Asian Studies

Invitation to Asian Studies

Asia is the region in which we live and act. Here in the Faculty of Foreign Studies, we want all our students to take an interest in and build a deeper understanding of the area immediately around them. In the Asian Studies concentration, students develop a better understanding of their own connection with the broader Asian region through area studies grounded in close ties with the local communities. Focusing on Southeast and South Asia, they get to know the history, culture, society, and religion of each area in intimate detail while also learning the methodology of area studies.

In lecture courses and seminars, our faculty members, besides those from the Faculty of Global Studies, with which we have close inter-faculty ties, draw on a wealth of field experience in various Asian countries. A wide range of course offerings, from introductions to seminars, provide students with the guidance and tools to systematically deepen their study of the issues that interest them the most. The concentration also gives students the opportunity to take classes in any of nine different Asian languages—Korean, Chinese, Burmese, Arabic, Persian, Thai, Cambodian, Filipino, and Indonesian —in addition to their major (first foreign) language. Each of our faculty members leads seminars in which students pursue their studies more deeply and complete seminar papers, seminar projects, and graduation theses on the research topics of their choice.

Academic Aims of the Asian Studies Concentration

1. To help students acquire the basic and applied knowledge they need to deepen their understanding of the history, societies, cultures, religions, and languages of the Asian region, particularly Southeast and South Asia; provide training in scholarly methodology; and promote the Asian language skills needed for a direct knowledge of local society.

2. To enable students to pose their own scholarly questions and provide the guidance they need to conduct independent research based on those questions.

3. To support and assist students in traveling to the Asian countries that interest them, in order to engage in language study, research, or academic exchange for a set period of time, in keeping with the concentration’s emphasis on first-hand experience.

4. To help students develop a deeper global perspective through Asian Studies and enable them to contribute to future relations between Japan and the rest of the region in a professional or intellectual capacity.

Curriculum of the Asian Studies Concentration

Introductory Courses

Concentration introductory courses, such as those listed below, establish a foundation for more specialized work in Asian studies. Students who select the Asian Studies concentration begin by taking a selection of courses from this category in order to develop their basic knowledge and skills.

Selected Course Offerings :

Anthropology of Globalization
Global History
Religion and Civilization
Introduction to Fieldwork 
Introduction to Southeast Asian Studies
Introduction to South Asian Studies
Introduction to East Asian Studies

Core Courses

The concentration’s core courses offer an opportunity for more advanced and specialized learning that builds on the basic knowledge and methodology acquired in our introductory courses. Students are urged to choose freely from these course offerings, guided by their own intellectual curiosity and interests.

Selected Course Offerings :

History of Japanese Immigration
Asia and the Lusophone World
Southeast Asian Archeology
Southeast Asian History (modern and contemporary)
Political Sociology of Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian Culture
South Asian Religion and Thought
Asia’s Cultural Heritage
Environment and Development in Asia
Anthropology of NGOs and Social Activism
Special Topics in International Cooperation and Preservation of Cultural Assets
Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations
International Cooperation

Seminar Courses

In seminar courses, open to third- and fourth-year students, learning is a student-directed process. Instead of passively receiving knowledge from the instructor, students choose research topics based on questions and concerns of their own, gather and read the relevant literature on the topic, conduct field research, analyze and interpret the data, and finally write up their research in the form of a graduation thesis. Seminars are an opportunity for students to sum up their college experience in a final research project that brings their concentration studies to fruition.

Selected Course Offerings :

Seminar in Globalization and Migration
Seminar in Asian Studies A
Seminar in Asian Studies B
Seminar in Asian Studies C
Seminar in Asian Studies D
Seminar in Asian Studies E
Seminar in Asian Studies F