Professor TAKAMATSU Hisao
Waseda University’s Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences offers a full curriculum comprising more than 20 courses (specialized fields) for both the Master’s Program and the Doctoral Program. We are proud to say that our diverse research guidance and subject content place us among the finest humanities graduate schools in Japan. In addition to traditional fields of learning, we have also actively engaged in establishing new courses.
Recently, in academic year 2017, our “Middle East and Islam” course was launched in both the Master’s and Doctoral Programs, while our “International Japanese Studies” course was newly established in the Doctoral Program in September 2018. The former course not only targets study of the specific culture of Islam in the limited area of the Middle East, but equally addresses approaches to the diverse religions and cultures of the Middle East and Islamic culture, which is increasingly attracting interest as it spreads through the world. The latter course, which is based on our store of knowledge accumulated over more than 100 years of research into Japanese culture, is intended to train individuals who can transmit this knowledge to the rest of the world. Waseda University has been selected under the 2014 Top Global University Project by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the International Japanese Studies course was launched as a core initiative for this project.
As may be gathered from these two newly launched courses, recent trends of internationalization and diversification are having a distinct impact on our humanities research. This is also true of traditional specialized disciplines. Research into not only Japanese culture but also the thought, literature, and history of any country can no longer be feasibly conducted within the framework of specific states or regions. I think the intrinsic goal of research is to explain to others in understandable terms the things in which one is interested. If people can convey these things in such a way as to allow others to acquire similar feelings of interest, an even greater sense of reward can be gained. The modern challenge for researchers lies in exploring ways to explain things in one’s own words.
I started this piece by talking about the scale of the curriculum in this Graduate School. This diverse body of subjects includes numerous common subjects that can be selected regardless of one’s course, and our own students can also select subjects from other courses too. In our Master’s Program, we newly enroll more than 100 students every year. Through absorbing information and methodology from numerous subjects and conducting debates with a variety of peers, I hope that everybody’s study life will be rich and fruitful. To this end, the entire university is reinforcing a variety of scholarship schemes geared to providing further support to students.