Study World Politics, Economics, Language, Culture, History / School of International Relations, University of Shizuoka

University of Shizuoka

School of International Relations
Graduate School of International Relations

Introduction to seminar

Study specialized fields and beyond.

Students will choose their seminar at the end of the second year. They will belong to the seminar and start the study to deepen their knowledge of specialized field at the beginning of the third year. In the seminar students who are interested in the common specialized field are using friendly competition to make themselves study hard with a specialist.

Department of International Relations
International Politics & Economics Course

Mitsuhiro IINO
(Development Economics) Senior Assistant Professor

Iino seminar majors in development economics and discussing its related problems such as poverty in developing countries, improper ODA problems, and desirable support for developing countries, relationship between poverty and corruption. The seminar is held on every Tuesday, and two special seminars on spring and summer. In the 3rd grade, we study basic macro- / micro- economics, and then international economics. After mastering international economics, we focus on the particular topics.

Our reading assignments:

“The new age of crony capitalism: Political connections have made many people hugely rich in recent years. But crony capitalism may be waning”, The Economist

“Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Why African firms create so few jobs”, The Economist

“Rising inequality is a blemish on Asia’s growth story”, Financial Times

Department of International Relations
International Behavioral Sciences Course

Hiroshi TSUTOMI, MS
(Criminology, Evaluation Studies, Youth Studies) Professor

Every year, our seminar plans and implements an innovative project which can be beneficial to the society out of the campus. We can learn which cannot be learned in the classroom. In the 2012 school-year, we have six members (including one studying abroad).

This year, we import work of Hokkori Mura (Hokkori village), a drama workshop, from Tsurumi Hokkori Mura which has been conducted in Kanagawa Prefecture. Hokkori means something comfortable or heart-warming in Japanese. In Hokkori-Mura, all kinds of people in the community, from primary school children, grandmas, businessmen, to university professors, get together to improvise and perform a short drama. Through Hokkori-Mura activities, local residents can strengthen their ties.

We opened Kusanagi Hokkori-Mura, in Kusanagi area where our university is located, and have offered four workshops so far, to provide meeting occasions among community residents. Participants of Kusanagi Hokkori-Mura told us that they enjoyed our workshops and we successfully created many Hokkori moments.

We also visited local high schools and offered workshops on career development which we created with our ideas.

In this seminar, the distance among us and between us and our professor is very close. We decide everything (what project we do, and how we do it) through our discussion. Thus, we sometimes engage in heated arguments, which further unite us afterwards. Professor Tsutomi is a relaxing and friendly person who is easy to communicate with. He helps us when we are stuck in our discussion or face problems which we find difficult to solve.

(Tsutomi Seminar by a seminar student)

Department of International Languages & Cultures
British and American Culture Course

Yuko YONEYAMA
(Scottish Studies; Sociolinguistics) Senior Assistant Professor

Cultural Mosaic in the UK

Our seminar examines language and culture in the UK from a sociolinguistic perspective, and has two main goals.

First, students are expected to take interest in the UK’s current affairs in general and pay special attention to the country's four nations: Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. The seminar is a mix of small group discussions and individual project work. Discussion topics vary but include the following:

  • How people think of minority languages such as Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, Manx and Irish in the UK
  • How these minority languages reflect their speakers’ distinctive cultural identities
  • How people maintain these languages and why they still promote them
  • How multicultural society has been explored in the UK.

Another purpose of the seminar is to help students develop their writing, research and presentation skills. Senior students should prepare for their thesis and juniors should cooperate with them. Peer opinions and advice are welcomed to make each graduation project successful. By learning how to acquire data and analyse the findings by themselves, students become familiar with the topics they select.

The instructor hopes all students with a good knowledge of culture and society in the UK will find their own purpose and goals and achieve fruitful results in the seminar.

Department of International Languages & Cultures
Japanese Culture Course

Koichi SAWASAKI
(Japanese Linguistics)Associate Professor

Seminar on Contemporary Japanese Linguistics

This seminar class will continue for two years and deal with linguistic issues on contemporary Japanese, such as language acquisition/learning, sentence comprehension, and language politeness. In the first year, each student will explore a research topic of his or her own interest. In the following year, the students will be expected to expand their research into a graduation thesis. Some sample topics of submitted theses include Japanese onomatopoeia, the Japanese final sentence particle ne, foreigner talk by Japanese native speakers, gender differences in spoken Japanese, strategy of apology in Japanese text messages, and Japanese reading span test and working memory.

