Comparative Culture

Comparative Culture

Providing recommendations for the modern era based on the study of human behavior in the past

The Comparative Culture Program compares and studies all dimensions of culture based on problem-oriented methods, to nurture responsible and perspicacious leaders embodying the spirit of liberal arts.

Message from the Director

CLA.SANO Yoshinori・佐野好則050404.JPG

Program Director
Prof. SANO, Yoshinori

The Comparative Culture Program of the ICU Graduate School has two major characteristics. One is its interdisciplinary approach. The program offers two areas of concentration, Japanese Culture Studies and Transcultural Studies, which cover four fields: history, philosophy/religion, music/arts, and literature. Both provide comprehensive perspectives transcending traditional academic disciplines. Our multinational faculty offer a unique approach for each field: a Hungarian professor teaches medieval Japanese history, a Bulgarian professor lectures on Japanese literature and a Japanese professor specializes in modern French history. The Comparative Culture Program faculty members transcend national borders and language barriers in research and education.

The second is the learning environment. Small classes are crucial for scrupulous guidance in transdisciplinary studies at the graduate level. Faculty members heed the needs of students through discussion and individual consultation. Three faculty members specializing in different fields advise students writing a master's thesis.

Students develop a deep understanding of the world by comparing their own culture with that of others. They learn to look at the world in relative terms. We pride ourselves in offering an environment where students and faculty from diverse backgrounds work together in new ways to study traditional academic disciplines.

Some may say that the study of comparative culture may not be significant for the real world, but the relative perspective that students acquire through this program is an intellectual training that will benefit all in society. Students work in diverse fields after they acquire a master's in this program. Success in their respective fields shows how learning in this concentration benefits all. The variety of jobs they choose reflects the benefits of the liberal arts education at ICU.

Voice of Faculty

KOJIMA, Yasunori

I specialize in the history of Japanese thought, especially that of the Edo Era. My research interests include systematized or doctrinal thought such as Confucianism, Buddhism, study of Japanese classical culture, as well as the commoners' view of life and death.

The university is a place to train the intellect, not an institution that provides prepackaged information for efficient learning. This is why I avoid overprotecting my students. The Comparative Culture Program enables students to study across various disciplines from a multi-lateral perspective. But this breadth should not lead us to resemble a continuing education center. We need to delve deeply into our specialty and use this foundation to cross borders into other fields. Join us in forming an exciting community of intellectuals.

Area of Concentrations

There are two "Area of Concentration" for Comparative Culture Program.

  • Japanese Culture Studies
  • Transcultural Studies

In Japanese Culture Studies, students will learn research methods of Japanese culture based on comparative analysis of Japanese culture, and on the understanding of cultural influences from overseas. Students will develop their skills of characterizing Japanese culture in relation to other cultures by taking Methods of Comparative Culture Studies, which is a compulsory course and taught by teaching staffs of different fields, and other courses on various aspects of cultures outside Japan. The participation in courses on Japanese culture (art and music, literature, history, philosophy and religion) will enable them to develop an interdisciplinary approach to their research topics. Each student will have a personal academic advisor, who will help his/her advisee utilize specialized knowledge and comparative perspectives towards the production of Master thesis. Students graduate with a Master of Arts in Comparative Culture.

In Transcultural Studies, students will aim at advancing their research based on free and dynamic cultural understanding which is not hampered by traditional research framework. They will acquire basic research skills in cultural and historical studies by taking Methods of Comparative Culture Studies and other courses on various aspects (art and music, literature, history, philosophy and religion) of different cultures. They will enhance their knowledge of cultural exchanges and acquire insights into fundamental structure of culture by interdisciplinary comparative analysis. Each student's academic advisor will help his/her advisee approach respective research topic from wider perspectives in the production of Master thesis. Students graduate with a Master of Arts in Comparative Culture.

ICU Society for the Study of Comparative Culture

Faculties, graduates and students in the Master's and Doctoral Course are encouraged to join the ICU Society for the Study of Comparative Culture. The society supports members' research activities and issues ICU Comparative Culture to publish members' research theses. Also, the ICU Comparative Culture Series provides the opportunity to publish superb doctorate theses.

For detail: ICU Society for the Study of Comparative Culture website