Applicants must demonstrate a commitment to self-motivated study along with an appreciation of and a desire to achieve the learning objectives of the School of Letters as follows. The School equips graduates with the skills to comprehend and analyze contemporary society from an objective historical viewpoint and to construct their own opinions based on their particular field of specialization. They will also develop communication skills for expressing their ideas and understandings, whether in Japanese or a foreign language such as English or via visual expression, with the ultimate aim of contributing to society in order to make life better for all.
The Department of Civilization encourages an independent approach to tackling issues via critical thinking that is not constrained by mainstream approaches. The four-year course examines the various types of civilizations developed by humankind over the years. Students acquire a global perspective that helps them to understand the present and develop critical thinking skills for negotiating the modern world. The Department of Civilization offers a range of specializations in areas such as society, philosophy and thought, ethnicity, the environment, the urban environment, and gender identity. Practical course components such as exercises and fieldwork are important components of all courses.
Students are divided into small groups to study the art of reading and interpreting historical texts, which constitutes the fundamental basis of history research. They are actively encouraged to engage in presenting and debating research results, and in this way develop the ability to observe and evaluate modern society from a long-term perspective. The study of Japanese history is more than just accumulating dates and facts; it requires the ability to identify and address issues in an autonomous manner. Students acquire a balanced understanding of history based on the acquisition of accurate information and knowledge, which they can then use to address issues in modern society predicated on a particular vision of the future.
The Department of History—Occidental History offers courses in Occidental history with a particular focus on Western Europe and the Mediterranean. Students can choose from a diverse range of subjects ranging from ancient to modern history and examining the specific regional, political, ethnic and cultural characteristics of different countries. Classes are augmented by seminar presentations on specific countries and regions, giving students the opportunity to discuss and debate Occidental history in small groups and with their instructors in greater depth. Foreign language study is an important part of the learning process, and interested students can apply to participate in overseas study abroad programs where they can utilize their newly acquired language skills while pursuing their studies in another country.
Archaeology is a study of history based on the examination of evidence of past human endeavors. The Department of History—Archaeology explores archaeology throughout the world and features a significant fieldwork component that includes excavation of archaeological sites and relics where students can learn excavation, observation and measurement techniques. Students also take courses from the natural sciences in order to learn how to analyze and evaluate their findings on site. Special presentations and practicums from guest instructors provide opportunities to explore related fields such as animal archaeology and plant archaeology.
There are many works of literature written in the Japanese language that convey a great deal about Japanese culture and that continue to form the ideology and outlook of the Japanese people today. The Department of Japanese Literature teaches advanced communication skills using culture and language through a comprehensive examination of Japanese literature and the Japanese language that extends to the universal relevance of Japanese literature on the global stage and the structure and ongoing evolution of the Japanese language. Students are encouraged to proudly promote Japanese literature on the world stage and to develop new ideas and proposals incorporating traditional precepts.
The curriculum is divided into four distinct streams: communication skills, English language, linguistics, and British and American literature. Students study these areas while learning how to express their ideas and thoughts effectively in English. Each stream includes introductory subjects where students can study the fundamentals while pursuing their own research. There are regular opportunities for overseas language study where students can hone their language skills in real-world settings. Many students in the Department of English are involved in overseas study abroad programs.