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HUM Seminar History and Arts


Admission requirements

This course is only accessible for BA Japanstudies students. Students must have successfully completed their propedeuse, two BA2 seminars and the course Texts IIb.

Admission to a cluster seminar happens only through application via the head of the programme board or coordinator of studies.


From Print to Digital Humanities: The Book in Premodern Japan

This course will be centred on books as media in Japan pre-1868, with a particular focus on the printed book, which represented a veritable revolution in the way information was disseminated in early modern Japan. We will discuss the history, social background and materiality of the book in Japan’s pre-Meiji past, as well as its future in a digital age. A major component of the course will be exploring the many exciting opportunities that Digital Humanities provide for accessing, studying and editing historical Japanese texts in novel formats; this will include an interactive demonstration of new character recognition software for historical scripts (kuzushiji) and an introduction to the most important digital tools (databases, repositories etc.) for early modern Japanese books. A field trip to the Leiden collections, which hold a large range of early modern Japanese prints and books, will be a unique chance for students to get a close-up look at premodern materials from a broad variety of genres.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • make critical use of English and Japanese academic sources

  • familiarize themselves with the newest developments and most useful tools in Japanese Digital Humanities

  • correctly handle, search for and analyse early modern Japanese books & printed primary materials

  • identify basic parts of an early modern printed book and understand its materiality

  • contextualize the book in Japan within its historical and social context


The timetables are avalable through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


Assessment method

  • Participation (attendance of minimally 70%; minimally 5 webpostings out of 6; participation in discussing the texts in class, research paper presentation): 50%

  • Research paper (3,000 words): 50% - the research paper must use minimally five sources and include one Japanese academic article that is minimal 12 pages long.


The final mark for the course is established by (i) determination of the weighted average combined with (ii) additional requirements: The combined score of the five webposts must be 5.5 or above.


There is a two-deadline policy for all papers; for those who miss this deadline, this means they have failed on the first attempt. Those who fail on the first attempt—whether by not submitting a paper by the first deadline, or by submitting an inadequate paper—will have one more (second and last) chance to submit their paper by the second deadline. As for all assessments, rules for legitimate extenuating circumstances apply.

Reading list

Not applicable


Enrolment through My Studymap is mandatory.


  • For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Vrieshof


Not applicable