Courses and Divisions
Interdisciplinary Cultural FormationsThis division researches concepts and phenomena related to cultures, societies, thoughts, and histories from the ancient time to the present from a broad perspective beyond the boundaries of disciplines, aiming to construct an integral knowledge system to investigate various aspects of cultural formation and transformation from different angles. Our exploration includes lingua-cultural practices concerning gender, race, ethnicity, nation, ecology, multicultural symbiosis, history and memory, colonialism and globalization, and other themes. We nurture the students’ capacity and sense to analyze these themes through literature, cultural theories, and fieldwork, from an interdisciplinary perspective in relation to various disciplines such as history of thought and society, psychoanalysis, anthropology, and environmental humanism.
Culture and RepresentationWe analyze the mechanisms of multidimensional production, reception, and transmission of various texts and representations, including print and video, with the aim of clarifying a wide variety of cultural phenomena. Specifically, we will conduct research on cultural transformation, translation, and adaptation that occur when people come into contact with different languages and cultures, compare the diachronic and synchronic aspects of the language and culture of different regions and peoples, and systematically examine the dynamics of cultural industries, popular culture, and media culture.
Sociolinguistic and Communication SciencesThe division of Sociolinguistic and Communication Sciences is committed to examine the emerging problems in the real world from the perspective of “communication.” We are intent on synergizing practical skills to overcome such problems for realization of a fairer society with theories derived from various fields related to language in context. The division also emphasizes the ability to design communication as well as language and cultural literacy that creates symbiosis in modern society where multiple languages and cultures coexist and often compete against each other.
Second Language EducationThis division explores the ways in which people use, learn, and teach languages other than their first language. With a strong practical emphasis on the teaching and learning of the second language, it also covers other research areas such as social, cultural, and psychological aspects of second language education.
Theoretical Linguistics and Digital HumanitiesOur division conducts research on the structures and functions of natural language, analyzing and describing universal rules and principles that govern the human language faculty. We look at the system of language from synchronic and diachronic perspectives. We also work on theoretical frameworks and methodologies for the digital processing and analysis of language and cultural-historical resources. Cross-disciplinary analyses of large-scale text corpora and digital archives, using advanced statistical modeling and machine learning, are combined with detailed text analysis and insights from our expertise in language and humanities studies. In this way our studies in language and culture are founded on robust data and evidence, ensuring scientific reproducibility/replicability.
Language and Cognitive SciencesThis division explores the structures and processes of language abilities as one human cognitive mechanism through scientific perception of human cognitive systems from the viewpoint of language information processing—how humans recognize the outside world, acquire knowledge, and process various information. Additionally, regarding cognitive linguistics —which occupies such a position in linguistics—we conduct research that bridges and applies to both theoretical frameworks and specific linguistic research.
【Foreign Language Education and Research Division】
Division of English
The mission of the Division of English is education and research in English and English culture. Sophisticated English proficiency and cultural literacy that can contribute to global society are cultivated through cooperation among faculty members from diverse backgrounds.
This is not only done in English classes for first- and second-year students, but opportunities for cultivating high-level English abilities are provided to upper-class students as well. While there is an emphasis on exact English comprehension and appropriate proficiency for university students, new approaches are being introduced such as active learning and making use of ICT (Information-Communication Technology), and English education methods appropriate to current educational needs are being developed.
As our societal contribution, we offer active cooperation such as public lectures and English instructor re-licensing courses. Additionally, our “American Library,” which was established through an agreement with the U.S. Fulbright Foundation, provides easy access to mainstay books on American culture and literature for both researchers and students.
Division of German
The Division of German has organized a research system of the linguistics, literature, history, philosophy, German language education, and areas related to these in the German cultural sphere, which includes Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Recently, in addition to further enhancement of instruction methods through audiovisual media, we are also making efforts to develop new teaching materials and educational methods through computers.
This Division, along with enthusiastically promoting overseas training and study-abroad research for staff, also deepens exchange with related domestic research organizations, such as the German Cultural Center. Within the university, this Division bears the responsibility of the German language education courses of the general education curriculum for the entire university, and conducts a wide range of German classes from basic education to advanced proficiency.
