When you first hear the phrase, it seems to be saying that in order to learn, you need to experience life directly, rather than from reading books. But when you read more closely, you realize that you can only “close” a book once you’ve “opened” it. Only after opening and reading books will you be ready to “close” the book and experience life.
I think this is a good motto for JCulP. As JCulP students, you will read and discuss all kinds of interesting books in the classroom with your classmates and professors. They will open your eyes and imagination to new worlds. But you will also need to “close” the book at some point, and get out into the streets of Tokyo to experience Japanese culture with your own eyes and feet. You need both of those elements to have a holistic learning experience.
What will you learn at JCulP?
You may want to come to JCulP for many reasons. Some of you may be interested in anime or manga. Some of you might be into J-pop, or enjoy reading the latest Murakami novel. Or, some of you may have a fascination for the traditional arts, like tea ceremony, martial arts, or calligraphy. We welcome all of those interests as entry points to learning more deeply about Japanese culture. You don’t need any previous knowledge of Japanese before you start the program, but you will have mastered the language by the time you graduate.
At JCulP, you will learn about Japanese culture from many different angles. There will be introductory survey courses that will give you a good solid foundation on Japanese literature, history, visual and performing arts, and thought and religion. From there, you can take a variety of other courses such as pop culture, cinema, diversity and multiculturalism, Japanese folklore, and so on. There are also more specialized upper level seminars on topics such as “Ghosts and the Supernatural” “Science Fiction” or “Global Tokyo.”
What is a typical JCulP student?
There is no typical JCulP student since we welcome diversity. Some of you may already have studied Japanese and know quite a bit about contemporary Japanese subculture. Some of you may not have any background on Japan, but are just simply curious to learn about other cultures. Whatever background you have, you are unique and will have a great deal to contribute to the learning community at JCulP. What we look for most in our students are curiosity, creativity, and interest in communicating with people from other cultures.
Each year will have around 15 Japanese students and 15 students from overseas. The classroom size will be small, and you’ll be encouraged to actively participate in the class and have discussions. You won’t just sit back and take in knowledge from your professors at JCulP; you will share your thoughts and opinions, and produce knowledge together. You will also be encouraged to take advantage of living in the great city of Tokyo. On the weekends, you might take the train and go into town to check out exhibitions, festivals, parks, and so on. Tokyo has so much to offer that I’m sure you’ll find yourself quite busy!
How will JCulP change you?
We want to help you change the way you think and approach the world. One thing to note is that when we study about Japan, we never look at Japan in isolation. We see Japan as existing within a larger network of cultures, and always compare with other East Asian cultures or Western cultures. That’s one of the advantages of studying the material in both English and Japanese. By learning Japanese, you can gain a deep insight into the culture, the history, and the people. But by getting out of the Japanese language, you’ll be able to explain ideas and concepts that were thought to be obvious with a fresh new perspective.
By studying at JCulP, you’ll not only be an expert in Japanese language and culture, but also gain a new perspective on your own cultures and become a true global citizen ready to take on the international stage. You’ll make great friends from Japan and from all over the world that will last for a lifetime. And, I may be biased, but I think Tokyo is one of the best cities in the world. Come be part of this exciting program!
JCulP students welcomed 14 Honors College students from Florida International University visiting from Miami, FL, U.S.A. Here, they are having a lively group discussion on the topic of “Japanese Culture in a Global Context.”
Manoa Yamaguchi joins FIU students in presenting a proposal on a new type of Japanese festival that welcomes the participation of foreign visitors.