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Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

What is a human being? What is society? We investigate the essence, and predict the next steps.

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Faculty of Letters, overarches such disciplines as literature and language learning, taking in a wide variety of genres including philosophy, history, geography, and art studies. Students learn basic academic skills and knowledge common to the department in their first year. From the second year, they branch into individual courses and programs, polishing and deepening their insights into humans and society with the accumulated assets of humanities and social sciences. That will enable them to acquire logical/critical thinking and appropriate means of communication.

Curriculum Features

Language Café helping students develop their speaking proficiency

Allowing students to enjoy deepening their understanding of diverse languages and cultures
Language Café is a place for students to communicate without hesitation in non-Japanese languages with instructors who are native speakers of any of those languages. There, students can talk about a wide range of topics to enhance their language proficiency while enjoying lunch or tea in a relaxed atmosphere. Important here is the fluent rhythm of conversation. We hope that students will use this place to develop each other by actively talking with each other without fearing grammatical errors. The place is also used for classes in communication skills and meetings for students to present their experience in studying abroad, as well as Halloween and Christmas parties. The place also allows students to deepen their understanding of cultural and social diversity.

Teacher training courses in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faulty of Letters

Courses students can select to enhance their expertise to become teachers in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faulty of Letters
While students in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faulty of Letters, can obtain a teacher’s license regardless of their course or major, they can enrich their learning in the teacher training courses by selecting to obtain licenses in subjects related to their course or major.

12 Majors over 5 Courses

Course : Contemporary Culture

East Asia Culture
What is the essence of the problems faced today by Japan, China and Korea?
Japan and its East Asian neighbors face a litany of complex problems. In order to arrive at a solution to these perplexing issues, a synthesis of both Eastern and Western perspectives is essential. Western thought has come to dominate the world, and is ‘expanding’ and ‘developing’ in the same way that the bible traces a linear, teleological trajectory from Genesis through until to the Last Judgement. Chinese, Indian and other strands of Asian thought, however, posit a notion of history moving through a series of ‘cycles’. History repeats, and all life repeats, a process of life, death and rebirth. One could argue that the relevance and applicability of this kind of Asian thought to contemporary society, where issues of recycling and sustainability occupy our minds, is growing steadily. Students who choose this major study the cultures of Asia with a focus on the thought and philosophy of Japan, China and Korea. Students develop skills to solve problems that affect us in contemporary society through the study of the thought expressed in antiquity, and by comparing it to the thought and scholarship of the West.

Philosophy
Learn about the development of western thought and pick up thinking skills in the process
What is philosophy? In actual fact, questioning what something is is in itself philosophy. Take history for example. History is used to probe and consider historical fact. When questioning what history is, or what is considered a fact within history, you are in fact engaging in philosophy. In this sense, philosophy is a very pure academic discipline. Students who enroll in the Philosophy Major learn about Western thought and philosophy in a systematic way, helping to equip them with the thinking tools they need to philosophize. Students look at the intellectual journey of western philosophers through a diverse range of classes such as The History of Philosophy, and also through careful reading of the philosophers’ work. In this way, students develop an understanding of both the theoretical and historical sides of the western philosophic school. Class debates and the dissertation writing process help students to acquire the ability to express their own thoughts in a philosophical way through careful language crafting. By reading the classic texts, students engage in dialogue with the philosophers of the past, helping them to pursue answers to the questions that matter to them. That is what true philosophy is, and what this major is all about.

Library and Information Science
Exploring the significance and technology for application of information content in the age of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Today, we can observe a rapid shift in the book market from paper-based media to digital media. Indeed, the research subjects of the Library Information Science Major have now been expanded to encompass digital information including social media. This major teaches students about how information is circulated, organized and distributed within a library. Student can develop advanced investigative and analytical skills to explore the significance of and technology for the effective application of information content.

Media Arts
Study and experience art. Develop a critical eye. Expand your creative faculties
The Media and Arts Major places emphasis on “experience-based learning” to touch upon a wide variety of expressive media, including theater, dance and other bodily expressions, as well as the editing of images and music and spatial design. This major teaches students about the diversity of the modern art scene characterized by interdisciplinary collaboration, and the mechanisms that support it. Students also develop a critical eye in keeping with the times, and expand their creative faculties to work together with others.

