Professor, Faculty of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, Waseda University
Chair, preparation committee for ‘Global Studies of Japanese Cultures Program (JCulP)’
An anthropologist Franz Boas used a metaphor of ‘cultural glasses’ to refer to the fact that no one can perceive reality as it is or as in the same way as others. We cannot help seeing the world through the “glasses” created by our own culture, and, what is worse, most of us are not aware that they wear them. We tend to see some views on our culture given from the people outside as ‘wrong’ or ‘prejudiced’, but we usually don’t imagine that perhaps our view can also be distorted by the glasses we wear.
One of the purposes of JCulP is to raise its participants’ awareness on those cultural glasses by providing a pluricultural study environment where they are exposed to various perspectives that might sometimes seem to be incompatible. The program participants with a variety of backgrounds from inside and outside Japan will be able to learn each other’s viewpoints and examine the differences between them. The experience will then expand and deepen their insight into cultures, and surely help them construct their own perspectives and ideas on them.
With an aim to achieve the above purposes, JCulP will admit up to fifteen Japanese students and fifteen international students as part of the School of Culture, Media and Society’s Transcultural Studies Major. Japanese students will complete their graduation requirements through English-based coursework. The program does not require international students to have Japanese proficiency upon admission, but international students will study Japanese language while completing the program’s English-based coursework. Students will conduct research on Japanese culture, and as part of the School of Culture, Media and Society, will engage in broad, interdisciplinary studies. JCulP participants will never be isolated in their study, given a variety of opportunities to learn and communicate with students outside the program, major, and schools. The program will prepare students to acquire, deepen and spread their knowledge of Japanese culture to the rest of the world.
Fumihito Ando received both his B.A.(1980) and M.A.(1984) from Waseda University and is now Professor at its Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences. He specializes in comparative literature, especially the influence of English literature on Sōseki Natsume’s writings.