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The word “Kokugaku” in the name of this university is often translated as “National Learning,” and it
refers to a field of study that aims to elucidate the development and essential nature of various
phenomena and events related to Japan’s traditional culture. The discipline of “Kokugaku” is a
comprehensive study of Japanese culture which uses material cultural remnants (mono) like ancient
texts and artifacts in order to investigate the kokoro, “the heart” or “spirit” of the Japanese people.
This exhibition brings together materials from the university and library collection, including materials from the predecessor to Kokugakuin, the Imperial Institute for the Study of the Classics (Koten Kokyusho) in order to reveal the history of research and education dealing with Japanese traditional culture. The exhibition follows the historical development of Kokugakuin by looking to the history of National Learning as it was conducted here in light of that discipline’s two themes, the material (mono) and the spiritual (kokoro).