A seminar class is very different from an ordinary lecture. Most importantly, in a seminar class you can share your research ideas with your classmates through presentations and discussions. You will soon realize that sharing and exchanging ideas is very useful because it helps you to discover new perspectives, something you have not thought about before coming to the class.

In my seminar class, you will be expected to make the presentation on the same topic repeatedly, but at every new iteration of the presentation, you will explore your research further and reach a step closer to the final product, which is the graduation thesis. Eventually you will begin to be strongly committed and deeply attached to the chosen topic. In a sense, the graduation thesis will represent your academic life and you will remember it for a long time after graduation. I hope my seminar class will help you develop valuable academic memories at the University of Shizuoka.

Department of International Languages & Cultures
Asian Culture Course

OBATA, So
(Culture and Society of Southeast Asia) Professor

To learn and have experiences in expanded Southeast Asia

The cultural and social variety of Southeast Asia is second to no region of the world. Because, Southeast Asia has been mixed and influenced by European, Asian, Chinese and Indian cultures. This multi-cultural society has also been influenced by religions like Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, and Christian. The main expectation of students in the seminar is to understand this culture in cultural and social anthropologically.

Though I was a master course student I used to join the seminar every week. Therefore, I could engage with lots of cultural activities during past three years. And I could observe how Japanese students change their behavior, thinking, and their image towards the world. For example, some graduated students of the seminar became employed in overseas in countries such as Philippine, India and Indonesia. And some students selected their post graduate course in Myanmar and Singapore. This kind of mobilization is due to the impact of the overseas lecture of every year. Every December students have a chance to go to Southeast Asian countries and examine what they learned in campus.

Another important activity of the seminar is the get-together party. In the get-together party Japanese students can interact with foreign students from Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Myanmar, Inner Mongolia, India and the Philippines. Students talk each other about their country, culture, religion, society and so forth. Students become familiar with their professors and talk friendly. It affects their behavior in class room. They are not nervous to speak in the class room and always convey their opinion and comments. The seminar leads the students to be interested in what they learn.

(Written by Mawaththalage Sanjeewa Manawarathne from Sri Lank.)

Professor and students in a regular kompa after the seminars

Department of International Languages & Cultures
European Culture Course

Matthias PFEIFER
(Comparative Culture, Comparative Literature) Associate Professor

Welcome to the World of Comparative Culture

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.”(Goethe)

This is a famous quote by the great German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), the author of the famous novel, "The Sorrows of Young Werther".
What he meant was that the encounter with a different language/culture creates an awareness for one’s own language/culture. Expressions, thoughts, values are taken for granted as long as one person does not have different experiences outside of one’s accustomed boundaries, that he/she can compare with the ‘old and natural’ ways. On the other hand, the opposite of Goethe’s quote is also true: Without a profound knowledge of one’s own culture, it is difficult to understand a foreign culture. As a student of International Relations, it would be a mistake to focus on the foreign culture only, because that would be a drive in a one-way street, that eventually leads to an unfortunate misunderstanding. An encounter with a foreign culture is, and always should be an encounter with people of a foreign culture, in other words: it is unavoidably an intercultural experience. You gain something from that experience, knowledge, a new perspective etc., but you also have to give something back in return. If you, as a student, do not have more than a vague understanding of Japanese culture and society, then it could be difficult to get the respect by others for what you are and what you represent.

The students of my seminar usually choose topics related to the German or Japanese society, in which cultural artifacts, such as books, comics, movies, songs, photos, monuments etc. express a variety of ways to think about problems of a society at a specific time. In every meeting, the students will present the results of their research, and there will be a discussion about it. Here are some examples of the topics that students have chosen over the past few years: “Representations of War in Paintings”,“The Social Background of the Detective Novel”,“Youth Rebellion and Rock Music”.

Investigation, presentation, discussion: These are basic skills that are also necessary to have at one’s place of work, and, of course, in order to succeed in intercultural communication. As a student of international relations it is essential to master these skills as fast as possible, so that he or she is ready for the challenges in the 21st century.

Department of International Relations

  • International Politics & Economics Course
  • International Behavioral Sciences Course

Department of International Languages & Cultures

  • British and American Culture Course
  • Japanese Culture Course
  • Asian Culture Course
  • European Culture Course
  • Department of International Relations / Approaching International Relations from the perspective of politics, economics, and global studies.
  • Department of Languages and Cultures / Study the regions of Japan, Asia, America, and Europe through language and culture.

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