Skip to 0 minutes and 23 secondsWelcome to Keio University’s Institute of Oriental Classics. My name is HORIKAWA Takashi and I will be the main educator for this course. The Institute houses a large number of pre-19th century texts, more than half of which are in Chinese, traditionally called kanbun in Japan, or, “the writing of the Han”. Japan is located at the eastern end of the Eurasian continent and developed its culture largely by importing the more sophisticated cultures of China and the Korean kingdoms. Texts played an extremely important role in this process, so much so that it would be impossible to truly understand Japanese culture without considering the role played by texts from the Asian mainland.
Skip to 1 minute and 27 seconds In this course, we will explore how Chinese culture was received, absorbed, and adapted in Japan using a number of specific texts from continental Asia as case studies. In the first week, we will cover the period 5th to 14th centuries C.E., paying special attention to the role played by texts from China and Korea, including Buddhist works, at the time of the emergence and consolidation of the early Japanese state and language. In the second week, we will focus on one of the most influential Chinese works of all time, the Analects of Confucius - in Chinese, “Lunyu”, and in Japanese “Rongo”. We will study how it was first introduced to Japan and its impact on Japanese culture.
Skip to 2 minutes and 24 seconds In the third and final week, we will cover the period 14th to 19th centuries, focusing in particular on the activities of Zen monks and Confucian scholars who were key players in the reception of books from the continent. Pre-modern Zen temples played a role similar to that of the modern university. We will examine the research activity conducted at these institutions and how it compared in the books that they published. Through this course, you will learn about how Japan, while being profoundly influenced by continental cultures and Chinese culture in particular, was able to adapt and develop these influences to create its own distinctive culture. The course will also provide an excellent opportunity to think about cross-cultural interaction from a world history perspective.
Skip to 3 minutes and 25 secondsSo please join us for this exciting journey through books between cultures.