Unique aspects of Kyoto offer insights into Japanese culture

Culture refers to the activities and behaviors that people have created as a group and transmitted from generation to generation. Studying culture is nothing more than learning the lifestyles of people who lived in a certain time and place and trying to piece together how society has been shaped into what it is today. This course examines the changes in Japanese society through the lens of Japanese culture, from traditional elements such as Noh and tea ceremony to pop culture such as music, manga, and film. Through experiential learning, students gain an understanding of why these things became popular, who they were popular with, and how people appreciated and enjoyed these forms of culture. In doing so, they discover values unique to Japan as well as a sense of commonality with the rest of the world and begin to see Japan’s place in the world from new perspectives. The insights gained in the course are sure to become a powerful tool for sharing new values and enriching society in Japan and around the world.

Subject Highlights

General Theory of Tourism
The combination of regional development packaged with tourism is becoming more prevalent not only in Japan but throughout the world. This course examines tourism in a variety of contexts, not only in general tourism promotion in local communities but also with respect to topics such as religion and the global economy.
History of Japanese Public Entertainment
This course examines various Japanese performing arts, from Dengaku, Kagura, Furyu, and Shishimai to Heikyoku, Noh, Kyogen, Joruri, and Kabuki, utilizing visual materials and observations of actual performances. Students learn the essential aesthetics that underlie Japanese performing arts culture.

What you will study

  1. 1STYEAR

    Learning the basics of the humanities

    Gaining a well-rounded understanding of all four courses
    In their first year, students learn the basics of literature, history, society, and Japanese culture to understand the different features and research methods employed in these fields before choosing their course. Students learn about elements of culture and the formation of modern society before pursuing a research topic that interests them.

    An extensive knowledge and language base as inspiration for self-reflection
    Students deepen their understanding of themselves and others through language and acquire the skills needed for research starting with the basics, including picking a suitable topic from among their interests, reviewing past research and conducting fieldwork, and summarizing and presenting their ideas in a logical manner.

  2. 2NDYEAR

    Choosing a Course to Study

    Building expertise
    Students choose to specialize in one of four courses: literature, history, society, or Japanese culture. They deepen their specialist knowledge by participating in lectures covering introductory topics or cultural history and seminars examining the literature under leading authorities in their chosen field and time period.

    Learning research methodologies in seminars
    Students explore their research topics in small-group seminars with peers who share their area of interest. In addition, students develop a research plan for their third-year fieldwork program under the guidance of their supervisor.

  3. 3RDYEAR

    Learning outside the university

    Conducting research through fieldwork
    Students go out into the field to test all that they have learned from their course. Students gain a genuine understanding through firsthand experience during a two-month period off-campus, immersed in a different culture and society where they come in contact with diverse value systems. This experience gives them new perspectives, expands their horizons, and helps them develop original ideas.

    Verifying research findings
    After completing their program, students return to campus to reflect on their research. They collate the data and material they collected in the field and compile this into a report. Students report their research findings to faculty members and their peers and further deepen their understanding through feedback and discussion.

  4. 4THYEAR

    Graduation Research

    Giving shape to ideas
    Students prepare a graduation thesis on their ideas based on the deep knowledge they gained in the first three years. For students to write a logically coherent and readily comprehensible thesis on a topic they are interested in, supervisors provide one-on-one guidance every step of the way, from research planning to proofreading.

What You Will Learn

  • The ability to understand culture experientially
  • A comprehensive understanding of Western and Eastern cultures
  • The ability to communicate the appeal of the traditional culture of Japan and other countries

Past Graduation Theses

  • Chinese Food Culture in Kyoto in the Modern Period: A Study of "Kyo-Chuka”
  • Arts Management on YouTube: How to Protect Artists and How Artists Live
  • A Study of Kyoto's Kagai Geisha Districts and Japanese Clothing: Examining Kyoto’s Kamishichiken District
  • Okayama Denim and the Future of Japanese Manufacturing


Career Opportunities
Tour planner, curator, school teacher, sales and marketing professional, and many more.

Major Employers
Travel agencies, tourism and service industry, NPOs and NGOs, advertising, manufacturing, retail distribution, and many more.


  • YONEHARA Yuji Academic Faculty

    Discover your unique research theme by examining society from multiple perspectives

    This course deals with traditional culture, arts and crafts, and regional development. While the theme of the course is Japanese culture, the main characters are, after all, human beings. We actively go out into the field to meet the people we study. Culture is the manifestation of human activity, so the range of possible research themes is endless. The important thing is to have a single theme in mind before looking at society from a number of perspectives. Find a theme that is entirely your own and look at it from multiple viewpoints, whether it be traditional industries and technologies or animation and Japanese artistic expression.
  • Jennifer Louise TEETER Academic Faculty

    Toward a society of unconditional acceptance

    We will investigate a wide range of topics related to diversity in Japan, including immigrants, refugees, indigenous peoples, and others from a variety of backgrounds. My own life has been immensely enriched by interacting with people who are different from me, but it's not the differences that matter; it's our common humanity. In an ever-changing and complex world, we have a responsibility to make our society one of unconditional acceptance. Through their studies, students learn how to be active and engaged citizens.