Fostering a broad perspective that is essential in the age of globalization

Department Features

The Faculty’s rigorous academic programs are designed to equip students with flexible and critical thinking skills, linguistic abilities, and cultural competencies necessary to navigate today’s increasingly multicultural and complex world, and to take the lead in bridging differences and promoting mutual understanding. Comparatively small class sizes, diversity in the student body, which comprises over fifty nationalities, and highly qualified professors from diverse backgrounds provide an ideal environment for achieving the FLA’s educational mission.


The FLA offers an English-taught liberal arts curriculum which enables students to acquire a strong academic foundation and intellectual orientation before selecting a disciplinary major.

During the first year, students are required to take “core courses” which train them thoroughly in critical thinking skills as well as in writing and public speaking skills. From the second year onward, the FLA curriculum requires students to choose a major from among three broad areas (Comparative Culture, International Business and Economics, and Social Studies), and to study that field in close connection with neighboring disciplines. In the junior and senior years, students take advanced courses in their selected major, while continuing to take courses outside their major. This interdisciplinary orientation is designed to foster students’ ability to approach issues from multiple perspectives.

※ Please see the syllabus at the Sophia University website for details.

Core Program

The FLA Core Program comprises a set of required courses for degree students. These courses include a sequence of composition courses, a public speaking course, and a course in critical thinking. Before the beginning of classes in both the spring and autumn semesters, all incoming students take a placement test to determine where in the sequence of Core Program courses they will begin. Students are expected to complete Core Program requirements during their first and second years of study. The Core Program serves several purposes within the FLA curriculum. Besides developing the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills needed at the college level, the Core Program curriculum helps students grasp the expansive and interdisciplinary nature of a liberal arts education and, through a close engagement with a wide range of texts and topics, prepares them for choosing a major field of study. The learning goals and objectives of the Core Program emphasize the development of clear, effective, and critical communication in both speaking and writing, as well as the habits of mind that foster integrative thinking and the ability to transfer knowledge and skills from one setting to another. The small size of classes in the Core Program also allows for close interaction between instructor and students as well as among the students themselves. In discussion groups, in peer reading and writing activities, and in other activities, students are encouraged to raise critical questions and to reflect on their interpretations and ideas. Such critical examination in the context of academically rigorous courses prepares students for successful futures and lifelong learning.

*Some courses are not offered every year. Please check syllabi for information on this semester/year’s course offerings.

(Course list as of June 2022)


To see course descriptions, please click the link below, which will take you the Syllabus Inquiry page on Loyola.

Writing Center

The Writing Center offers writing assistance for all students in the Faculty of Liberal Arts. Whether the student is working on an essay in one of the required courses in the Core Program or a research paper in an advanced course in the student’s chosen major, the tutors at the Writing Center can help. Tutorials can be scheduled Monday through Friday during class hours. These tutorials, mainly conducted by graduate students in the Graduate Program in Global Studies, are given on an individual basis, providing students with an opportunity to examine their ideas and arguments with an accomplished writer. Students can then revise their written work to satisfy the requirements of the assignment. In addition to individual tutorials, the Writing Center offers several workshops each semester, focusing on topics such as grammar, the principles of academic writing, and documenting sources. You will be introduced to the Writing Center at the beginning of your first semester and its helpful services will be available to you throughout your college career.

General Studies

General Studies (GS) courses allow students to study beyond a specialized area, facilitating interdisciplinary understanding of academic fields and reflection upon fundamental human and social issues. The scope of courses is broad, and in addition to Studies in Christian Humanism, Language, Liberal Arts of the Body, Data Science, offers GS distribution courses in three categories: Society and Culture, Cultural Traditions, and Politics and Economy. Furthermore, the various Elective Courses allow students to acquire a solid foundation in Computer Studies, Environmental Issues, Geography, Mathematics, and Statistics.

*Some courses are not offered every year. Please check syllabi for information on this semester/year’s course offerings.

(Course list as of June 2022)


To see course descriptions, please click the link below, which will take you the Syllabus Inquiry page on Loyola.

Three Majors

1. Comparative Culture

Comparative Culture (CC) is an interdisciplinary major in the humanities focusing on the fields of Art History/Visual Culture, Literature, and Religion and Philosophy. Dealing with a variety of cultural traditions, Art History/Visual Culture covers all fields of art and visual culture, such as architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, film, and mass media. The field of Literature explores the epics, novels, poetry, theatrical works, and other genres produced in a variety of cultures.

