Understanding the multidimensional aspects of contemporary society through the study of the French-speaking world

Department Features

France is a central player in the European Union and one of the world’s most influential nations. Also, the French language is spoken in the second largest number of countries and regions in the world. The Department of French Studies offers a comprehensive program of study of France and the French-speaking world, in addition to a high level of French language skills that can be used in a variety of countries and regions. The third- and fourth-year research courses provide students with specialized knowledge and research methodologies, as well as a deep and multifaceted understanding of France and the French-speaking world. In this way, we aim to nurture the high level of education that is indispensable for success in the international community.

French in the World

French is spoken as a native language by 123 million people worldwide and as an official or second language (first foreign language) by more than 200 million people. The largest number of French speakers is in Europe, followed by Africa. In Africa, it is spoken in 34 countries, by native speakers and second-language speakers combined.


In the first and second years, students learn the four skills of French (reading, listening, writing, and speaking) in detail. In the third year, students further develop these skills through expression exercises, listening comprehension exercises, and reading exercises, and acquire more practical skills through comprehensive exercises in the fourth year. In the French-Speaking Basic Subjects, students study the politics, society, thought, history, and culture of France and other French-speaking countries and regions in depth and breadth.

In addition, students select a subject from a variety of research courses, systematically accumulate knowledge and conduct specialized research from basic to advanced levels under the supervision of faculty members specializing in ideology, philosophy, linguistics, sociology, political science, economics, history, etc., which culminates in a graduation thesis or graduation research project.

as of 2022

* Please refer to the syllabus for more information on the courses.

Course Examples

Basic Seminar in French 1

Students will comprehensively develop the four skills of French (reading, listening, writing, and speaking) while building a solid grammatical foundation. The classes are taught by a team of Japanese and native French teachers at a high density of six lessons per week.

Basic Seminar in French 2

As in Basic French I, six classes per week are offered. While improving grammar and conversational expression, students are also exposed to specialized fields such as sociology, linguistics, history, political science, and economics, and acquire knowledge and advanced reading skills for research in the third and fourth years.

French Integrated Skills

The program consists of a group of subjects designed to reinforce the four skills, such as expression exercises, listening comprehension exercises, and reading exercises. We also offer subjects such as Comprehensive Exercises and Special Exercises to strengthen students’ overall French language skills.

Francophone Studies A (History and Culture)

Students study the history of France from the Middle Ages to the present day, as well as the geography of France and the French-speaking world, and develop the basic knowledge necessary to pursue specialized research. Students will also acquire presentation skills.

Francophone Studies B (Politics and Religion)

The ideal and implementation of “coexistence” in republicanism, which was born in France with the aim of achieving the coexistence of multiple religions, will be discussed through its characteristics and historical background, with particular focus on the concept of “laïcité,” which is considered key to this ideal.

Francophone Studies C (Society and Economics)

Students will learn the multifaceted approach necessary to understand the societies and economies of France and French-speaking regions. Topics to be covered include the economy and society of France, and the society and modern history of French-speaking Africa and the Middle East.

Francophone Studies D (Synthesis)

To gain a comprehensive understanding of France and French-speaking societies, this course provides an overview of the French-speaking world from various aspects such as culture, language, society, religion, economy, and history. All faculty members of the Department of French Studies teach the course, so it is a chance to be exposed to the essence of the faculty members’ specialties.

Available Teaching Licenses and Subjects

  • First Category Teaching license for Junior High School (French)
  • First Category Teaching license for High School (French)

Curatorial courses are available.

Educational Objectives and Policies

To cultivate advanced proficiency in the French language and impart a broad base of knowledge (of humanities, social sciences, and the basic features of the French-speaking world) that will provide the foundations for specialized research in fields such as area studies and linguistics.

To produce individuals capable of contributing to increasingly globalized societies through advanced proficiency in the French language, and experts in research related to area studies and linguistics.

The Department of French Studies sets standards for the skills and knowledge students should acquire before graduations as described below. Those who fulfill the graduation requirements shall be deemed to have acquired these qualities and will be awarded a diploma.

The Department aims to have all students reach a level of proficiency equivalent to “B2” (level sufficient to study at an overseas university) under the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) at the timing of graduation and furthermore to have as many students as possible reach a level equivalent to “C1” (level sufficient to study at an overseas university)

  1. Abilities related to receptive activities, including “listening” and “reading” French.
  2. Abilities related to productive activities, including “speaking” and “writing” in French.
  3. Abilities related to interactive activities, including communicating and negotiating in French
  4. Activities related to mediating activities, including interpreting and translating French
  5. The ability to understand the history, politics, economy, society and culture of French-speaking areas in the context of their global status and comparisons with Japan.

In accordance with the Diploma Policy, the Department of French Studies constructs its curriculum with courses aligned with the following purposes:

  1. 【Major Language – Compulsory Courses (Basic French I, II) 】These courses aim to have students acquire basic French proficiency across the four skills of “listening, speaking, reading and writing” in their freshman and sophomore years. Multiple faculty members (both Japanese and native speakers) engage in team teaching, using lectures, group work, pair work, and presentations, in accordance with the purpose of the class. Students are expected to participate in class proactively and to make daily study plans, including preparation and reviewing of classes.
  2. 【Major Language – Compulsory Courses (Integrated French) 】These courses aim to have students use the fundamental academic skills acquired in their freshman and sophomore years to learn high level skills to practically use their language skills in reading comprehension, expression and reading seminars targeting juniors and to acquire integrated French proficiency for applied use in integrated seminars for seniors. Classes take multifaceted forms, centered on group work and presentations.
  3. 【Major Language – Basic Area Studies Courses】These courses aim to have freshmen and sophomores acquire the fundamental cultural knowledge of the history, politics, economics, society, culture and language, etc. of countries and regions of the French-speaking world required in learning about the French-speaking world using French. Furthermore, students will acquire fundamental academic skills, including literature searching and report compilation.
  1. Seeks students interested in various issues associated with the language, history, politics, economy, society and culture of French-speaking countries and regions, and motivated to acquire a high level of French proficiency;
  2. Generally seeks students who wish to study French for the first time at the Department of French Studies, but also welcomes students with some experience in learning French who are prepared to be committed to enhancing their French proficiency through renewed systematic learning; and
  3. Expects students to pursue specialized studies in the discipline or geographical area chosen from the nine Concentrations offered at the Faculty of Foreign Studies, supported by their practical proficiency in French or other foreign languages.

Faculty Members

Erina IWASAKI Professor

Herve COUCHOT Professor

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Akeo TAKAHASHI Professor

Simon TUCHAIS Professor

Machiko KOJIMA Associate Professor

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Simon SERVERIN Associate Professor

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Yoko MAKI Associate Professor

Brieuc MONFORT Associate Professor

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