Professor MORIHARA, Takashi
Although the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is a relatively new school that was launched at the same time as the School of Culture, Media and Society in 2007 when the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences was founded and the schools were reorganized, its history can be traced as far back as 1890, when Dr. Shoyo Tsubouchi established the Department of Literature in Tokyo Senmon Gakko (Tokyo College). This was eight years after Tokyo College (later renamed Waseda University) had been founded by Shigenobu Okuma in 1882. Chartered under the new University Act enacted in 1920, the Department of Literature was reorganized into an undergraduate department of Waseda University, which was now officially a university, and came to be known as the “Department of Literature of Waseda,” one of the representative departments of the University. Then, in 1949, a new education law was put into force, and the department was divided into two schools: the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I with day classes and the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II (Evening Division) with classes at night. From that time, the two schools were contributing to society by producing numerous outstanding human resources until April 2007 when the two were reorganized into the current School of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The purpose of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is to delve into various phenomena and expressions concerning the world, society and people, based on the traditional systems and disciplines of humanities studies, and discover the details and essence of them. Its mission is to develop and establish new studies of humanities towards the formation of a richer society for people in the future to meet the new needs of the 21st-century postmodern world while inheriting the academic accumulation of traditional studies of philosophy, literature and history. Toward this objective, the School promotes specialized education and research by providing 17 specialty courses, namely “Philosophy,” “Asian Philosophy,” “Psychology,” “Sociology,” “Education,” “Japanese Studies,” “Chinese Studies,” “English Studies,” “French Studies,” German Studies,” “Russian Studies,” “Theatre and Film Arts,” “Art History,” “Japanese History,” “Asian History,” “Western History” and “Archaeology.” In addition to these, a new course, “The Middle East and Islam,” will be launched in 2017, to provide students with even more options and promote visionary and evolutionary studies and research.
Today’s modern world appears to be spiraling into deeper and deeper confusion. Particularly, after the termination of the Cold War between the East and West towards the end of the 20th century, new problems and disputes derived from ethnic, religious, language and cultural conflicts have been surfacing more and more. Generally speaking, studies done in the School are not really “practical studies” that provide direct solutions to these problems in the form of specific methods, means, techniques or technologies. However, the type of “humanities knowledge” these departments develop by learning the rich accumulation of academic studies produced by human beings in the past and looking as deeply as possible into themes such as “what humans are,” “what society is” and “what the world is” to unravel them is certain to become more and more essential for the growth of modern society in the 21st century and future society as an important guide for their construction. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is a place for people to learn such “humanities knowledge” together and improve their understanding.