Religion and Philosophy focuses on understanding the philosophical and religious orientations of different cultures as expressed in myths, philosophical and religious texts, the arts, rituals, and ethical practices. Many of the courses in the three fields of study share overlapping themes and interests. In particular, all three fields focus on understanding how peoples of different cultural traditions have attempted to understand themselves as well as those of other cultures. In addition, Comparative Culture focuses on developing students’ skills in critical reading and writing as well as in interpreting their own and other cultures. Comparative Culture thus aims to prepare students for a range of career tracks and life situations in an age that is increasingly marked by globalization, the encounter of different cultures, and the emergence of multi-cultural societies and workplaces.

To see course descriptions, please click the link below, which will take you the Syllabus Inquiry page on Loyola.

2. International Business and Economics

The International Business and Economics (IBE) major offers a unique opportunity for students to study both business and economics in a single major. The IBE program allows students to develop the strong skill sets required for employment in a wide range of fields. Students first build solid foundations by taking fundamental courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics, management, marketing, accounting and statistics and then acquire advanced knowledge and skills in the area of their interest with courses such as internationaltrade, international finance, financial management, industrial organization and consumer behavior.

Class lectures often involve in-class discussions, group assignments, and frequent interactions with students of diverse backgrounds from all over the world. The program thus enables students to experience a fully international, multicultural environment, which in turn allows them to make the smooth transition from college education to the international workplace. In addition, the flexible nature of the FLA program allows students to immerse themselves in classes outside of IBE – such as anthropology and religion – while taking up a foreign language and/or studying in other faculties at Sophia.

To see course descriptions, please click the link below, which will take you the Syllabus Inquiry page on Loyola.

3. Social Studies

Social Studies is a core component of any liberal arts curriculum. The Social Studies major comprises three concentrations – History, Political Science, and Anthropology-Sociology.

It seeks to give students a deeper understanding of the social, political, and cultural environment in which they live, and to liberate them from being bound to their immediate milieu. Students majoring in Social Studies receive training in a wide range of job-relevant skills, including analytic reading, writing, logical thinking, data gathering, presentation, discussion, and group work.

However, the main purpose of the Social Studies major is not to train students in technical skills. It is rather to encourage students to reflect upon the customs, principles, institutions, and values which inform the societies they live in, and to contribute to their betterment. Students majoring in Social Studies are required to choose a primary field and a secondary field from the three concentrations available within the major. Major courses build systematically, from introductory lectures to advanced, small-sized seminars. The curriculum emphasizes fostering intellectual curiosity, encouraging independent research, and exposure to a variety of perspectives.

To see course descriptions, please click the link below, which will take you the Syllabus Inquiry page on Loyola.

Purpose and Policy of Education

The Faculty of Liberal Arts [FLA] provides an all-English liberal arts education in the fields of Comparative Culture, International Business and Economics, and Social Studies. While offering courses in such fields as well as cross-disciplinary courses, so as to allow a more organic, comprehensive understanding in the field, the FLA also aims to help students to achieve advanced language proficiency and intellectual criticality and flexibility in order to act as mediators between different cultures and countries. Through academic training and research, the FLA contributes to the understanding of current affairs in today’s globalized world and also to the solving of the various social issues we face.

The purpose of the FLA education is to nurture students’ cosmopolitan outlook, their language ability, and flexibility in thinking in order to act as bridges between different cultures within the context of globalization.

The Faculty of Liberal Arts sets standards for the skills and knowledge students should acquire before graduation as described below. Those who have fulfilled the requirements will be awarded a diploma.


  1. A well-rounded interdisciplinary education and a highly-developed ability to think and communicate in English.
  2. The intellectual capacity to approach particular issues from both highly specialized and broad general perspectives.
  3. The capability to integrate themselves in multi-cultural environments and participate in communal activities to contribute to the better understanding of various important socio-cultural issues.

In accordance with the Diploma Policy, the Faculty of Liberal Arts constructs its curriculum with courses aligned with the following purposes.


  1. To develop the ability to think critically about a wide range of social and cultural issues, and to become proficient in discussing such matters in English. The Core Program is specifically designed to train students in these foundational skills.
  2. To extend their capacity to understand the multiplicity of societies and cultures in the world by taking a range of courses in the three distribution categories: Society and Culture, Cultural Traditions, Politics and Economy.
  3. To acquire specialized knowledge in one of the three majors (Comparative Culture, International Business and Economics, Social Studies) while continuing to take courses from neighboring areas.By studying courses in various disciplines, students will obtain a broad and flexible perspective on important issues in today’s world.

The Faculty of Liberal Arts of Sophia University welcomes students who are:


  1. Motivated to become active and responsible members of the global community and to participate in the creation of social, economic, and humanistic values essential for its sustenance and betterment.
  2. Intellectually curious and eager to improve their communication and analytical skills to constructively interact with others from diverse socio-cultural backgrounds.
  3. Prepared to expand further their knowledge so that they become able to identify and approach with competence global issues.

