real world and the other space—the world of writings.

Even if humans should perish tomorrow, the world of writings would continue to exist as long as written words survive. It embraces numerous questions and answers, love and adventures as well as beauty and awe. Humans live their lives while occasionally joining hands with such an independent world, sharply confronting it at times and being controlled by it without even realizing it in most cases.

Delving into the relationship between the world of writings and humans and exploring its meaning and value for humans—this is exactly the role played by literature studies. My specialty discipline—ancient Japanese literature research—deals with the period when the world of writings was created in Japan through Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan) and Manyoshu (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), etc. The world of writings which later grew dramatically and spread braches such as dynastic style literature, medieval yokyoku (noh song), or early modern and modern literary arts, eventually surrounded us. Why don’t we work together to examine how all of this began?