I have been given the honor of succeeding Imanishi Yūichirō as director- general of the National Institute of Japanese Literature (NIJL). I am no stranger to this institution: It was in the latter half of the 90’s that I first worked here in an academic capacity. Now, after an absence of seventeen years, during which time I worked at the University of Tokyo (Komaba Campus), I have at last returned to my old haunt. While I was away, NIJL changed not only its location but its overall appearance, as well. Many of the academics who used to work here, likewise, have since moved on. More strik- ingly, however, are a number of social and technological changes, which have effectively transformed the world of literary studies, leaving little traces of its past. ere are those who lament what seems to be a growing alienation of literature from society: young people are no longer interested in reading books; fewer children are being born; the Internet, wide spread as it now is, threatens to make the practice of reading books obsolete. I, however, remain optimistic. ere has, I would argue, never been a better time than the pres- ent in which to partake of the rich stores of literary and cultural knowledge handed down to us through the long history of the Japanese humanities.