The Happiness of Learning at the School of Letters
The development of science and technology is progressing at a rapid pace, and it is no wonder that universities are undertaking the mission to promote such development. However, universities also play a role in pursuing the nature and essence of human beings without being influenced by changing times, and this is precisely where the School of Letters stands.
Those who enter the School of Letters excel in subjects such as Geography and History, Ethics, Japanese, and English during high school days and often recognize pure intellectual interests in the fields. The School of Letters is a place for further exploration of such interests. We carry out daily activities to deepen our learning, follow our intellectual curiosity, and pursue and solve academic questions that arise.
Our school consists of sixteen specialized fields in five courses. Students select one specialized field when they advance to the second year. By the end of the third year, they have gained specialized knowledge and skills for that field, and the foreign languages they need through lectures and seminars. The era of globalization is inherently an age of cultural pluralism. In that sense, the role of the School of Letters is significant in providing education on world thought, literature, language, history, and the multidimensional nature of the world’s regions.
Our students are always required to be aware of questions. This involves questions the propensity to ask “why” when considering common sense, established theories, findings from prior research, and the established structures of human society. Moreover, it also involves a desire to voluntarily reach the essence of such questions and solve them. This attitude is directly linked to graduation research, which is the culmination of the four years of education. Graduation research requires students to establish their own research questions (their theme) and find their own answers. Academic mentors provide support, but students must play a leading role in their own research. At this stage, students who find interests in research and can think and act independently will stand out as being fully prepared.
When do you feel happy? There are various answers to this question: when you encounter a good book, when you feel loved by others, or when you achieve a goal. What is there about learning at the School of Letters that provides happiness? First, students are happy to be able to devote themselves to what they like and are interested in. They are also happy to be able to read foreign languages and historical documents and develop their research skills. When they reach the research stage, they may feel another level of happiness. This occurs when a broader structure of the research target emerges after struggling with and thinking through difficult original texts and enormous troves of historical materials. They may also have a feeling of euphoria when they are inspired by the region during fieldwork. This euphoria can only be understood by those who have experienced it, and it can be said to be the real pleasure of academic research.
I hope that you will find happiness through learning at the School of Letters. You will surely acquire the attitude and consciousness of thinking profoundly and pursuing the multidimensional nature of human beings and the world. These refined qualities will not only enrich your life, but also will serve as the foundation for the resourcefulness that is truly required by young people who will lead the society of the future.
—Kazuo Tomozawa, Dean