Dean's Message and Our Brief Introduction
With best wishes for our students
- that they may take wing from the northernmost ocean
The history of Hokkaido University stretches back more than 130 years from the opening of Sapporo Agricultural College in 1876. It was later however, in 1947, that a faculty of the humanities - the Faculty of Laws and Letters - was established, from which the Faculty of Letters was independently founded in 1950. Since then the Faculty of Letters has experienced organizational restructurings such as the establishment of the Graduate School of Letters, the reorganization of the Departments to cut across individual specializations, and the consolidation of the Graduate School - which has culminated in the current form of the institute. Today, we are a cornerstone of the Core University of Advanced Studies, having over 110 academic staff, complete with 4 Divisions and 19 Programs in the Graduate School of Letters, and 9 Courses in the Faculty of Letters.
Research and education at the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Letters / Faculty of Letters adopt an orthodox style. They basically begin anew with fundamental questions of, for example, the existence of human beings and the nature of the thoughts, histories, languages, societies and cultures produced by human efforts, and then move into detailed studies of individual concrete phenomena. While upholding the traditional diversity of the discipline, we also examine, from multiple perspectives, various issues facing contemporary society. Against this background, we have been granted funding in recent years from the 21st Century COE Program, the Global COE Program and the Program for Reforming Graduate Education, amongst others, and we aspire to create focused areas of study unique to us through this funded research and education.
The Graduate School / Faculty are characterized in that they are staffed by a large number of academic staff, each of whom commits themselves to delivering introductory classes at the Faculty through to supervising thesis writing at the Graduate School, etc. This results in there being a small number of students in most of the classes, which leads to finely-tuned tutorials for each student. We also provide curricula from which students in the undergraduate classes are allowed to choose their subjects flexibly according to their interests or concerns, whereas at the graduate school we organize ourselves so that students can be supervised by those academic staff whose specializations are close to their own research theme.
At the opening of the Chinese classic “Zhuangzi”, there is a narrative of a fish wriggling in the northernmost ocean who suddenly transforms itself into a big bird. The story goes that the big bird glides on the waters for three thousand li, ascends to nine thousand li riding on a gale, and eventually flies in the sky at ease. I would see our students in this tale, as if they nurture their abilities during their time with our Graduate School / Faculty, develop into the fully-fledged in time, and flourish, not only in Japan, but also globally. We set our minds to stimulating further our efforts to achieve scholarly excellence in company with the ambitious students coming to the Forest of Elm, and to educating our students so that they will be spreading their wings around the world with their high-caliber.
Dean of the Graduate School of Letters, Hokkaido University
Dean of the Faculty of Letters, Hokkaido University