Since 2010

The Liberlit Conference

Conference for the improvement of teaching literature in Japan and beyond

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The 11th Liberlit Conference

coming in 2024

After a brief hiatus during the Coronavirus epidemic, Liberlit will return in the summer of 2024. Sign up for the mailing list for the latest updates.

What is Liberlit?

An annual conference on teaching literature in English in Japan

Join us to share ideas on learning literature in English

Explore new ways of teaching literature, language, and related texts

Engage with panels on the art, craft, and career of teaching literature

Graduate students present in a special forum with feedback and prizes

The liberlit manifesto

established 2010

We believe literature to be an essential element of the English curriculum in Japan, and its vital future presence must be ensured and defended. By ‘literature’, we mean authentic texts that use language in creative and careful ways to tell stories, convey impressions, express original opinions, pose critical questions and demand more than simplistic, pragmatic responses. Those texts could include poetry, novels, plays, movies, songs, TV series, or thoughtful authentic writings on culture, society, or history. Teaching literature always means teaching much more than just language. This conference will address attitudes and approaches to ‘literary’ texts in English.We lament the ongoing ‘dumbing down’ and ‘infantilisation’ of English education in Japan and the consequent marginalization of literature in the curriculum at all levels. Our conviction is that literature offers learners access to the kinds of creative, critical, and non-complacent views of the world that Japanese students sorely need and indeed, in many cases, crave. Literature has the power to engage and motivate second-language learners; its potential for multiple interpretations develops the minds of students who often believe that every question has but one answer, and the authenticity of literary texts respects them as intellectually maturing adults. Eye-opening materials and mind-widening methods should be an integral part of the education process at all levels, but are essential at university level before students go forth to live among the complexities of the ‘real’ world.The conference will explore the idea that it is unkind and disingenuous to deprive students of the marvelously varied, meaningful, and challenging content that only great works of literature and thoughtful authentic writings on culture can offer. It will also explore techniques, methods, and ways that literary texts can foreground the roots of education, liberate English language into maturely creative uses and instigate a freer, bolder expression of original opinions. With your participation, we hope this conference will open up an active and collaborative community of thought, reflection, inquiry and discussion. We hope to make this conference the first step in an ongoing forum in which we can establish how, where, and why literature should rightly figure in Japan’s English curriculum.


Send in a proposal about teaching literature in English after reading the call for papers.

Graduate students

Presentation forum and award for graduate students in literature, English, film, and related fields.


Join us to exchange ideas about teaching literature, film, and related subjects in English.

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