Welcome to the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies

The Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies, founded in 1968, is an international liaison and research center designed primarily to serve European and American scholars in all disciplines whose main area of study focuses on pre-Meiji era Japan.

The overall purpose of the Institute is to encourage research on neglected aspects of premodern Japanese civilization, especially during the medieval period (primarily, but not exclusively, the Kamakura and Muromachi periods 1185-1600), centuries which, until the 1970s, had received scarce attention by Japanese and Western scholars alike.

Upcoming Events

EMAJIN Initiative
13th Annual Concert of Japanese Heritage Musical Instruments
Celebrating the 50th Year of the IMJS: Japanese Cultural Heritage Initiatives
Saturday, March 31, 2018
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Miller Theatre, Columbia University

The concert is free and open to the public, but please register online here

Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated and can be made with a credit card online here.


Part I Gagaku: Sacred Soundscapes Reborn

Hyōjō no netori (Prelude Mode Centering on the note of E)
Etenraku (Music of the Divine Heavens)

Banshikichō no netori (Prelude Mode Centering on the note of B)
Kashin/ (This Auspicious Day)
Seigaiha (Blue Sea Waves)

Part II Contemporary Works for Japanese Heritage Instruments

Tadahisa Nakamura, Correspondences (2017) for bass clarinet, 17-string (bass) koto
(U.S. Premiere)
Winner of the 9th JFC (Japan Federations of Composers) Composition Award

Toshi Ichiyanagi, Hana no hen'yō (Transfiguration of Flowers) (1988, revised 1991)
for sangen (shamisen), shakuhachi & koto

Hiroya Miura, Lustral Shades (A New Commission) (2018)
for shamisen, shō, hichiriki, ryūteki & cello
(World Premiere)
Commissioned by Hidejiro Honjoh and IMJS: Japanese Cultural Heritage Initiatives, celebrating the 50th year of our Institute

featuring Mayumi Miyata (shō), Hitomi Nakamura (hichiriki), Takeshi Sasamoto (ryūteki), Yumi Kurosawa (17-string koto), Erik Helstrom (bass clarinet), Hidejiro Honjoh (shamisen), Elena Ariza (cello), Yoko Reikano Kimura (koto), James Nyoraku Schlefer (shakuhachi), Columbia Gagaku Instrumental Ensemble of New York, and others.

Come learn Japanese heritage music instruments at Columbia University!

Next courses start on Thursday, September 14, 2017.

Time & Date:
Hogaku (shakuhachi): Thursdays, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Hogaku (koto): Thursdays, 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Gagaku (sho, hichiriki, ryuteki, etc.): Thursdays, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

112 Dodge Hall

Attendance at the first class is mandatory. Neither prior experience nor knowledge of the Japanese language is required. For questions, please contact the institute at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Students who have shown significant progress and potential in the ensemble classes will qualify to participate in the Mentor/Protégé Program, a six-week intensive training program with Gagaku and Hōgaku masters in Tokyo in summer (late May until early July).

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© 2018 Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies