Dean of the Graduate School of Political Science
Welcome to the website of the Graduate School of Political Science at Waseda University.
My name is Ikuo Kume. As of January 2021, I have started serving as dean of the Graduate School of Political Science.
The seemingly everlasting coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted this graduate school’s entrance examinations, education, and research, and I am keenly aware of the considerable inconveniences affecting everyone that have arisen from this situation. There is still no end in sight for our predicament, but all faculty members are continuing to strive as hard as possible to maintain the quality of the education and research that we conduct. I would like to kindly ask for your continued understanding and cooperation.
The coronavirus pandemic that is currently roiling the world has provided us all with an enormous trial to pass. This trial is more than just elucidating the mechanisms by which COVID-19 causes disease, developing vaccines and treatments, and other challenges in the field of medicine. This is also a societal challenge that concerns how we will overcome this infectious disease. Regarding the latter challenge, how have our political leaders fared in handling the crisis? Their triumphs and failures are now major topics for discussion. The reasons for the success—or lack thereof—of the measures that leaders have implemented are often looked for in their capabilities and characters. It is obviously true that the quality of political leadership affects whether measures will succeed or fail.
However, more in-depth considerations are needed to aim to solve the problems we face now and, further, to learn lessons for the future. Determining whether one country’s policies have succeeded and another have failed is embedded with the difficult problem of the very standards by which we should measure success or failure. A balance between measures to fight infection and economic activity is frequently talked about, but even by that standard it is not clear what kind of situation we should be aiming for. This has been the cause of various debates. Furthermore, each country’s political system, political circumstances, historical experiences, and other factors greatly determine how expert knowledge is reflected in deciding on policies, how quickly those decisions can be made, and how binding the enforcement of those policies can be. Political leaders are forced to make decisions under such constraints, and this influences whether policies will succeed or fail. Another crucial issue when it comes to the means that are expected to finally put a stop to this pandemic—namely, vaccines—is how priorities should be set, both internationally and domestically, for who will receive inoculations before others. This would seem to not only be a practical question of which way of doing things will most effectively bring this pandemic to an end but also to entail questions of fairness. Going beyond the debates alluded to above, it is clear that our response to the coronavirus pandemic is constrained by the state of our politics and society; it seems that the potential success of any policies will depend on strategies that are based on a correct understanding of those constraints.
This graduate school has established required courses covering three methodological categories for our students to study: those covering empirical methods, in which reality is analyzed based on quantitative and qualitative data; those covering mathematical methods, in which reality is modeled and analyzed theoretically; and those covering methods of conceptual analysis, in which students are taught to understand and use normative concepts effectively. Building on these methodologies, we have established areas of study, including contemporary politics, political thought, political history, comparative politics, international relations, public policy, and journalism. Thus, we have created a framework in which students can proceed with their studies based on a strong methodological bedrock. This graduate school is proud of how it has produced numerous talented researchers and advanced professionals active in society who have studied such methodologies interwoven with specific topics of research. I have every confidence that this framework for research and education will serve as a vital set of intellectual infrastructure for conceiving of and researching responses to the current coronavirus pandemic.
However, this will not be the end of our journey. We will enrich our research and learning environment in ways both tangible and intangible, further expand our staff capable of being active at an internationally recognized academic level, strive further improve our frameworks for research and education, and aim to remain an education and research institution of the first order internationally. I believe that these very efforts will be our path toward contributing to resolving the various societal issues that can still be expected to persist after the current COVID-19 crisis has been dealt with. On behalf of the Graduate School of Political Science, I ask for you to continue to bestow on us your understanding and support.
GraduateSchool of Public Management
Associate Dean: Haruko Noguchi
It has been over a decade since the April 2003 establishment of the Waseda University Graduate School of Public Management, which was Japan’s post-graduate institution for fostering public-policy professionals. Looking at the Graduate School of Public Management through the lens of the more than 135-year history of Waseda University—founded in 1882—the graduate school may be a new organization. And yet, it almost goes without saying that the school is built on the foundation of Waseda University’s history and tradition of study in the areas of political science and economics.
Public management consists of analysis of its target subject of issues affecting the modern world. This analysis uses a diverse range of academic disciplines, including the study of political science, public administration, economics, public finance, public law, management, sociology, and data science. At the same time, public management is a theme of academic pursuit which must never turn its gaze from human social and economic behavior and the actual society that is the totality of that collective behavior. Its true calling is to serve as a bridge between the acts of theorizing and verification and the work of actual practice. To meet these requirements, the Graduate School of Public Management’s faculty includes both researchers who stand at the forefront of the field academically and practitioners with mastery of public administration based on real-world experience.
Assembled at the Graduate School of Public Management are those who seek to involve themselves in public administration from various standpoints—as national and local public servants and politicians, businesspeople, activists working at non-governmental/non-profit organizations, thinktank researchers, and consultants—as well as those who are already active at the leading edges of these fields of service and aim to gain new knowledge and mastery and to even better prepare themselves to face new challenges. Perhaps the most appealing aspects of the Graduate School of Public Management are the dynamism that gives rise to this diversity of perspectives and the opening of new horizons of possibility.
In the art of haiku, there is the concept of the seemingly opposing ideals of “immutability and fluidity.” To us, immutability means that there is a “verity,” or truth, that remains the same even as the times change; fluidity refers to the rules that shift along with the times. As conditions in Japan and around the world change at a dizzying pace, what is needed today is to study the unchanging truth while discerning the rules that are ever in flux based on the era and the environment and then to foster the ability to solve the problems and issues that real-world society faces. Immutability and fluidity are thus not to be thought of as separate things in mutual opposition.
The Waseda University Graduate School of Public Management thus offers a research environment that allows students to learn the methods and procedures for applying theory and verification to real-world society through the systematic study of the academic disciplines needed to achieve the goal outlined above, as well as through training in field studies, case studies, the analysis of real data, and other methodologies. We can hardly wait for all of you with strong wills and desires regarding public affairs to come join us in helping to improve the social and economic environment that encompasses us all.