Apr. 23, 2021
Message from the Dean
Thinking from multiple perspectives
The Japanese name for the School of Humanities means “cultivation design.” Many people are undoubtedly bewildered by this unfamiliar name.
What is the meaning behind it?
As is well known, the term “cultivation” straddles several research fields, as evidenced by its use in the phrases “wide-ranging cultivation” and “the principle of comprehensive cultivation.” “Design,” of course, refers to planning and conception. Therefore, the Graduate School of Humanities is a graduate school whose aim is to have students design their own research by integrating knowledge in several fields. In other words, it is also a graduate school for conducting research from multiple perspectives in approaching a single issue. Each student naturally has the special competence matching his or her research theme. However, the Graduate School of Humanities is distinguished by research in this expertise from multiple perspectives.
This raises a question: Why is it necessary to design cultivation in this day and age?
It is because, in contemporary society, people are being called upon to assess phenomena spanning a plural number of fields comprehensively instead of sticking to just one field of expertise. Research of water pollution, for example, demands not only scientific knowledge of the pollution but also knowledge of society, politics, ethics, and other related matters. A multiple perspective is needed even to consider a single problem. Similarly, one assigned to product development at a food company, too, now must have knowledge not only about food products, nutrition, and hygiene but also about marketing and the media. Moreover, as that person’s social position rises, he or she will have to make decisions with more of a global vision. People who stick to just one vantage or shut themselves up in a single expertise will readily lose their jobs to AI in the future.
Engagement in research from a multiple perspective is also the advisable new approach to acquisition of knowledge. In the coming age, we will not be able to resolve problems posed by our complex contemporary society merely by affirming the conventional either-or choices between humanities and sciences, theory and practice, Occidental and Oriental, civilized and uncivilized, technology and philosophy, and conscious and unconscious. We must at the same time consider the fundamental connection between these mutual opposites. To this end, when researching one theme, it is necessary to simultaneously probe it from a plural number of perspectives. The German philosopher Nietzsche asserted the importance of “Kranken-Optik,” i.e., the optics of the sick. He viewed things from a healthy perspective at some times and from the perspective of the sick at others. I believe this kind of multiplex outlook is exactly what we who are living in this complex age need.
The Graduate School of the Humanities is divided into three courses: Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion; Culture; and Peace and the Environment. Students pursue research from the standpoints of philosophy, ethics, and anthropology in the Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion Course, strive to understand the world’s diversity of different cultures in the Culture Course, and study the deconstruction of war and peace, and harmony with nature, in the Peace and the Environment Course. In each course, students are furnished with advice for research drawing on a plural number of perspectives. In addition, at venues such as symposiums, the Izumi Campus Tent Project, and book review events, the Graduate School of Humanities offers intellectual exchange between different courses as well as extensive interaction with other research organs and universities
We also have prepared a full assortment of economic support for research by our students. Coupled with scholarships and the teaching/research assistant (TA/RA) program, this support provides generous protection for the continuation of research. In addition, we have many partner schools in other countries and actively encourage our students to study abroad. In this connection, our Graduate School registry also contains students and professionals from other countries. Students can look forward to a variety of interchange with all sorts of people.
We hope you will consider pursuing research with us at the Graduate School of Humanities.
Takuji Iwano, Doctor of Philosophy and Dean, Graduate School of Humanities