On May 22, the Undergraduate School of Cultural and Social Studies, Department of Nordic Studies* presented a special online lecture on Danish society's quality of life (QOL) by Jakob Skyt Jensen, deputy director of the Tokai University European Center, located near Copenhagen, Denmark. Around 110 students from the first-year courses Nordic Culture Theory (Lecturer Yuriko Shibayama) and Nordic Social Policy (Lecturer Aki Asai) watched the lecture.
Jensen commented on the existence of societal issues such as increases in lifestyle diseases, alcoholism, and depression. He discussed the country's social system and public attitudes, noting that people in Denmark enjoy going outside during all seasons and that the average life expectancy is not particularly high compared to the global average. Jensen explained, "Society overall has a high tolerance towards people with different lifestyles, and a social safety net has been constructed around the basic principles of "freedom and equality" to include free healthcare and education, unemployment insurance, and a pension system." Following the lecture, students offered their reflections: "Japan will be undergoing a lot of changes, and in order to make society better, I feel that it is important to have an open mindset and use various tools." "I found it really interesting that he talked about focusing on 'satisfaction' rather than 'happiness' and how QOL is closely tied to how we spend our time." "I learned that behind Denmark's system and philosophy are a history and culture unique to Denmark. I now understand that Japan must figure out its own 'Japanese' approach to these issues."
*In April 2018, the Tokai University School of Letters was split into two schools - the Undergraduate School of Letters and the Undergraduate School of Cultural and Social Studies. The Department of Nordic Studies is now part of the School of Cultural and Social Studies.
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