Course : Sociology

Sociology
Equipping students with the knowledge and expertise for an in-depth understanding of ‘contemporary society’
Interactions in our lives take place in a variety of settings, be it within the home, school, workplace or local community. These social existences of ours are by no means universally valid; change brought about by new eras and unexpected disasters and accidents ensure that there are always new challenges and problems for us to face. In order to consider how to make changes to our daily lives, so that we can build a society that is both more human and more comfortable, it is important to be able to look at the mechanisms and norms of contemporary society from objective and critical standpoints. The Sociology Course aims to equip students with techniques to grasp the structure and the actions of society positively by learning subjects related to social research. Furthermore, this major includes subjects such as regional sociology, sociology of the family, social psychology, information sociology and welfare sociology in its curriculum in order to study various theories and perspectives for the sake of a deep analysis of social reality and to approach various problems from different angles that exist within contemporary society.

Course : Geography and History

Japanese History Study
Allowing students to learning the history of not only Japan but also related areas to consider the current condition of Japanese society
Students can develop their ability to conduct specialized research on their own initiative by viewing the history of Japan from a broad perspective. They attend specialized courses and read historical materials from their second year, to acquire the basic historical knowledge. From their third year on, they enhance their research ability through specialized seminars, etc. to complete their graduation thesis. The major feature of this major is education focusing on fieldwork and historical materials, with students visiting the real sites of historical events to look at historical landscapes and real items related to such events.

World History Study
Inviting students to reconsider the structure and background of the contemporary world
Society and history can be described completely differently by different people, so no universally acceptable, objective and true history exists. This major allows students to develop their abilities to explore the process of construction of various historical views, which has been concealed under the concept of “positivity,” and the intention behind the historical constructions, and shed new light on the historical views that bind us.

Geography
Discovering why cities and industry are located where they are
Geography is used to elucidate the system by which various human activities are distributed across a large body of land. This course helps students to see the history and culture in the land that we inhabit. Students learn techniques for data collection through fieldwork exercises, and techniques for conveying data through diagrams in their seminars and cartography classes.

Course : Japanese Language and Literature

Japanese Language and Literature
Study the language and literature of one of the globe’s biggest economies
In the past, the world started to take notice of Japan because of its economic success and innovative technologies. Today, it is Japan’s traditional culture, pop culture, and, at a more fundamental level, its language and literature that are attracting the world’s attention. This course gives students the opportunity to learn about three different areas: classical Japanese literature, contemporary Japanese literature and Japanese linguistics. Japanese started out as the language of the Yamato people. Chinese characters were subsequently introduced and used as part of the language, which gave rise to the kana system. Japanese has also incorporated a great number of words from foreign languages. To understand why Japanese has been so linguistically permeable, students analyze and research the poetry, stories and essays from antiquity until the present day, examining their defining features and the context within which they were written. Students on the course may also branch out to other related areas, such as classes that introduce methodology for the teaching of Japanese as a foreign language, Japanese history, Chinese literature, library science and even foreign literature. Every year, the course produces open-minded schoolteachers, who specialize in the instruction of Japanese in middle schools and high schools.

Course : Languages and Cultures of North America

Modern International English
Learn and analyze the world’s lingua franca‐English
Although English now occupies the position of the world’s lingua franca, it took a long time for it to get to where it is today. The Industrial Revolution in Great Britain brought new advances in technology and the diffusion of Western culture. It was from there that globalization began: businesses became internationally oriented, populations became more mobile and ICT came to dominate the world. Through this globalization process, the English language has continued to change. This course, in addition to achieving a high level of fluency in English, looks at unique permutations in the English language (such as the English spoken in India and Singapore) and the cultures and literature of English-speaking countries. By also looking at non-standard forms of English, students develop an understanding for the diversity of the language and the cultures that engendered this diversity. This course will help students acquire the skills they need to communicate with people from all over the globe and prepare them for careers in global society.

German Bloc Literature
Learn extensively about the cultures of German-speaking countries
There are approximately one hundred million native speakers of German, making it the largest spoken language in Europe. It is spoken in Germany, Austria, most of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, East Belgium and in parts of North Italy. In addition to learning German, students on this course learn Germanic culture within the context of European expansion. German literary authors such as Kafka, Hesse and Goethe are often described as being philosophic and introspective. The depth of their spirit of inquiry into the human condition has had a huge influence on Japanese literature. Students learn about the essence and cultural context of various works of German literature. They will also study in depth the various facets of Germanic cultures, including such topics as their history, environmental issues, classical music and pop culture, exploring their charm. The course also offers exchange programs in Germany with its partner institutions (the University of Bremen and the Bremen University of Applied Sciences).

French-Speaking World Literature
Exploring the essence and diversity of the cultures of the French-speaking world
Students who choose this major study French, an official language of the United Nations, from scratch, so as to deepen their understanding of France and other Francophone literature and cultures found around the world. Making use of the exchange student program and the credit-transfer study abroad program, each year a number students study at universities located in various parts of France. Through learning how to communicate in French, students develop an understanding of what cultural differences are and how to overcome them, and learn about the cultural contexts and lifestyles in which French is used.