Asian & Transcultural Studies

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The module focuses on training in the use of primary sources (i.e. reading original material) and in conducting field research to enable students to develop their studies on Asian philosophy, society, history, culture and literature through comparative and transcultural perspectives in a global frame.


This Module aims to:

  1. Prepare students to conduct research by relativizing their research objects beyond the boundaries of conventional thinking in their communities or cultures.
  2. Train experts and scholars who will take the lead in the field of Global Japanese Studies.

Area of Study

This Module emphasizes the study of philosophy, sociology, history, culture and literature throughout Eurasia from a global point of view, centred on Japan and other Asian regions as platforms for research.

Learning Goals

On successful completion of the course, students will gain:

  1. Access to methods and theories for conducting field research, using primary sources to develop original studies and position their own research objects in the global context.
  2. The ability to use at least one primary resource written in an Asian language.
  3. Skills to express themselves effectively using an international academic language such as English in communication and public speaking.
  4. Comparative perspectives derived through multiple-cultural studies such as research on Asia and Europe.
  5. Skills in writing at a high level of originality with clear substantiation, based on the foundation acquired through the Module.

Examples of Courses

  1. Advanced Skills for Humanities Research in English: Reading, Writing, and Discussion (GSL)
  2. Fieldwork and Qualitative Research of Japanese Society (GSL)
  3. Introduction to Transcultural Studies (GSL)
  4. Japanese Academic Reading: Bungobun & Kanbun (GSL)
  5. Japanese Contemporary Popular Culture: Media Practices in a Global Context (GSL)
  6. Social Science Research on Education: Japanese schools, culture and society from comparative perspectives. (GSL)
  7. Transcultural Asian Cinema (GSL)
  8. Welfare Regime and Cross-Border Migration (GSL)

Core Teaching Staff

(Module Leader, Professor, GSL) Cinema Studies
(Professor, GSL) Indian Philosophy and Religion; Sanskrit Poetics
(Associate Professor, GSL) Sociology
KAMM, Björn-Ole
(Junior Associate Professor, GSL) Sociology/Japanology
Kjell David ERICSON
(Assistant Professor, GSL) History of Science and Technology

Voices from Faculty Members

Since its foundation in 1906, the Faculty of Letters of Kyoto University has been an important hub in Japan in the field of Asian studies, which includes philosophy, history and literature.

East Asian books, journals, documents and maps owned by the Library of the Graduate School of Letters and other facilities of Kyoto University are regarded as one of the most prominent world collections.

We encourage our students to make best use of such excellent primary sources to conduct great research.

In addition, through our long established partnerships with leading universities in other Asian countries, our departments offer students excellent opportunities to receive direct advice from professors of the partner universities or to conduct field research in collaboration with them.