SASAKI Kei Professor
Research Subject

I am trying to analyze and interpret the New Testament of Christianity, especially the Gospel of John, using a relatively new method. In the field of religion, I am exploring what religion is and what kind of study the science of religion is through the review of the achievements of the Romanian religious scholar Ioan Petru Culianu, who was tragically killed at a young age.

Research Fields
John's Gospel, New Testament, Christianity, Religion
Faculty - Division / Research Group / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Research Group of Philosophy and Religious Studies / Laboratory of Religious Studies and Indian Philosophy
Graduate School - Division / Department / Laboratory
Division of Humanities / Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies / Laboratory of Religious Studies and Indian Philosophy
School - Course / Laboratory
Division of Humanities and Human Sciences / Course of Philosophy and Cultural Studies / Laboratory of Religious Studies and Indian Philosophy

Office/Lab: 612
TEL: +81-11-706-4021
FAX: +81-11-706-4021
Email: ksasaki(at)
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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 Religious Studies and Indian PhilosophySASAKI Kei Professor

The chaotic period of Christianity’s establishment and Gnosticism

The starting point of my research on the New Testament was the Gospel According to John, which opens with the sentence, “In the beginning was the Word…” Of the four Gospels, which record the sayings of Jesus Christ, I was attracted to the Gospel According to John, as it contains a host of abstract expressions and suggestive remarks. It’s Gnosticism that’s believed to have had a profound connection with this Gospel. Gnosticism, a school of religious thought that thrived during the chaotic period of Christianity’s establishment, was later viewed as heretical by the Catholic Church, and still remains to be unraveled. My graduate students and I have completed a Japanese translation of The Tree of Gnosis by the religious scholar Ioan Petru Culianu. I’m convinced that this translation will play a vital role in research on Culianu.

The oldest papyrus copy of the New Testament (John 18: 31-33, 8.9×6 cm): Reproduced courtesy of the University Librarian and Director, the John Rylands University Library, and The University of Manchester. Hokkaido University Graduate School of Letters and The University of Manchester have a departmental wide agreement.
In the 21st century, The Bible has been computerized in many ways, including iPhone apps and BibleWorks (seen above).
Professor Sasaki explains a copy of the Greek Bible in class.

Christians account for a third of the world’s population: Acquire knowledge to survive in the global age.

Language acquisition is a basic part of various studies involving countries overseas. Those who major in biblical studies are required to learn English and Greek as undergraduates, and in graduate school, students need to master the original language of the materials that are being studied, such as Hebrew or Coptic. In-depth interpretation of literature requires an understanding of the original language. Both undergraduate and graduate students are highly advised to tackle language acquisition.

Currently, Christians account for a third of the world’s population. Understanding these Christians, whom ambitious students from Hokkaido University are sure to meet in any country, is necessary for survival in the global age, and it contributes to mutual understanding. I’m sure you can have a unique perspective precisely by being a Japanese who loves Christmas but who is outside of the Christian tradition itself. If you’re interested in this field, regardless of the course, let’s study together!


Hokkaido University is a national university that has had a deep connection with Christianity since Dr. Clark was appointed as vice-principal. As Protestant Christians representative of Japan in the past, we can call to mind the names of students who graduated from Sapporo Agricultural College, the forerunner of Hokkaido University, early on such as Kanzo Uchimura and Inazo Nitobe. It can be said that some Christian influences are also passed down in the form of academic research on Christianity to our laboratory of religious studies and Indian philosophy in our Graduate School and School. Why don’t you deeply explore the Bible and Christian history/thought in our laboratory with an abundance of resources related to Christianity?