Faculty Members

Comparative Culture

Shion KONO Professor

Research Areas Comparative literature and modern Japanese literature
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Noriko MURAI Professor

Research Areas Modern art history,visual culture,gender studies

Matthew Carl STRECHER Professor

Research Areas Modern and contemporary Japanese literature,literary journalism,genre studies,mythology,global literature,postmodernism

Angela YIU Professor

Research Areas Modern Japanese literature,literature and Tokyo
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Edward DROTT Associate Professor

Research Areas History of Japanese religion,religion and the body
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Tatsuo MURAKAMI Associate Professor

Research Areas Theories of religion (modernity,colonialism,materiality) ,African Pentecostalism
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Kiyokazu OKITA Associate Professor

Research Areas Hindu studies,classical Sanskrit literature,Sanskrit poetry and poetics,Bengali literature,studies on emotions
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Mathew THOMPSON Associate Professor

Research Areas Medieval and early modern Japanese literature,particularly the otogizoshi,ko-joruri,gunkimono genres; samurai representation and the legend of Minamoto no Yoshitsune

Yen Yi CHAN Assistant Professor

Research Areas Premodern Japanese art,Buddhist art,sacred space,memorials and monuments,images of Shakyamuni,relic worship,figural representations and formation of body,cultural exchanges and Buddhist art,visual culture of death,religious sculpture

Akiko FRISCHHUT Assistant Professor

Research Areas Metaphysics of time,consciousness,philosophy of food,aesthetics

Hannah HOLTZMAN Assistant Professor

Research Areas Global cinema,film history,media theory,documentary,digital media,ecocinema,technology studies

International Business and Economics

Parissa HAGHIRIAN Professor

Research Areas Japanese market entry,knowledge transfer,intercultural communication,headquar ter-subsidiary relations in Japanese multinational corporations,Japanese consumer behavior
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Naoto ISAKA Professor

Research Areas Financial markets,corporate finance
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Yacob KHOJASTEH Professor

Research Areas Operations management,supply chain management,business and management

Akihito ASANO Associate Professor

Research Areas Applied microeconomic theory,economics education

Peter De MAEYER Associate Professor

Research Areas Consumer behavior,pricing and advertising
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Gabriel Fuentes CORDOBA Associate Professor

Research Areas Development economics,applied microeconomics,agricultueral economics,economic systems
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Takuya HASEBE Associate Professor

Research Areas Labor economics,health economics,econometrics,applied microeconomics
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Michiru SAKANE Associate Professor

Research Areas Macroeconomics,international finance

Junko UENISHI Associate Professor

Research Areas Financial accounting,international accounting,comparative accounting systems

Social Studies

Tadashi ANNO Professor

Research Areas Theories of international relations and comparative politics,globalization and the future of the nation-state,nationalism,Soviet and Post-Soviet politics
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Tina BURRETT Professor

Research Areas Leadership,democratization,political accountability,the role of the media in politics

James FARRER Professor

Research Areas Urban sociology,foodways and cuisine,sexuality,nightlife,skilled migration(expatriates)
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Bettina GRAMLICH-OKA Professor

Research Areas Japanese history,digital humanities,gender studies,material culture
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Takeshi ITO Professor

Research Areas Agrarian and environmental change; ecology,capitalism,the state; power,domination and resistance; Southeast Asia and Japan

Koichi NAKANO Professor

Research Areas Japanese politics,comparative politics,New Right transformation,public protest and civic activism,party politics and policy change,bureaucracy and administrative reform
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Sven SAALER Professor

Research Areas Japanese political history,history of Japanese foreign relations,politics of memory,history of Pan-Asianism
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David SLATER Professor

Research Areas Cultural anthropology,refugees and migrants,urban ethnography,semiotics; Tokyo
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Christian HESS Associate Professor

Research Areas Modern Chinese history,urban history,Japanese imperialism and colonialism in China,the regional history of Northeast China,globalization and Chinese cities
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Yuka MINAGAWA Associate Professor

Research Areas Social demography,health and aging,socio-economic transition from communism in East Central Europe and former Soviet Union

Takehiro WATANABE Associate Professor

Research Areas Cultural and social anthropology,modernity,critical theory

Ilju KIM Assistant Professor

Research Areas Migration,citizenship and gender,skilled migration (IT industry),immigrant labor market participation,comparative research

Core Program

Gary G FOGAL Associate Professor

Research Areas Applied linguistics,second language writing development,dynamic systems theory & usage-based linguistics,pedagogical stylistics

Chris HARWOOD Associate Professor

Research Areas Language and literacies education,sociocultural theory,online pedagogy

Dennis KOYAMA Associate Professor

Research Areas Applied statistics,collaborative learning,educational assessment,second language writing,task-based language teaching
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Hanako OKADA Associate Professor

Research Areas Applied linguistics,narrative inquiry,language and identity,sociocognitive approach to language and culture
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