A Word from the Dean

 What is “comparative culture”? The word “comparison” followed by the word “culture” suddenly sounds difficult, but isn’t our daily life a series of “comparisons”? What do you eat for lunch? Italian? Indian? As for fashion, which coat do you choose? Red or black? We compare everyday life. By comparing, we can clearly understand the characteristics of things and determine what we need. We repeat this kind of “comparison” on a daily basis. “Comparative culture” is an extension of such familiar “comparisons. We need to “compare” in order to understand and judge the differences, similarities, and characteristics of different people and things. Only by comparing Japanese and other cultures and identifying their similarities and differences can we recognize what is different.  There is a work of art called Nanban Byobu. It depicts the first Europeans that Japan encountered from the Age of Civil Wars to the early Edo Period. The brush strokes of the painters of the time, who depicted Europeans with large bodies, large eyes and noses, different skin colors, and different languages, visually show us the differences between the two. And then I think, why are they so different, even though they are the same people? What is the same? What is different? And to think about and clarify the reasons is “comparative culture. We cannot think internationally without comparing ourselves with other cultures. In fact, we cannot know ourselves without comparing ourselves with others. Only when we understand the distinctions and the reasons for them can we recognize ourselves and others. By “comparing,” we know ourselves and we know others. By “comparing,” we learn about ourselves, and we learn about others, and by exploring the reasons for our differences, we understand each other better. Comparative Culture” is a fundamental study to understand different cultures and how we can live together in the future. Please join us and enjoy learning about comparative culture with your antenna of curiosity.

April 1, 2024
Dean of the Faculty of Comparative Culture
Kazumi Nukui

A Word from the Chairperson

 In the Faculty of Comparative Culture we believe that the study of Japanese culture is to compare and contrast Japanese culture with the cultures of other regions, and to see the differences that make everyday life, which we take for granted, more interesting.   However, this is not just a matter of making the world seem more interesting. We will compare the world between regions and between the present and the past through various academic genres such as literature, thought, history, art, language, international affairs, and cultural anthropology. This means that we do not view things in only one way, but rather in the context of various ways of thinking. And after that, I believe that there will be something in common that we can understand about each other.  This department has the largest number of faculty members and students at Otsuma Women’s University. This means that you will be exposed to the most diverse ways of thinking. There is a good chance of finding a teacher who matches what you want to study, and we would be happy to study with you.  If you have not yet decided what you want to know, you will surely find it in the Faculty of Comparative Culture.

April 1, 2024
Chairperson of the Faculty of Comparative Culture
Minoru Sato