Area Studies

Area Studies

Japanese Culture Studies Program

This program is dedicated to exploring the historical change of and contemporary issues in Japanese culture and society, with emphasis on art, literature, history, and thought. The program is based on the idea that a thorough understanding of one’s own native culture and society is essential if one is to play a meaningful role in the international community.

Contemporary Japanese Society (Shizue OSA)

This course deals with problems involving historical research, such as research into the modern world and East Asia, the Japanese Empire and movement/culture of people, and research into World War II and the occupation era.

Traditional Japanese Culture (Motoichi KINOSHITA)

The disposition of the Japanese people is studied, considering narrative traditions, customs, and religious culture

Japanese Culture Representation (Fumiaki ITAKURA)

While using the film studies analysis method on Japanese movies, this course revisits the framework of Japan itself.

Japanese Language and Culture (Nobuyuki KONNO)

The main target of research is the modern idea of Japanese nationalism, while also considering pre-modern nationalism.

Japanese Culture Exchange (Naoko TERAUCHI)

A dynamic exploration of Japanese traditional performing arts in relation to those in other parts of East Asia and the West.


Asia-Pacific Culture Studies Program

This program looks toward the future of the Asia-Pacific region based on an understanding of the history of interactions between different countries and cultures and an assessment of the levels of economic and social development achieved. The instructors represent a broad range of research fields, including history, international economics, international politics, cultural anthropology, and religion. Each of the courses focuses on one of three geographic areas: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, or Oceania.

Economic and Cultural Exchange (Kyoichi ISHIHARA)

This course examines globalization and cultural friction, the North-South divide, economic and cultural exchanges and the possibility of peaceful coexistence.

Chinese Social System (Ke WANG)

This course discusses issues related to China’s culture and politics, state and society, center and periphery, and domestic and international affairs.

Cultures and Societies in North Asia (Mamoru HAGIHARA)

The history of North Asia with emphasis on Mongolia. Qing China, Russia and Japan also receive attention.

State-Formation in Southeast Asia (Yasushi SADAYOSHI)

This course discusses on the workings of various types of states in the context of Southeast Asian History.

Religions and Societies in Southeast Asia (Tomomi ITO)

This course focuses on studies of Theravada Buddhist societies in Southeast Asia, especially their traditional social structures and recent movements for social change.

Cultures and Societies in Oceania (Sachiko KUBOTA)

This course considers the society and culture of Oceania, especially international links to the indigenous people of Australia and multiculturalism.


European and American Culture Studies Program

Until now, the world’s politics, economy, culture and society have been lead by the region consisting of Europe and the United States. By studying the literature, philosophy, art and history of the people who live across Europe and the United States, we who live in the non-Western world aim to reexamine and relativize these Western core values, lifestyles and social systems that appear to have taken root in our collective mind.

European Spiritual Culture (Shinsuke TANIMOTO)

This course discusses the human spirit in the turn of the century, which was symbolized by a cultural crisis.

European Civil Society (Hiroko ISHIZUKA)

This course looks at the various problems involved in the transition from aristocracy to democracy in modern Europe, such as those related to royalty, education and leisure.

Contemporary American Studies (Hiroki INOUE)

This course considers what the transformation of the United States will bring to us, analyzed from the point of view of political and social trends in the United States.

Atlantic Ring Culture (Takuya OZAWA)

This course illustrates a plural global history using items now indispensable to our daily lives such as coffee or fruit as indicators.

European Women’s Culture (Chiyo SAKAMOTO)

An exploration of issues related to women in the areas of religion, thought, and art.

Representation of American Cultural Pluralism (Takuya NISHITANI)

The nature of the culture of the United States is explored through art such as literature, movies and music.

European/American Religious Culture (Keiji NOTANI)

This course clarifies aspects of modern society and culture, focusing on Christianity, which has brought about a common culture through the integration of different cultures.



Contemporary Japanese Society (Professor Shizue OSA)

The enjoyable part of historical research is considering your position in the social structure of the era in addition to gathering material and deciphering it. More generally it is to strengthen your imagination and understanding of others in the past. First you should question your understanding of history itself. Do you know the natural disaster history of your town? Why would you know the names of administrators in the Heian era government but not know the past history (called “regional history”) of your living space? Or for the past history of neighboring countries, for example, to understand Korean dramas, isn’t it necessary to at least have an image of the Korean War? Recognizing this historical awareness and subcultures and teaching these discussions to the next generation, are also important themes of historical research. You have your own existence and history, likes and dislikes as well as your normal way of doing things, and even these are not irrelevant to historical thinking and cultural elements. Incidentally my own specialties are social history, cultural history of thought and gender history. In recent years this area, East Asia has had problems with the space of empires and colonial rule or with people’s lives and movement space, so new work is necessary instead of the traditional understanding of national history. At the same time, modern history connects the past to today, so its history (relativization) and intellectual discipline is important. I have gathered material for specialized lectures, deciphered the material and looked at the recent past. I want us to enjoy discussions while thinking about past recognitions of history (political nature) and using thinking and logic to draw conclusions through the skills of historical consideration.


State Formation in Southeast Asia (Professor Yasushi SADAYOSHI)

Southeast Asia is a region rich with the most diverse people, lifestyles, languages and values in the world. Among these, my specialty is “The Sea and Islands of Southeast Asia,” such as Indonesia, which is even said to have about 500 ethnic groups. In this lecture, we will discuss how people in this area full of diversity shaped these nations and societies over the course of two thousand years, and their relationship with the world’s civilizations. We will travel together through the dazzling history of Southeast Asia that that dispels the textbook knowledge of modern politics, talking about “Port City-States” with no territories, and “National Theater-states” that focus on rituals. Meanwhile, modern Southeast Asia has never been a paradise on earth, and people in the region face problems such as environmental destruction and dealing with political conflict and economic disparity while also aiming for national and regional integration. In the program we consider together how we can become involved with these problems in Japan and in the field.


Contemporary American Studies (Associate Professor Hiroki INOUE)

It is an honor to be responsible for this new subject. While the decline of the overwhelming political and economic power of the United States of America has been pointed out, it is still among the world’s superpowers in the first half of the 21st century, and its society and culture is full of vibrancy and does not cease to attract many people from all over the world. As is the case in Japan, the United States has also undergone a major transformation externally and experienced this domestically as well. How this transformation has influenced not only the people of the United States but also us who are outside must be carefully observed. I’ve mainly studied the United States from the end of the 19th century to the first half of the 20th century, so for me Contemporary American Studies is a new challenge. Through trial and error along with the students I want to continually improve this lecture.

Faculty of Intercultural Studies/ Graduate School of Intercultural Studies, Kobe University
1-2-1, Tsurukabuto, Nada-ku, Kobe, JAPAN 657-8501