Department of Asian Studies

The Department of Asian Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Palacký University is a workplace focused on education and scientific and research activities focused on contemporary languages and cultures in the Asian Region with an emphasis on the Asian Pacific area.

The Department provides its applicants with a choice of several forward-looking study programmes. From academic year 2019/2020 on, the following study programmes are available:

  • Three-year Bachelor study programmes:
    • Chinese Philology 
    • Indonesian Studies for Tourism 
    • Japanese Philology 
    • Korean for Business and Commerce
    • Vietnamese Philology 
  • Two-year Master study programmes:
    • Asian Studies 
    • Asian Studies
      • with specialization in Chinese language and culture
      • with specialization in Indonesian language and culture
      • with specialization in Japanese language and culture
      • with specialization in Korean language and culture
      • with specialization in Vietnamese language and culture
  • Four-year Doctoral study programmes:
    • Languages and Cultures of China and Japan
    • Asian Studies

For more information about the research activities of members of the Department, see the Academics & Research section and the profiles of the individual members of the Department in the Department Members section. 

Until the academic year 2018/2019, the following study programmes were available:

  • Chinese Philology (single-major Bachelor study)
  • Chinese Philology (double-major Bachelor study)
  • Japanese Philology (single-major Bachelor study)
  • Japanese Philology (double-major Bachelor study)
  • Korean for Business Purposes (single-major Bachelor study)
  • Indonesian Studies for Tourism (single-major Bachelor study)
  • Chinese Philology (follow-up single-major Master study)
  • Chinese Philology (follow-up double-major Master study)
  • Japanese Philology (follow-up single-major Master study)
  • Japanese Philology (follow-up double-major Master study)
  • Languages and Cultures of China and Japan (four-year Doctoral study, both full-time and part-time)

New publications

The series Koreans and Central Europeans is completed

Over more than 900 pages, this series, edited by Andreas Schirmer, documents “informal contacts up to 1950”. The concluding third volume is now finally out: Central Europeans in Korea: Alice Schalek, Alma Karlin, Fritz Hansgirg, and Many Others is a multi-perspective compendium of evidence about the astonishingly large number of visitors to Korea from Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Poland, and Slovenia (or the respective predecessor states) up to the mid-twentieth century.

Carefully researched, spotlighting numerous previously undiscovered sources, and richly illustrated, this volume examines and presents testimonies and traces of these contacts, be they documents, writings, photographs, or works of art. Included are various cases of contact between Koreans and Central Europeans in Korean settlements on Russian or Chinese (or Manchurian) territory. The contact of Austrian prisoners of war and Czechoslovak legionnaires with the Korean diaspora in the Far East forms a rich side story. Overall, this volume bears witness to the history of contact between Koreans and Western travelers and the historical experience of Western expatriates in Korea as still being full of surprises.

Andreas Schirmer (ed.): Central Europeans in Korea: Alice Schalek, Alma Karlin, Fritz Hansgirg, and Many Others. Vienna: Praesens 2020 [= Koreans and Central Europeans: Informal Contacts up to 1950, ed. by Andreas Schirmer; 3]. ISBN 978-3-7069-1105-4 (print), ISBN 978-3-7069-3013-0 (e-book).

Filip Kraus co-authors a new book dealing with Vietnamese organized crime in the Czech Republic

The book Vietnamese Organized cCime in the Czech Republic provides a complex, socio-anthropological analysis of organized crime operating in the Vietnamese diaspora in the Czech Republic and its international implications. Currently, there are about 4 million people of Vietnamese descent living in this diaspora and many other countries, looking for an opportunity to improve their lives. This book draws upon original and primary research including interviews, participant observation, and documentary analysis to trace the migration and history of the Vietnamese diaspora in the Czech Republic. It highlights the influence of crime, criminality and Vietnamese organized crime on the social organization and everyday life of the diaspora. It examines the whole range of organized crime activities that they engage in and argues that they develop contemporary diasporic Asian crime networks which are shaped by the social environment of the host countries. This book contributes to the discourse on the changing identities of the migrants and analyses this crime in a comparative perspective, particularly focussing on Central Europe, to provides insights on migration and crime for a wider international audience.

Nožina, Miroslav and Kraus, Filip. 2020. Vietnamese Organized Crime in the Czech Republic. Palgrave Maxmillan. ISBN 978-3-030-43612-4 

A new publication detailing the history of the People’s Republic of China

The history of the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to 2018 presents to the Czech reader the first comprehensive historical assessment of this vast and most populous country and major, albeit new, geopolitical entity. It begins with the founding of the People‘s Republic and ends at the end of 2018 with the symbolic Chinese probe successful landing on the far side of the Moon on 4 January 2019. It attempts to systematically map out not only the political events and international context but also to pinpoint the most critical social and cultural trends of the seventy years of China’s upheavals, revolutions and reforms. 


