News & Topics
A Message from the Director, Dr. Robert CAMPBELL
 I have been given the honor of succeeding Imanishi Yuichiro as director-general of the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL). I am no stranger to this institution: It was in the latter half of the 90’s that I first worked here in an academic capacity. Now, after an absence of seventeen years, during which time I worked at the University of Tokyo, I have at last returned to my old haunt. While I was away, NIJL changed not only its location but its overall appearance, as well. Many of the academics who used to work here, likewise, have since moved on. More strikingly, however, are a number of social and technological changes, which have effectively transformed the world of literary studies, leaving little traces of its past. There are those who lament what seems to be a growing alienation of literature from society: young people are no longer interested in reading books; fewer children are being born; the Internet, wide spread as it now is, threatens to make the practice of reading books obsolete. I, however, remain optimistic. There has, I would argue, never been a better time than the present in which to partake of the rich stores of literary and cultural knowledge handed down to us through the long history of the Japanese humanities.
 A full understanding of Japanese literature―a history spanning some 1,300 years―is not a feat that will be accomplished by Japan alone. Since its ancient beginnings, Japan has developed within a larger East Asian cultural sphere. Throughout the middle ages, Japan proceeded to foster its own unique culture, though not without adopting and deftly adapting various cultural innovations gleaned from other nations. The early-modern period, in turn, saw Japan engage actively with people and cultures originating in Europe and North America. What we now refer to as literature, or better still, the humanities, included, at least up until the early modern period, a wide variety of subjects, such as history, intellectual history, military strategy and the martial arts, religion, and art history.
 Japanese literature traditionally embraced within itself numerous modes of artistic expression. Elements of traditional oral storytelling coupled with vivid illustrations appealed to the senses in all sorts of ways. If we think of empathy, the ability to see the world through another’s eyes, as the heart of moral cultivation, it must be agreed that Japanese literature not only fosters but profoundly deepens the capacity for us to be empathetic towards others. All people inherently seek to behave empathetically, to engage in meaningful connections with others and with the world at large. However, as history has taught us, there is nothing so deleterious as that sort of empathy which is not firmly wed to reason and the critical investigation of facts. If I should be asked to define the mission of NIJL, I personally would say that we are here to examine the written records left to us by previous generations , and discover therein the various boundaries between imagination and reality. Once we have managed to clearly define these boundaries, we must then find ways to adopt these findings into the world of our modern sensibilities and intellectual environment.
 For the last three years, all members of NIJL have been working together diligently in order to further our large-scale collaborative frontier project, namely, the Project to Build an International Collaborative Research Network for Pre-Modern Japanese Texts. This project would not have been possible without many years dedicated to the collection of relevant material and the construction of databases of articles relating to the study of Japanese literature. The ultimate goal of this project is to make pre-modern Japanese texts freely available as open data to modern readers both in and outside of Japan. Some three-hundred thousand titles are in the process of being collected, most of which will include tags in order to facilitate research. This project is unique insofar as it calls upon researchers to deal with both the form and content of a huge amount of primary sources produced within a single language, namely, Japanese. I am confident that continued efforts of this sort in the domain of pre-modern literary studies will facilitate a more dynamic interaction with modern society.
 In the midst of an ever-changing academic landscape, NIJL aims to fulfill its mission as one of several Inter-University Research Institute Corporations. Naturally, there are a number of issues we have yet to fully address: our website must be transformed into a multilingual space; we must consider how to deepen our collaborative efforts with scholars not specialized in Japanese literature; cultural creativity must be promoted more actively; a program is required to educate literary interpreters. I sincerely hope that all of you will be kind enough to share with us your insights and cooperate with our efforts throughout the coming years.
