Department of Japanese History, Faculty of Letters, Keio University
Lab of Modern Japanese History


Keio University has ten faculties and ranks as one of the top Japanese research universities. With over 160 years of tradition, it is Japan's very first private institution of higher learning.

Statue of Yukichi Fukuzawa at Nakatsu City, Oita

@@In 1858, Yukichi Fukuzawa, a leader of Japanese academia in the late nineteenth century, founded a school for Dutch studies and in 1890 established a college with three faculties: letters, economics, and law. When it was launched, the Faculty of Letters offered an array of history courses, thus positioning itself as the dawn of historical study at Keio University.


Old building of Keio University Library, built in 1912

@@From the early twentieth century, Keio University reinforced the institution of historical study. In 1910, the Faculty of Letters set up three departments: literature, philosophy, and history. Later on, in 1928, it established the Department of History, which was divided into three specialisms: Japanese, Asian, and Western history. Our department thus has a history of over 90 years and, since its inception, has been investigating the Japanese history of the ancient, medieval, and pre-modern periods. Around 50 years later, our department expanded its scope to the modern period and founded the lab.


Map of Mizuho Village on Babeldaob Island, Palau (collection of our lab)

@@In 1981, Keio University appointed Professor Tatsurou Sakai as the first professor of modern Japanese history, while Prof. Toshio Yanagida shifted his attention from Christianity in pre-modern times to migration in the modern period. Since the 1990s, these two professors have been involved in research activities in our lab. In 2006, Prof. Shigehiko Ioku was engaged as Prof. Sakaifs successor and has been devoting his energy to develop young researchers. His pupils are performing brilliantly as professors, junior and high school teachers, and archivists. Prof. Kiyotaka Maeda was also trained by Prof. Ioku and succeeded Prof. Yanagida's position in 2018.



Contact Information

Lab of Modern Japanese History
Department of Japanese History
Faculty of Letters
Keio University

2-15-45 Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan

Website (Japanese only)