From you to Waseda, from Waseda to you
Waseda University has a 120-year-long tradition of research in the humanities rooted in research on Shakespeare by Dr. Tsubouchi Shoyo. This tradition has extended within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences which is deepening research in the human sciences and the School of Culture, Media and Society which is creating new fields and anticipating the future. The Graduate School, which furthers the special fields of both schools, provides full-scale specialty curriculum aimed at actively promoting the acquisition of the doctoral degree. As the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences, in which the traditional and progressive spirit literally coexist, we provide a setting that brings new possibilities into being.
The Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences has produced an extraordinary variety of talented people. It has long adopted liberalism, non-affiliation, independence of scholarship, and a progressive spirit and respected a tradition of bringing together outstanding people from throughout Japan, allowing their individual characters to challenge one another as they apply themselves to study. As a result, a large number of highly talented people have launched into various fields of activity. In the open ethos of the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences, we have stressed research on and respect of different cultures and the societies and traditions of heterogeneous peoples. Through personal interchange and efforts to promote mutual understanding with the countries of the West and Asia, we have established academic affiliations with overseas institutions. In the years to come, within the rapidly globalizing community, the young people who have studied enthusiastically at the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences will undoubtedly play pivotal roles in the future of the world.
Professor KAWAJIRI Akio
The Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences is involved in the academic field of humanities. A repository of academic learning gained from the study of human beings over a remarkably long period of time, Waseda University’s Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences has remained at the forefront of this field in Japan.
There are two schools in the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Science: the School of Culture, Media and Society, and the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Within both of these schools, studies are developed through the integration of three learning arms: learning that entails investigating and studying past events, learning that entails analyzing contemporary society and extracting issues, and learning that entails the construction of visions for the future based on the academic results of the first two areas.
Such learning and education in the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences is supported by six theoretical configurations in the School of Culture, Media and Society, 18 courses in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the master’s course and doctoral course of the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
Specifically, we have exercise subjects covered by the respective theoretical configurations, and subjects that bridge both Schools. There are a staggering 1,000 or more such bridge subjects, more than enough to cater to every possible study need, and allowing you to build your own unique model of study by combining such subjects as you please.
Another feature of our Faculty is the large number of language subjects that we offer. The Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences offers a number of foreign languages, streamed into various subjects according to content and level of difficulty. Furthermore, our GEC (Global Education Center), which is open to students from all faculties and departments, offers an even more diverse range of subjects. Rather than limiting yourself to a single foreign language, you can feel free to tackle two, or even more.
What should one do at university, or during one’s university days? The answer will naturally differ for each and every student. In our diverse contemporary society, not all students have clearly defined goals, but I would offer the following advice to you all: “There is no need to acquire lots of skills; but please, learn at least one thing that you can take pride in.”
Seeking nearby happiness in pursuit of one’s ideals is important, but it is not always possible to find. If that is the case, let me convey the words of Nietzsche, who said, “Dig where you stand, and you will find a spring”. His meaning is that important things are to be found close by, and that it is important to deeply pursue and further them.
Broad perspective and knowledge are certainly necessary, but I also ask that you find even just one thing that is worth experiencing with the full devotion of your heart and mind. Such experiences will mold you, above all else, and become irreplaceable assets when you go out into society.
One principle governing the education and research at Waseda University is “Independence of Scholarship.” This means that, while it is vital to learn from and acquire the thoughts and behavior of other people, one should value one’s own thinking and uniqueness without becoming overly concerned about others.
Such a spirit can be found in the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences, which is alive with creative and original learning and thinking. I ask all students to acquire their own unique sensitivity and thinking while working hard in a friendly rivalry with fellows assembled from around Japan and all over the world. Above all, it is important to question all things, think things through, and seek to improve oneself. Of course, to do this, one must borrow wisdom and strength from one’s teachers, books, and fellows. We faculty members will spare no effort in cooperating for this goal, and we look forward to meeting you full on.
If you wish to continue your studies, the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences also has the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Although it may not be easy, here you can touch upon the “truth of learning” while conducting exchanges with researchers from Japan and around the world. Many researchers and individuals endowed with specialized knowledge have advanced into active roles throughout the world from the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
One factor behind the development of such learning and study at the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences has been the rich international flavor of Waseda University, which has actively received many international students since before WWII. Today, Waseda University has more international students than any other university in Japan, and it should not be forgotten that, in particular, many people who have been or who are currently active in the countries of Asia are graduates of this institution.
In recognition of its performance and achievements, Waseda University was selected as a Top Type university under the Top Global University Project in 2014. This means that Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology earmarked Waseda as a pilot university for world-class education and research, and provided intensive support as a result.
The Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences has one of the centers of education and research for this project, namely the Ryusaku Tsunoda Center of Japanese Culture, which has established partnerships with overseas universities, including Columbia University and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In addition to hosting international symposiums, dual-degree programs have been adopted whereby students can acquire dual degrees by studying at both the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences and at an overseas partner university.
Moving forward, the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences aims to further enhance our activities as an international hub of Japanese literary research. Especially amid the advancing globalization of our contemporary society, there is an urgent need to view our immediate Japanese culture and transmit it to the world.
At first glance, it may seem that the study of humanities is at odds with contemporary society and its rapidly advancing AI. However, the opposite is true: for the people of the world to exist together, now is the very time to reconsider the existence of humans and the condition of society and raise objections to the “present”.
The mission of the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences at Waseda University will only become more important into the future.
Senior Dean & Deputy Dean
*From left side
Professor JINNO Hidenori ：Deputy Dean for International Affairs & Director of Research Institute for Letters, Arts and Sciences
Professor KUSANO Keiko ：Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Professor KAWAJIRI Akio ：Senior Dean of the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences & Dean of the School of Culture, Media and Society
Professor TAKAMATSU Hisao ： Dean of Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences