School of Culture, Media and SocietyWaseda University


【JCulP】 Faculty Interview: What Makes JCulP Unique?

Dr. Hitomi Yoshio, Associate Professor, School of Culture, Media and Society

JCulP’s learning environment brings out the strengths of each student

The Global Studies in Japanese Cultures Program (JCulP), established in the School of Culture, Media and Society in April 2017, is a unique program that brings together Japanese and overseas students to learn about various aspects of Japanese culture in English. With students from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds studying within the same program, our aim is to explore and reexamine Japanese culture from multiple and global perspectives. In the first year, Japanese students focus on acquiring academic skills to raise their functional English ability, especially in learning to write academic essays. For overseas students, while Japanese language is not a prerequisite upon admission, they will learn Japanese after enrollment and can take a variety of courses in English and Japanese to fulfill graduation requirements.

JCulP’s class sizes are small, so discussions are an important part of every course, whether a lecture or a seminar. In the classes, Japanese and overseas students share their own unique perspectives through discussions and group work, resulting in a diverse approach to learning. Having been educated in Japan doesn’t mean the Japanese students are the only experts of Japanese culture. On the other hand, it is not necessarily those who speak English fluently that can hold interesting discussions and write thought-provoking essays. JCulP provides a stimulating environment that brings out the best from students of diverse backgrounds, allowing the students to demonstrate their own individual strengths by studying side by side.

Finding your own approach to exploring Japanese culture

In the first year, students mostly take required courses that will build a foundation of their learning, while, from the second year, students pursue their own interests by taking advanced seminars that are theme-based. In their final two years, students will enroll in a “Zemi” seminar that will culminate in the completion of a graduation thesis. Throughout the four years, students can deepen their learning of Japanese culture from various angles, whether they are interested in the traditional arts or in contemporary popular subcultures. Besides courses offered by JCulP, students can also take courses taught in English and Japanese in the School of Culture, Media and Society and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, giving them many opportunities to study with students from outside the program. In addition, we offer a variety of activities outside of class, such as excursions and guest lectures by visiting scholars and professionals.

By studying Japanese culture from a global perspective, students will make new discoveries about Japan and the world around them. The experience of studying in the global metropolis of Tokyo, together with students from all over the world, is in itself an important part of their university education. We are confident that our students will flourish on the international stage when the time comes to leave JCulP to go out into society.

Global Studies in Japanese Cultures Program

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