31220 - Japanese Philology 1

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Anna Specchio

  • Credits 9

  • SSD L-OR/22

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme First cycle degree programme (L) in Foreign Languages and Literature (cod. 0979)

  • Teaching resources on Virtuale

  • Course Timetable from Sep 27, 2021 to Dec 16, 2021


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education Gender equality Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of this course students will be able to deepen the knowledge of Japanese Language and Culture from the ancient era until contemporary times. Moreover, they will be able to manage texts in contemporary Japanese which show the language evolution throughout the time.

Course contents

Part One: Outlines of the history of language, writing and manuscripts in Japan.

The course of formation of the Japanese language will be addressed in order to highlight its characteristics and transformations through the centuries. Particular attention will be given to writing styles. An overview on manuscript literature will also be provided, in relation to which original manuscripts made available in open access through some online archives will be shown in digital format in order to introduce students to the importance of Digital Humanities.

Part Two: The Genji Monogatari and other pieces in modern and contemporary languages

During the course of the lessons, retranslations of the Genji monogatari will be discussed, and Yamato Waki's manga will be analyzed.

Classes will also feature experts who will introduce the study and translation of other texts. For more details, see VIRTUALE

The syllabus detailing the topics covered and the bibliographical combinations will be available online among the course materials at the beginning of the course.


Mandatory critical sources are marked with an asterisk. The others, on the other hand, represent strongly recommended insights.

Part A:


  1. *Calvetti Paolo (1999), Introduzione alla storia della lingua giapponese, Napoli, Istituto Universitario Orientale.
  2. Bjarke Frellesvig (2018). "The History of the Language". In Yoko Hasegawa (a cura di), The Cambridge Handbook of Japanese Linguistics, Cambridge University Press, pp. 15-39.
  3. *Burns Susan (2015), "The Politics of Philology in Japan. Ancient Text, Language, and Japanese Identity". In Sheldon Pollok et. al., World Philology, Harvard University Press, pp. 245-263
  4. *Andrea Maurizi (a cura di, 2012), Introduzione allo studio della lingua giapponese, Carocci Editore (CAPP 1-2-3)
  5. *Cristian Pallone (2014). "Some Considerations about Motoori Norinaga’s Notions on Japanese Vocalism". In Keidan A (a cura di), TheThe Study of South Asia between Antiquity and Modernity - Parallels and Comparisons, pp. 85-109
  6. *Bonaventura Ruperti (2006) "Forme e materiali, scritture e stili: la letteratura giapponese in manoscritto", in G. Boccali e M. Scarpari (a cura di), Scritture e codici nelle culture dell'Asia: Giappone, Cina, Tibet, India, Cafoscarina, pp. 15-33.
  7. *Masayoshi Shibatani (1990), The Languages of Japan, Cambridge University Press, pp. 89-139.
  8. *Seeley, Christopher (2000), A History of Writing in Japan, Hawaii University Press
  9. Slide del corso

Part  B

  1. *Luca Milasi (a cura di 2011), Yamato Waki - Non farò sogni effimeri, Hoepli.
  2. Other texts in Japanese which will be uploaded on Virtuale

In addition to the lectures, seminars and other initiatives may be scheduled and will be part of the examination program.

Teaching methods

Frontal lessons. Active student participation in class discussion is strongly encouraged.

Assessment methods

Oral examination.


During the test, which will cover the entire course programme, knowledge, supported by a good argumentative ability, of the individual topics addressed will be verified. Students will be shown one of the texts dealt with in the second module and will be asked to read and translate orally a couple of sentences. In addition to knowledge of the contents, the expressive properties in terms of mastery of the specific lexicons of the subject will also be evaluated.
The overall knowledge of the topics, together with an excellent ability of critical analysis and mastery in the use of reference sources will be evaluated as excellence; a manual knowledge without solid interpretative support will be evaluated in a positive but not high way. The proven and repeated difficulties to contextualize the sources and answers that are not in-depth or confusing will result in a negative evaluation.


The two parts cannot be splitted into different exames.

Teaching tools

During the course slides and videos will be shown, and some documents available in open-access on online archives will be consulted. Slides and other useful resources will be made available on the IOL page of the course, to which students are invited to enrol.

Office hours

See the website of Anna Specchio