Professor KUSANO Keiko
More than 10 years have passed since the new School of Humanities and Social Sciences was founded on the Toyama Campus of Waseda University. Together with the School of Culture, Media and Society, the present School of Humanities and Social Sciences was formed when the previous School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I and School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II underwent reorganization. As its name suggests, it is widely recognized that the School of Humanities and Social Sciences officially, strongly inherits the traditions of not only the School of Letters, Arts and Sciences I and School of Letters, Arts and Sciences II (from 1949), but going further back in time, the Department of Literature at Tokyo Senmon Gakko (Tokyo College), which was the predecessor to Waseda University in 1890, and the “Department of Literature of Waseda” established under the University Act enacted in 1920.
As a graduate of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences I myself, upon encountering the name “School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Waseda University”, I feel a measure of pride in being connected with such tradition, and am filled with a sense of gratitude for the great and precious gifts I have received from this place.
The word “tradition” can sometimes be used in a negative context, inferring to “rest on tradition”, but I see things differently. Based on the firm traditions of our School of Humanities and Social Sciences, everybody who belongs to and is involved with the School is charged with the mission of protecting these traditions while at the same time transforming, widening and deepening them by imparting fresh impetus. For example, just as psychology traces its origins to philosophy, the world of humanities has developed through repeated differentiation, integration, development and expansion. From academic year 2017, in addition to the 17 conventional 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”, we have also launched a new course, namely “The Middle East and Islam”. This too is an expression of our determination based on our pride in continuing to lead Japanese humanities while keenly responding to international trends and global diversity.
The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is a school of “Letters”. Just what does this mean?
I ask you simply to contemplate the infinite possibilities that this question opens up. Fully appreciate a landscape that is filled with reading, writing, painting, symbolization, remembering, recording, weaving and connecting, nurturing, discovering, coexisting, and putting in order. This refers to all the works of the soul, body, intellect and feelings. It concerns intellect and elegance. All of these things represent the canvass of learning at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Such learning will support you, impart meaning and significance to your human existence, and continue to offer guidance throughout your life.