A new issue of our departmental journal Far East is out

This issue is a collection of works in foreign (i.e. non-Czech) languages, mostly articles written by Oldřich Švarný. The total number of texts in this issue is fifteen, nine of them in English, three in Chinese and three in German. You can read and download the issue here

Prof. Zdenka Švarcová explores the legend of Ono no Komachi

The book, entitled Komachi, the legend: Ono no Komachi – poetry and poetess in the noh plays, features a comparative study with translations of five medieval Japanese theatrical texts (Noh plays), introducing five different appearances of the 9th century legendary poetess Ono no Komachi. Two types of librettos have been compared: two fictive stories about Komachi's life and death and three plays glorifying – in the Komachi's character – Japanese waka poetry.

Sylva Martinásková on the reflection of modernization in Japanese traditional poetry

The book Modernization of Japan reflected in traditional poetic forms of tanka and haiku deals with the poetic representation of gradual development of Japan from a feudal backward country to a high-tech superpower, in the historical context of Japanese modern and contemporary society. The author provides the reader with a poetic reflection of modernization of the country, demonstrated in numerous example poems of tanka and haiku forms, and represented by a gradual transformation of the modern Japanese society, and the way of life. Another leading theme is nature, here represented by the modified term new nature broadening the traditional concept of nature to include also objects of everyday modern city life. The author compares the modern Japanese poetry to “a mirror” reflecting the reality and the shape of the modern (not only Japanese) world.

Halina Zawiszová published a new book on Japanese social interaction

The book entitled On 'doing friendship' in and through talk: Exploring conversational interactions of Japanese young people approaches conversational interactions of Japanese young adults who identify as friends as the form of social interaction in and through which the co-participants manifest and accomplish their relationships, that is, as a site for ‘doing friendship’. It represents a fundamentally data-driven endeavour, drawing primarily on conversation analysis, interactional linguistics, and interactional sociolinguistics. Based on a close analysis of a set of recordings of naturally occurring conversational interactions, three broad categories of interconnected practices were identified as particularly salient and co-constitutive of the overall studied communicative activity. They in­clude: conversational humour, conversational storytelling, and relational continuity construction. The core part of this book is devoted to the exploration of the ways in which a single dyad realizes and makes use of these practices across their interactions.

A new book on Koreans in Central Europe edited by Andreas Schirmer is out

Koreans in Central Europe: To Yu-ho, Han Hŭng-su, and Others is a multi-perspective compendium of evidence about two Korean archaeologists who spent formative but also troubled years in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s. Decades before a Korean diaspora in Europe began to take shape, these two embodied unique facets of what can be called a Korean colonial modernity outside of the Japanese empire. [...] Carefully researched, spotlighting numerous previously neglected or undiscovered sources, and richly illustrated, this volume is devoted to the examination of testimonies, writings and “traces” of very distinctive individuals. Special attention is given to how they negotiated European representations of East Asia — challenges to their Korean nationalist, yet nuanced, stances of self-assertion.


Mária Strašáková co-edited the new and expanded edition of History of Vietnam

This new and expanded edition of History of Vietnam aims to introduce the history of Vietnam from the earliest times to the present. After a general introduction, the authors discuss in detail the periods and milestones in the development of the country since the first settlements, covering the first cultures of the Bronze and Neolithic Age, the first states, and the one thousand years long rule of China, which had a major impact on the formation of Vietnamese culture and society. Attention is also paid to the Vietnamese independent dynasties, which ruled the country from the 10th to the 19th century, with special emphasis on their efforts to build an independent state and to fight the invasions of foreign powers. The authors also map the main milestones of the French colonial domination in the region as well as the transformations of Vietnamese society, culture, language and literature under the French rule. This period, among other things, was characterized by the rise of nationalism, which culminated after the Second World War and resulted in both the First Indochina War (1946‒1954) and later the Vietnam War (1964‒1975). In 1975 was finally unified under the Communist regime, which has been in power in the country to the present. Apart from analyzing the development of the country since the Doi Moi reforms, the publication also deals with Vietnam’s current foreign policy, with special emphasis on territorial conflicts and other problems of the Communist regime. Attention is also paid to the Czech-Vietnamese relations, their formation, transformations and the present state. This new edition is enriched with Vietnamese language with diacritics and a whole host of new themes such as language, script, religion, culture, literature and contemporary foreign relations of the VSR, which are discussed in greater detail.

Tereza Slaměníková published a new book on modern Chinese characters

The current form of Chinese characters is to be understood as a result of a long-lasting process oscillating between two opposing tendencies: the differentiation of the characters connected with the effort to make them intelligible, and character economy related to the strive for simplicity. However, while categorizing modern Chinese characters, grammatologists still use the system created almost 2 000 years ago and which cannot sufficiently reflect the specific feature of the modern Chinese characters. The book introduces a new categorisation model of modern Chinese characters that reveals the synchronic relationship between the graphic form of the characters and the represented linguistic unit. Reaching this target is connected with a graphemic analysis of representative sample of modern Chinese signary. Because the connection between the characters and their components could be phonetically or semantically motivated, these two aspects are analysed. The suggested two-dimensional model includes five groups subdivided in altogether 20 categories. The group status reflects the decomposition specification, the category status the nature of the relationship between the whole character and its components on the semantic and phonetic level.