Division of French
French is not only used as an official language in the country of France itself, but also in Belgium, Switzerland, Canada, and many countries in Africa. It occupies a position alongside English as an international language. It is also the language of a great number of excellent works of literature and philosophy. It plays the important role of technical terminology throughout the academic disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, and medicine. The Division of French is also responsible for Spanish, a language with the same Latin roots that is used widely throughout the world. →Homepage of the Division of French
Division of Russian
With respect for the traditions characteristic to Russian culture, and with the current background situation of remarkable developments in basic science and applied science in Russia in recent years, the Division of Russian strives to further enhance Russian language education and research as this necessity becomes greater and greater. Also, the Division is aiming for education that can respond to the deepening of political, economic, and cultural relationships since Perestroika.
Although the size of the staff at this Division is small, we are engaged in a wide range of research on topics such as the languages, culture, history, and society of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Because there are no other specialized research departments in these fields at this university, the Division is also a window for international exchange with these regions.
In terms of education, Russian is a relatively unfamiliar language among foreign languages that are first learned in university. Therefore, efforts are being made to develop a system that enables students to easily adjust to learning with minimal discomfort. Along with this, and in the same way as cases of learning other languages that are first learned in university, the Division is striving for improvement of student expressional abilities through the enhancement of conversation classes conducted by foreign faculty members (including one full-time Russian faculty member). →Homepage of the Division of Russian
Division of Chinese
Chinese is not only used in China, but throughout the world. The importance of Chinese education is increasing, and this is not only limited to politics or economics, but in terms of cultural exchange as well.
With subjects from ancient times to the present day, from the standard language to dialects, and furthermore even as far as the languages of minority groups, the Division of Chinese conducts active research and educational activities.
In terms of education, the Division strives to teach all aspects of reading, writing, listening, and speaking Putonghua, the standard language of the People’s Republic of China. In 2015, this Division newly welcomed one faculty member whose native language is Chinese, making the number of Japanese and Chinese faculty members equal. Through this move, more balanced education that makes good use of each faculty member’s special characteristics has become possible. In addition to Chinese faculty at this university, there are also many international students from China enrolled, so it has become a wonderful environment for students to actually use the Chinese that they have acquired.
Division of Classical Languages
The Division of Classical Languages is a division engaged in the education and research of classical Greek and Latin as part of the general education curriculum.
In various areas such as philosophy, history, literature, science, law and art, Greco-Roman culture has been the matrix of the fundamental spiritual heritage governing the present day world such as humanism, democracy, rationalism, and the scientific spirit.
To efficiently learn the Greek and Latin which form the basis of these, this Division researches methods for training the ability to decipher original texts, and is putting these into practice in educational settings.
Division of Korean
The predecessor of the Division of Korean is the Korean Language Education Division of the Language and Culture Department established in 1996. In the general education curriculum of the whole university, this Division is involved in the education and research of the language and culture of the Korean cultural sphere. In terms of education, Korean as a foreign language elective was offered in the educational lecture series (as subjects of the Undergraduate Schools of Letters and Human Sciences) that was established before 1995 and held until 2007. Since 2008, the Division has continued to be responsible for the courses of Foreign Language 2 and International Education 2 that involve Korean. Above all, after the change in position from Korean as a foreign language elective to that of Foreign Language 2 and International Education 2, a much clearer distinction has been drawn between our method of education and the mere routine and plain memorization of everyday conversation or the teaching of a mish-mash of small pieces of knowledge related to the popular culture of South Korea. Based on our new perspective that “the study of Korean is fundamental to scholarship at Japanese universities,” students comprehensively learn Korean itself while getting a more intimate feel for the culture of their neighbors. The Division aims to foster the ability to scientifically analyze this, and furthermore, the ability to scientifically perceive language overall. In terms of research, although an emphasis is placed on socio-linguistic research of Korean, the Division is striving for even further expansion, and to grasp the viewpoints of the various areas of the study of Korean.