Academic year
2022/2023 Syllabus of previous years
Official course title
Course code
LM009N (AF:363696 AR:187009)
On campus classes
ECTS credits
Degree level
Master's Degree Programme (DM270)
Educational sector code
2nd Semester
Go to Moodle page
This course is part of the curriculum Japan of the master course "Languages and Civilizations of Asia and Northern Africa".
This course contributes to the achievement of the teaching objectives of the master course in the area of language skills and also includes more specific objectives in the fields of cultural and human sciences.
The course aims to provide an understanding of the middle-advanced structures of the historical-literary texts of Premodern Japan, with a particular attention to texts in kanbun (sinitic or classical Chinese) and the various style of Sino-Japanese, through the analysis of primary sources (manuscript or print). A basic introduction to Japanese paleography with the study of a number of variant characters (hentaigana) will be also given. This will deepen the knowledge of Japanese literature and of the changes occurred to the Japanese language after its encounter with the Chinese language.

Knowledge and understanding:
- to know and understand the syntactics, logical, and grammatical structures of various writing systems of premodern Japan, with a focus on kanbun kundoku and hentai kanbun.
- to know useful tools for conducting independently bibliographical and philological research.
- to know and understand the deep relationship between Chinese (Sinitic) and Japanese language and writing.
- to memorize and recognize the principal cursive graphs (kuzushiji) of the phonetic syllabaries.

Apply knowledge and learning:
- analyze and interpret historical and literary documents using concepts and tools that students acquire during the course.
- use bibliographical references in several languages (including Japanese).
- use dictionaries, databases and other resources to do research about the proposed texts.

Make judgments:
- provide critical reviews of the textual and historical-literary phenomena covered by the programme
- subject different types of resources (academic and creative texts) to critical analysis

- express opinions effectively.
- effectively reworking and expressing the views of third parties.

Long-term learning skills
- know how to conduct bibliographic research.
- know how to critically integrate the study of different materials (notes, slides, manuals, creation texts, academic articles).
- be able to read and synthesise materials written in different languages.
Advanced knowledge of modern Japanese.
Good knowledge of classical Japanese grammar.
Basic elements of Kanbun (corresponding to the contents of the course "Classical Japanese Language I").
How were the historical and literary texts written in Pre-modern Japan? What elements of Chinese writing have contributed to the formation of Japanese language and writing? And how were the Sinitic texts coming to Japan from the continent studied?
In this course we will study, through the direct reading of the original texts in their primary sources (manuscripts and printing), the environment and literacy that led to the birth of various writing styles in Japan, from the ancient to the modern period. The aim of the course is to deepen the understanding of Japanese written culture, providing the basic knowledge and skills necessary for reading texts both in kanbun and wabun.
Choose one of the following dictionary of Sino-Japanese (kanwa jiten 漢和辞典):
It is strongly reccomended to buy the digital version for smartphone/tablet.

Other texts and resources will be uploaded on Moodle.
Oral test to verify the ability to read and understand texts in Kanbun and Classical Japanese, usage of dictionaries, understanding of the historical punctuation systems, rudiments of paleography (kuzushiji).
During the test the knowledge of sinitic writing in Japan and of the texts explained during the course will be verified.
During the course the students will read and analyze various types of text, historical and literary, reflecting about their place within the history of Japanese premodern literature and tought.
We will learn methodologies of textual analysis and how to use secondary sources.
We will make extensive use of online resources such as online databases and dictionaries,
Discussion in class and exercises to be carried out at home will be the main teaching method.
Definitive programme.
Last update of the programme: 05/07/2022