Overview of the Faculty of Letters

The University of Tokyo started out in 1877 with four Faculties, of Letters, Law, Science and Medicine. At this point the Faculty of Letters was comprised of two Divisions, one dedicated to History, Philosophy and Politics, and the other to Japanese and Chinese Literatures (please see the section under ‘The History of the Faculty of Letters’ for further reference). Soon the Politics Division was transferred to the Faculty of Law, and the Faculty of Letters came to concentrate on the study of history, philosophy and literature. During the 130 odd years from then till now the Faculty’s scope of teaching and research has been widened to include archaeology, history of art, music, psychology and sociology. Now it has 27 Departments altogether

The Department is the basic unit on which the curriculum and the system of the Faculty are based, and is often referred to as the Office. The Departments vary in their areas of study, traditions and characters, and their independence have been respected as much as possible. A Department is comprised of teaching staff members (Professors, Associate Professors, Assistant Professors and Foreign Teaching Staff) and students (graduate students, undergraduate students and researchers).

The 27 Departments are classified under four Divisions, which are Philosophy and Religion, History, Language and Culture, and Psychology and Sociology. The overviews of the respective Divisions are as follows:

  • Philosophy and Religion: Philosophy, Chinese Philosophy, Indian Philosophy and Buddhist Studies, Ethics, Religious Studies, Aesthetics and Islamic Studies

The division of Philosophy and Religion investigates the legacies of thought and culture in the Occident, China, India, Japan and the Islam etc.

  • History: Japanese History, Oriental History, Occidental History, Archaeology and History of Art

The division of history is devoted to the training of skills for the accurate understanding of historical resources from all over the world such as documents, records, archaeological data and works of art, and furthering the analyses of historical matters.

  • Language and Culture: Linguistics, Japanese Language and Literature, Chinese Language and Literature, Indian Languages and Literatures, English Language and Literature, German Language and Literature, French Language and Literature, Slavic Languages and Literatures, South European Languages and Literatures, Contemporary Literary Studies and Greek and Latin Classics

The division of is Language and Culture dedicated to the scientific investigation of languages and detailed readings of literary texts that would provide us with insights into humanity and various cultures.

  • Psychology and Sociology: Psychology, Social Psychology and Sociology

The division of Psychology and Sociology seeks to illuminate human and social phenomena through methods such as experimentation, research, observation, analysis of resources etc and working on them in terms of theory and verification.