My Graduation Thesis Experience

Asian Studies Concentration

Aiko Segawa
English Studies

When I was in the Faculty of Foreign Studies Department of English Studies, I minored in Asian Culture (from the 2014 academic year, the name has changed to the Asian Studies Concentration), and the theme I chose for my graduation thesis was “fair trade.” For someone like me, who had grown up in the countryside, and moved to Tokyo longing to see the “wide world,” it was shocking to learn about the various problems caused by poverty. I was attracted to the idea of using “fair trade” rather than “aid” from developed countries as a tool for poverty reduction. “Fair trade” is a form of business that brings together the work (purpose in life) and sense of responsibility for products of producers in developing nations with consumers in developed nations who have a strong ethical viewpoint. In order to write my thesis, I traveled to the Philippines to carry out research, and there I met women who lived on mountains of trash and who were producing handcrafts. It was amazing to see the sparkle in the eyes of those women who took such pride in their work!

The Faculty of Foreign Studies system allowed me to select Asian Studies as my concentration. It was this system and the seminar of my irreplaceable teacher, Professor Kei Nemoto, that led me to discover free discourse and ideas transcending the conventional bounds of the faculty. The things I learned at Sophia University opened my life to new possibilities and made my eyes sparkle. To all of you who are reading this, I hope that your university life will be truly rewarding and that your memories will sparkle as well!

2009 graduate of Faculty of Foreign Studies;
currently working at JETRO; Thesis title: “Fair Trade as a Poverty Reduction Tool”