Kokugakuin University

Miriam Cooper

Overview of Kokugakuin University

Kokugakuin University, located in Tokyo, Japan, is a renowned institution dedicated to the study of Japanese culture, religion, and society. Established in 1882, it is one of Japan’s oldest private universities, recognized for its commitment to preserving and promoting traditional Japanese knowledge. With a rich history, a vibrant campus culture, and a focus on interdisciplinary learning, Kokugakuin University provides students with a unique educational experience that nurtures their understanding of Japanese heritage and prepares them to become cultural ambassadors.

Founding History

Kokugakuin University has a long and storied history dating back to its establishment as Kokugakuin Gakusha in 1882. It was founded by the Kokugakuin Society, a group of scholars dedicated to the study and preservation of traditional Japanese culture and religion. The society aimed to educate future generations about Japan’s rich cultural heritage and instill a sense of national identity.

The university’s founding principles emphasized the importance of kokugaku, the study of Japanese culture, language, and religion. It sought to promote a deep appreciation for Japan’s unique traditions and foster individuals who would contribute to the preservation and development of Japanese culture. Today, Kokugakuin University continues to uphold these principles and remains committed to excellence in kokugaku education and research.


Kokugakuin University offers a wide range of departments, covering various fields of study related to Japanese culture, religion, and society. With a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and a deep understanding of Japanese heritage, the university provides students with a comprehensive education. Let’s take a closer look at some of the notable departments available:

  • Faculty of Shinto Studies: This department focuses on the study of Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion. Students explore Shinto rituals, mythology, and the role of Shinto in Japanese society. They gain a deep understanding of Shinto traditions and their significance.
  • Faculty of Japanese Culture: This department delves into the study of Japanese culture, including literature, art, philosophy, and history. Students explore classical Japanese texts, traditional arts, and the cultural development of Japan throughout history.
  • Faculty of Japanese Language and Literature: This department specializes in the study of the Japanese language and literature. Students develop advanced language skills, analyze classical and modern Japanese literature, and explore the nuances of Japanese linguistic expression.
  • Faculty of Comparative Culture: This department compares and contrasts Japanese culture with other cultures around the world. Students examine cultural diversity, intercultural communication, and the impact of globalization on traditional Japanese society.
  • Faculty of International Studies: This department focuses on the study of international relations, with a particular emphasis on Japan’s role in the global context. Students explore Japan’s diplomatic relations, international politics, and global challenges.

These departments represent just a fraction of the diverse range of disciplines available at Kokugakuin University. The university’s commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, traditional knowledge, and cultural preservation creates a dynamic educational environment for students to deepen their understanding of Japanese culture and contribute to its preservation and development.

Courses Offered

Kokugakuin University offers a wide variety of courses designed to cater to students’ interests in Japanese culture, religion, and society. Whether one is pursuing a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree, there are numerous options available. Let’s explore some of the fascinating courses offered at this esteemed institution:

  • Japanese Mythology: In this course, students study the rich mythology of Japan, including tales of gods, spirits, and legendary creatures. They explore the cultural significance of these myths and their influence on various aspects of Japanese society.
  • Traditional Japanese Arts: This course delves into the study of traditional Japanese arts, such as tea ceremony, calligraphy, flower arrangement, and Noh theater. Students gain practical experience in these arts and learn about their historical and cultural contexts.
  • Japanese Linguistics: In this course, students explore the intricacies of the Japanese language, including its grammar, syntax, and semantics. They analyze linguistic features unique to Japanese and investigate language variation and change.
  • Japanese History: This course covers various periods of Japanese history, from ancient times to the modern era. Students examine historical events, social structures, and cultural developments that have shaped Japan’s identity.
  • Intercultural Communication: In this course, students learn about effective communication strategies in intercultural contexts. They explore cultural differences, develop intercultural competence, and gain insights into facilitating positive cross-cultural interactions.

These courses represent just a fraction of the diverse range of options available at Kokugakuin University. Whether one’s passion lies in Shinto studies, Japanese literature, traditional arts, linguistics, or intercultural communication, there are courses tailored to ignite intellectual curiosity and foster a deep understanding of Japanese culture.


Kokugakuin University stands as a symbol of excellence in the study and preservation of Japanese culture, religion, and society. With a rich history and a commitment to kokugaku education and research, it has become a leading institution in Japan and internationally. The university’s diverse departments and extensive range of courses provide students with a comprehensive education that fosters a deep understanding of Japanese heritage, language, and traditions. As Kokugakuin University continues to shape the future through research and education, it empowers students to become cultural ambassadors, contribute to the preservation and development of Japanese culture, and make a meaningful impact on society.

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