Sophia University

Academics Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Humanities

Defining Humanities as the “study of human beings,” we aim to further the spiritual heritage of mankind and open up new prospects for today’s international society by developing in our students the fundamental intellectual capacities to discern the nature of humanity, society, and the world. These capacities in turn will enable them to think and act as responsible individuals. In particular, the faculty sets the “pursuit of wisdom” as its goal and is devoted to achieving this goal by cultivating the whole person through humanities education. Our ideal is to provide the kind of education that encourages students’ self-realization and fosters individuals who are ready to contribute to building a better society and willing to live for other people -- “Men and Women for Others, with Others.”

The faculty consists of seven departments: Philosophy, History, Japanese Literature, English Literature, German Literature, French Literature, and Journalism. Each department is founded upon long-established tradition of a distinctive discipline and seeks to embrace interdisciplinary approaches as well. To draw on its distinctive features and merits, each department has educational programs with well-defined objectives and the support of highly qualified teachers. Through these programs, we promote advanced education in specialized fields and interdisciplinary research. Following the university’s tradition, we steadfastly maintain small classes embodying an intimate academic community and thus stress cura personalis (education with “individualized attention”) to value students’ individuality.

In our academic courses, we emphasize the curriculum contents and methods of instruction that will draw out each student’s potential, such as small seminars and individual guidance for thesis writing. In addition, we aim to improve students’ abilities in language, expression, and understanding as well as their research skills with which they can identify, analyze and solve problems.

Department of Philosophy

Our department has a long-established tradition dating back to the founding of the university. It was established as the core department of the university to embody its name, the “pursuit of wisdom (philosophia).” The academic goal of the department, therefore, is identical with the founding philosophy of the university. In particular, our department seeks to investigate fundamental questions regarding the world and mankind by exploring philosophical ideas from all ages in order to understand the universe in its essence. The scope of our academic activities is not limited to the department but extends to the whole university as well as students preparing for the priesthood, and at the same time we participate actively in the nationwide networks of philosophical studies.

To maintain the tradition that has produced a number of respected specialists in the fields of philosophy, ethics, aesthetics and religion, our department, in collaboration with the Graduate School of Philosophy, endeavors to foster individuals who can contribute to advanced academic research or higher education. At the same time, our advanced liberal arts education is designed to contribute to society by providing education of the whole person and thus producing autonomous individuals with broad and deep vision, who can pursue both self-realization and contribute to a cooperative civil society. For this purpose, we strive to cultivate in our students a strong motivation, knowledge, and an enduring strength of will to maintain sincerity and courage.

Department of History

The study of history provides a beacon for the future by promoting deeper understanding of the present through the exploration of the past. Through historical studies our department aims to foster individuals with a global perspective and a multidimensional, multilayered understanding of history. In the contemporary world where social tension runs high due to conflicting values on a worldwide scale, there is an urgent need to foster individuals with such abilities. Through training in examining both original historical sources, which are the testimonies of times, and accumulated scholarship of past researchers, we develop in our students the ability to identify truth unhindered by prejudices or stereotypes. At the same time, we help them to become able to analyze society from historical and comparative perspectives without placing absolute trust in the values of our own time. The department also offers training to equip students with skills to present the results of their own research and observations logically and objectively. Through such training we foster persons of intellect who can make an active contribution to our society. Our goal is to send individuals well grounded in history into academia as well as society at large.

Department of Japanese Literature

Our department focuses on the study of Japanese culture, placing the study of classics at its academic base. We also help students to develop abilities to read, think, and express themselves and at the same time we aim to cultivate in students the knowledge and insight required to understand humanity, society, and culture in today’s globalized world.

“Japanese literature” is a field of study that consists of Japanese literature (classical and modern literature), Japanese language study, and Chinese classics, all of which are organically interrelated. We intend to embody this interrelation in our curriculum, education, and research. Since its founding, the faculty has produced many respected researchers and educators in the field of Japanese literature, Japanese language studies, and Chinese literature. We continue this effort and foster the development of researchers and educators for the next generation, who are multidimensional in their thinking and acquainted with specialized as well as interdisciplinary approaches.

Department of English Literature

Our department’s educational goal is to help our students to become adept in using English as a global language, and, at the same time, acquire a logical and systematic way of seeing and thinking as they study British and American literature and thought, as well as linguistics, translation, and cultural studies. By learning to understand other cultures, students will develop the talent for discernment required for finding and dealing with problems unfamiliar to them. At the same time, they are forced to reassess their own culture. Such training, in turn, will produce real world citizens who are able to see the world and society from a global perspective. In particular, our goal is to foster individuals, drawing on the abundant materials of literature, able to scrutinize human beings and their societies closely and find something meaningful in them. Our four-year curriculum is designed to equip students with the linguistic ability to express themselves and rich knowledge of humanity and society, with which they can truly use their intellect.

Department of German Literature

In our department students will acquire the skills to use the German language for a broad and comprehensive range of purposes and also study the literature, thought, culture (music, painting, film) of German-speaking countries in historical contexts. Our goal is to develop competence in advanced thinking, creative imagination, and precise expression. By learning a different language and culture students realize the excitement and difficulty of understanding others. This basic awareness will help them to live in the complicated modern society of mobility and globalization. Our aim is to help students develop a broad, multidimensional perspective to understand human thought, enhance a flexible imagination that is open-minded to differences, and express their opinions in a logical and persuasive manner.

Department of French Literature

The academic goal of our department is to develop citizens who contribute to the global world with advanced French language skills and knowledge of French culture. The curriculum focuses on extensive language education from the first year. We offer comprehensive training to develop reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities. We provide courses on fine arts, film, performing arts, modern intellectual thought, and contemporary social issues as well as French literature, all of which are essential for an understanding of French culture. The department aims not only to equip students with knowledge of French culture, but also to develop highly conscious people with a multidimensional vision, tolerance for differences and appreciation of criticism that are the essence of French culture. Another important goal of our department is to produce international researchers who are knowledgeable in the field of French literature.

Department of Journalism

Since its founding in 1932, our department’s academic activities have centered on the development of journalism studies in Japan and the training of specialists in the field. In view of today’s information society built on highly advanced telecommunication technology, our education and research not only deal with communication and information in general, but also the issues that journalism is facing as its importance is increasing. Well-balanced education that “relies solely neither on theory nor on practice” is the motto of the department and it seeks to provide a solid theoretical base to the inherently practice-oriented field of journalism. We aim to prepare our students for the various fields of the media businesses such as newspapers, publishing, broadcasting and advertising. We also strive to equip students with communication skills and a fundamental knowledge of media including publicity and public relations activities as well as media literacy, which are expected of businesspeople and members of society. In so doing, we prepare many able individuals to contribute to society in the public and private sectors as well as in nonprofit organizations.