Study literature, history, society, and Japanese culture in Kyoto
The Department of Humanities was established in 1989. Based on the motto “Humanities in Action,” our aim is to foster open- and globally-minded students through experiential learning.In 2021, the department was relaunched as the Department of Humanities in the Faculty of Global Culture for the study of literature, history, society, and Japanese culture.The global education provided by the department starts with an understanding of different cultures, together with a deeper appreciation of the culture all around us.In a globalizing society, it is necessary to understand each other’s culture and to live in harmony with others, irrespective of national or cultural differences.To that end, it is important to start by understanding the culture that has shaped us.This gives us a perspective of “other people” and “the world.”In addition, through experiential learning, students are exposed to different values and acquire new ideas.The humanities are the comprehensive study of all things human: by studying them, students gain a broad base of knowledge and education and develop the ability to look at themselves and see the world in a new light.
Students study all aspects of Japanese literature from ancient times to the present day.Students read works and study authors in a wide range of fields, including fiction, poetry, drama, and criticism.Through the wide-ranging study of the psychology and the sensibilities of people over the generations, as well as the spirit and culture of each era, we consider essential questions like what it means to be human.
Students study the history of Japan from ancient times to the modern era through historical documents and fieldwork at historical sites.By reading historical documents and analyzing the past from the perspectives of not only famous historical figures but also the ordinary people who lived during these times, students develop their ability to see issues from multiple points of view.
Students conduct research using sociological theory, fieldwork, and other research methods, starting with familiar social concepts such as the family, education, the environment, and gender. By exploring factors behind social phenomena and human behavior, students analyze the problems of the world today and acquire the ability to effect change.
Japanese Culture Course
Students learn about a wide range of Japanese culture, from traditional culture to popular culture, such as manga, music, and movies.By examining and understanding Japanese culture through comparisons and relationships with other countries, students reassess the evolution of Japanese culture and consider its future.
A Unique Curriculum
1. Learning off-campus in the field
1. Choosing a theme
Students decide on a research theme based on their own interests and concerns.They are free to decide upon a topic of their choice, irrespective of their course.
2. Formulating a research plan
Students deepen an understanding of different fieldwork methods and the places they visitas they formulate a two-month research plan under the guidance of their fieldwork supervisor.
3. Choosing a research location in Japan
Decide upon a research location according to a chosen topic.The research location can be anywhere in Japan, from Hokkaido to Okinawa. It can be a temple or a shrine, or the setting of a movie or a novel.
4. Verification and reporting
Students collate their experiences and the data they have accumulated over two and compile a report on their activities.Students then prepare material for their graduation thesis based on the feedback.
Examples of fieldwork
A study of itsuwa folklore and fables in one’s birthplace
Research study of ancient tales and folklore in Kagoshima.A compendium for children based on literature, field research, and interviews.
A study of Heian culture through the excavation of ruins
Fieldwork based on the excavation of a site adjacent to a Heian-period market.The project involved studying the culture and gaining concrete insights into the period from remains of pillars and pieces of excavated pottery.
A study of the works of MORIMI Tomihiko through a pilgrimage to Kyoto’s holy places
The project involved walking around the holy places described in Morimi’s works, such as The Tatami Galaxy, and comparing real-life Kyoto with its depiction in the original novel and the anime version.
A study of incense based on practical experience
Research into the use of incense in the Heian period with reference to The Tale of Genji, and consolidation of knowledge through the experience of creating one’s own incense.
2. Rediscovering oneself and the world through words
In a small class, students revisit the familiar activities of reading, writing, and speaking.All students create and present works on the theme of the diversity of expression in language. This could be literary criticism or an essay.On completion, they give feedback on each other's work.
Choose from 11 languages
Students select from 11 languages (English, Chinese, Korean, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Swahili) and learn a language for practical communication.
■ Learning through experiences that expose students to different values
In their third year, students leave campus to take part in a practical fieldwork program. They decide on a research location based on their selected topic and spend two months away from campus, experiencing diversity and different ways of thinking during the course of their research.
■ Rethinking Japan from a global perspective
Students acquire the ability to look at Japan from an objective point of view, as the country is seen by the outside world, through a consideration of Japanese literature, history, society and culture.By considering what it means to be human from the perspective of the different cultures around us, the aim is to develop an awareness of the diversity of people who inhabit our world.
Introduction to Philosophy
Students are introduced to philosophical concepts and develop their powers of questioning and interaction.We encourage students to ask questions that come to mind naturally and think more deeply about words we use for granted in our daily lives, such as “justice” or “beauty.”
Overview of Modern Society
Students learn how modern Japanese society has been shaped and transformed since the Meiji period through changes related to industry, cities, family life, and media and technology, and use this knowledge to reflect on various issues today.
Introduction to Historical Studies
Starting with the question, “What is history?” and reflecting on our perceptions of history up to the present day, the aim of the course is to enable students to think about themselves and their surroundings in the context of history.
Students study various traditional Japanese cultural traditions including kabuki, tea ceremony, and ikebana (flower arrangement), as well as aspects of modern culture, including subcultures such as manga and fashion.They gain an understanding of the characteristics and significance of Japanese culture and how it informs traditional and contemporary cultural traditions.