Course of Asian Cultures

Seminar Introduction

Rethinking the World from Gender Perspectives

Students will learn about gender-related issues in various regions of the world through a variety of methodologies. Gender refers to socially and culturally defined masculinity and femininity.
By using this concept of gender, we will learn about the situations and issues in various regions of the world. In the first semester, we will read a textbook on various themes related to gender (marriage, education, labor, sexual minority, etc.) in Japan, China, France, Germany, and other regions of the world, approaching them from the methodologies of cultural anthropology and sociology.
Each class will have a presenter, and we will discuss and examine their reports together. In the second semester, we will report and discuss papers on topics of interest to each student as a preparation for writing a thesis.

World Film, Our Dream

We are still living within the framework of the nation-state to which we belong. However, film has no borders. From the moment it was born, film began to exist as a vibrant movement that spans multiple countries and connects diverse cultures.
 We also have a dream. Our dream, which has yet to be realized, is to create a multicultural society that never excludes others who hold different values. From early on, film has been showing that dream on the screen in various forms.
 Beyond political interests and economic gains, will that dream come true one day? Let’s think about it while watching various films from around the world.

Overcome the Simplistic Binaries

In this seminar, we will discuss the Japan-Korea relationship by starting from examining the histories of individuals. It is our goal to overcome the simplistic binaries of intimacy and hatred, and good and evil in understanding others, with a more multifaceted approach on their historical and cultural backgrounds.

SATO MINORU (Professor, Chair)
Thinking about people and nature from face reading

We will look at and read Chinese and Japanese facial fortune-telling manuals side by side, and use the differences to examine the cultural differences between China and Japan. Chinese face reading has a long history, and was already very popular in the 3rd century BC.
Chinese face reading is a condensation of the traditional Chinese view of the body and nature. In Japan, facial fortune-telling manuals were imported from China during the Edo period (1603-1868) and were widely read. How did they accept the Chinese view of the body and nature, and what influence did it have on the way we think today?
And what does it mean to “divine”? As we read the original texts, let’s consider the logic and philosophy of face divination that continues to this day.

QIAN GUOHONG (Professor)
Learning Japan, Learning China

Asia’s presence in the world has become so large that it is now being called the Asian Century. However, there has been insufficient discussion about what Asia (China) and Asia (Japan), Asia and the world should be, and a distorted image of Asia is still rampant.
Therefore, let’s reconsider the mutual understanding between Asia (China) and Asia (Japan), Asia and the West, and think about what Asia means to Japan. In the first semester, we will subscribe to materials and ask what multiculturalism and cultural relativism are. We will also examine the historical background, related issues, and relevant figures from the three perspectives of “Asia looking at Asia,” “Asia looking at Asia,” and “Asia looking at the West,” and discuss the significance of these issues.
In the second semester, each student will list his or her interests in China and Japan and explore each other’s interests and awareness of the issues.