ONISHI Ikuo Professor
Research Subject

Russian Realism, Ivan Goncharov.

Research Fields
Russian Literature
Faculty - Division / Research Group / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Research Group of Cultural Representations / Laboratory of European and American Literature
Graduate School - Division / Department / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Department of Cultural Representations / Laboratory of European and American Literature
School - Course / Laboratory
Division of Humanities and Human Sciences / Course of Linguistics and Literature / Laboratory of European and American Literature

Office/Lab: 411
TEL: +81-11-706-4090
FAX: +81-11-706-4090
Email: ions(at)let.hokudai.ac.jp
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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 European and American LiteratureONISHI Ikuo Professor

A full 100 pages devoted to describing a single day in the protagonist’s life: The minor but classic Ivan Goncharov

The 19th century was the Golden Age of Russian literature. Among famous literary giants such as Dostoevsky and Chekhov is Goncharov, who is less well known in Japan. Oblomov, his representative work, is known for its detailed descriptions of characters, devoting 100 of its 400 pages to describing a single day in the life of the protagonist.

Russia in those days had entered a period of transition to the modern, science-based world. It seems likely that natural science’s penchant for observation was incorporated into literature, affecting the depiction of a protagonist who endlessly mulls the proper relationship between the individual and society. Russians, who felt trapped politically, economically and culturally, must have been fascinated by “the small world of the protagonist”. I cordially hope the profound works of Goncharov will gain more popularity among young people in modern Japan.

Red Square in Moscow, which Professor Onishi visited in 2007, when he participated in a symposium
Saint Basil's Cathedral, whose colorful decorations are beautiful

Russia, a country whose self-image is unclear:
Countries in the North share literary settings

Russia is a country that’s uncertain about whether it belongs to Europe or to Asia. Despite being located in the east of Europe, it has much in common with a Japan that has become increasingly westernized after the Meiji Era. Above all, Hokkaido, which is a Northern land as is Russia, is blessed with an environment appropriate for research that enables us to share scenes in common with Russian literature of snowy vistas and white birches.

Reading a novel is synonymous with reviewing one’s relationship with the world by retracing the relationship between humans and the world that the author depicts. In novels, I’d like you to discover characters and propositions that you empathize with, and I’d like you to develop elaborate, original interpretations.


While I of course find research on literary legends such as Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy interesting, I believe Russian literature and culture open our eyes to an even more profound and affluent world. Learning about them will be instrumental in expanding your horizon.