Robert Campbell
National Institute of Japanese Literature
National Institutes for the Humanities
Dec 1966 The Science Council of Japan advices the Japanese government to establish a Center for Research in Japanese Language and Literature (tentative title)
Sep 1970 The Council for Science and Technology advices the minister of education to establish the Center for Research in Japanese Literature (tentative title) as a matter of urgent concern
Apr 1971 Funding is allocated to the Ministry of Science, Education, and Culture for the purpose of investigating the maintenance cost of facilities required for the storage of Japanese literary materials
May 1972 The National Institute of Japanese Literature (official name) is established, consisting of a management division, a documents and materials division, and a research and information division
Jun 1977 Inaugural opening ceremony is held
Jul 1977 Library services commence
Apr 1979 Library services division established
Apr 1987 On-line search engine for the Index of Microfilm Materials and Pre-modern Japanese Manuscripts Stored in NIJL made available
Apr 1992 On-line search engine for the Index of Articles on Japanese Literature made available
Nov 2002 Ceremony held in commemoration of NIJL’s thirtieth anniversary
Apr 2003 The Department of Japanese Studies, School of Cultural and Social Studies is established at the Graduate University for Advanced Studies as a foundational institution for research
Apr 2004 Internal organization of NIJL is restructured in consequence of becoming a corporate member of Inter-University Research Institute Corporation, Institutes for the Humanities
Mar 2008 NIJL is moved to its current location in Midori-cho, Tachikawa City
Apr 2013 Center for Pre-modern Japanese Texts Database is established
Apr 2014 The Center for Pre-modern Japanese Texts Database is renamed the Center for Collaborative Re-search in Pre-modern Japanese Texts
Activities Overview
 The institute performs specialized research studies of Japanese literature and related materials that have been collected domestically and overseas. It also creates collections using photographs and originals, organizes and pre-serves sources and bibliographies that have been obtained, and maintains a base for the study of Japanese literature and related fields.
 It also presents these things in various ways to domestic and overseas users, and passes them along to society through means such as exhibits and lecture meetings.
Research and Collection
 In collaboration with approximately 190 researchers from universities throughout Japan, institute personnel travel to the sites of collections of Japanese literature and related original materials (such as manuscripts and published editions), and engage in research studies that center on bibliographical matters.
Based on such research studies, original materials approved for photographing are collected through full-volume pho-tography as micro negative film or digital images.
 In addition, since 2005, collaborative investigations have been performed, based on agreements entered into with oth-er universities and institutions.
Public Inspections of Documents
 Allowing perusal of documents and providing material copies of the same are services offered by the institute's library. Through the interlibrary access (mutual use) sys-tem, it is possible for users even from remote locations to utilize these and other services. Those who are not affili-ated with any university can request material copies di-rectly via mail or fax.
 In addition, collection related surveys done by telephone and reference questions submitted through writing, fax or e-mail are also accepted.
Library Guide
Library Guid
 This project, headed by NIJL, is aimed at collaborating with universities and other research institutions both inside and outside Japan in order to digitalize our institution’s collection of three-hundred items and, by incor-porating this data into our pre-existing bibliographical database, to create a comprehensive database of Japa-nese pre-modern texts. Ultimately, these digital images will serve as a platform upon which we may construct an international collaborative network. Such a network would promote research that transcends the traditional boundaries between academic disciplines and allow for interdisciplinary work limited not merely to the field of Japanese literature, but embracing all of the humanities as a whole.
By Tama Intercity Monorail:
Get off at JR Tachikawa Station, make switch to Tama Monorail Tachikawa-Kita Station,
get off at Takamatsu Station, and walk 10 minutes.
By Tachikawa bus:
From JR Tachikawa Station's north entrance, board bus at boarding area 2,
get off at "Tachikawa Gakujutsu Plaza," and walk 1 minutes.
From JR Tachikawa Station's north entrance, board bus at boarding area 1,
get off at "Tachikawa Shiyakusho," and walk 3 minutes.
From JR Tachikawa Station's north entrance, board bus at boarding area 2,
get off at "Saibansho-mae," and walk 5 minutes.
On foot:
From JR Tachikawa Station, walk about 25 minutes.
By car:
From Chuo Expressway's "Kunitachi Fuchu IC," drive about 15 minutes.
*Free parking available
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