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Design New Meaning and Style of Liberal Arts

The Graduate School of Humanities is a new school that was established at the Izumi Campus in 2008. At the Izumi Campus, freshmen and sophomore students, mainly from humanities-related undergraduate courses, study to build a foundation for their field of specialization and a wide range of liberal arts fields. In this way, the Graduate School of Humanities is best suited to this campus, allowing us to explore what human beings should do to live with peace and happiness, across the borders of the existing academic fields.

What does “liberal arts” mean? It is not limited to individual disciplines such as law, economics, literature or chemistry, but probably encompasses all academic fields that are taught at university. In English, the term liberal arts also means “culture,” and “culture” was originally used in contrast to the concept of “nature.” The original meaning was to cultivate the soil in its natural state to grow crops. It is the same with “knowledge.” Learning and training outside the boxes of academic fields provide a firm, rich foundation for thinking, and opens infinite possibilities.

Design is made up of “de-” (below) and “-sign” (to mark), in other words, it includes such meanings as to draw a foundation, to plan, or to envisage. The Graduate School of Humanities aims to “envisage and plan” liberal arts necessary for people in these modern times, and to help them “establish” their own way of life based on an intellectual foundation.

In order to take a leading role in the whole wide world, each one of us has to judge what is going on in various situations in a comprehensive manner, and act appropriately by our own judgment. What is necessary to make a judgment is to have a clear view of what to do, and this requires a wide and deep cultural foundation shaped by intellectual training. We aim to “establish a personal culture” in such a true sense of the term.

In line with this, our School’s basic policy for education and research activities is “the quest for harmonization of humanity and the environment,” and we offer three research courses: the Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion course, which introduces new speculations in the spiritual field that has been discarded by the modern society pursuing material wealth; the Culture course, which allows students to distance themselves from familiar viewpoints and review the world from a new perspective; and the Peace and the Environment course, which explores the manner in which we can achieve co-existence and symbiotic relationships in social and natural environments.

These research fields are closely linked with each other. To combine these themes, wide-ranging knowledge and deep insight is essential. While it may be difficult, it is also a stimulating and thrilling intellectual task. Instead of problem-solving ability to resolve specific issues, we aim to develop a problem-finding ability to cultivate “sustained intellectual curiosity.”

To engage in comprehensive, interdisciplinary education and research in various specialized fields, we have assembled researchers from diverse fields in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. Students also perform various tasks, free from the boundaries of existing academic fields and independent of their majors during their undergraduate studies. Since we actively welcome international students and working adults, we also attract students from wide-ranging backgrounds. This must be the best place to build your own true cultural foundation.

Dean, Graduate School of Humanities

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