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September 11th–19th, 2012
Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Voßstraße 2, Heidelberg

Organisers:     Dr. Anna Andreeva
                      Dr. David Mervart

Hosted by:      Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’ at the                                   University of Heidelberg

Sponsored by: Japan Foundation and Toshiba International Foundation


Covering the medieval and early modern periods, this summer school is designed to help the participants cope with the challenges posed by pre-modern Japanese texts, in their different genres, stylistic and linguistic varieties, and material forms. The aim is to facilitate the work with primary sources in pre-modern registers (like kanbun or sōrōbun) at the level requisite for the independent work of a junior scholar.

We hope to attract an audience of advanced graduate students and postdoctoral researchers of all disciplinary backgrounds within Japanese studies. The language of the workshop will be English and Japanese. While some working knowledge of Japanese is indispensable, we are open to considering applicants from other branches of East Asian studies (for example Sinologists interested in improving their grasp on the Japanese system of glossing classical Chinese).


The programme offers a series of intensive seminar-style sessions of close reading of select texts (a downloadable reader will be provided in advance). Each session is prefaced by an introductory presentation by one of the lecturers on the assigned text and its historical and philological context. The sessions are spread over eight busy days which are divided evenly into two four-day blocks concentrating on the medieval and early-modern texts respectively. The Sunday half-way through the course is left free to provide a breathing space and allow time for extra-curricular activities as well as informal exchange with the lecturers.


The detailed programme of the event is now available for download here.


The summer school draws on the well-established Heidelberg expertise in East
Asian philology as well as on the input of several outstanding scholars from Japan and Europe:


Professor Emeritus at Ritsumeikan University and Guest Professor at Yokohama City University. An experienced practitioner of the medieval cultural history, he has published among others (in Japanese): The Environment and Culture of Medieval Kyoto (1992) or On the Culture of the Muromachi Period: Aristocracy and Warriors in Cultural History (2008).


Associate Professor at Yokohama City University (Kanagawa), who specialises in cultural and religious history of pre-modern Japan. Her publications include a book-length monograph investigating the relationship between esoteric Buddhism and the rituals of imperial enthronement in medieval Japan.


Chair of Japanese studies in the Department of Far East of Charles University in Prague. He has published widely on the economic and political discourse in Tokugawa Japan and taught advanced courses on the reading of Tokugawa-period handwritten administrative and legislative archives, komonjo.


Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) at the Graduate School of Law and Politics, University of Tokyo. He has written on early modern Japanese intellectual history and his monograph on the eighteenth-century scholar Mizutari Hakusen is forthcoming.


Research Project Leader at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe’ and lecturer in the East Asian Studies Department, University of Heidelberg. She works on cultural history of premodern Japan, with particular interest to the fields of the history of Japanese religions and history of medicine. (profile)


Assistant Professor at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe’ and lecturer in the East Asian Studies Department, University of Heidelberg. His research interests include intellectual history of the Tokugawa period and its broader Eurasian connections. (profile)


No tuition fees apply, but we charge confirmed participants a symbolic registration fee of €50 to cover the preparation of the course materials and part of the overhead costs.

We cannot provide accommodation for the duration of the workshop, but we are happy to help the successful applicants locate accessible venues in Heidelberg.You are welcome to contact our events support team for more on the logistics of your travel and stay:

We may be able to offer a limited number of small travel grants to contribute toward the costs of your transport, especially to overseas participants. If you feel you might be in need of such an assistance, please, indicate so in the application below.


The historical university town of Heidelberg is situated between the natural park Odenwald and the Rhine valley, in the wine-growing region of Germany. The cities of Frankfurt, Strasbourg, Stuttgart and Mannheim are all within easy reach. Frankfurt International Airport is within an hour by ICE train or the airport shuttle.

On the sidelines of the academic programme, we shall invite the participants to join us for an excursion into the East Asian department and libraries of Heidelberg University, for a day-off trip around places of interest within the region, or for a local beer- or wine-tasting.


The deadline for applications has now passed. Thank you for your interest.

With questions you can contact us at


Admitted participants can log in here to access the course materials.

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