Dean’s Welcome

Exploration of Humanity and Society – New Human Resource Development in the Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences

Fumihiko Yamamoto, Dean
Graduate School/Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences,
Hokkaido University

Technological innovation in the communication field and rapid globalization have drastically changed modern society, making it multifaceted, complicated and diverse in values. To face such new global characteristics and develop individuals who can contribute to the challenges they bring, the Graduate School of Letters at Hokkaido University was divided into two new entities in April 2019: the Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences, an educational organization to which graduate students belong, and the Faculty of Humanities and Human Sciences, a research organization to which teaching staff belong. This separation has allowed for the development of interdisciplinary and comprehensive education in humanity and social science, in addition to the provision of graduate education that meets the fresh needs of society without reorganizing the teaching staff organization.

The Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences provides education in the two-division system: Humanities and Human Sciences.

The Division of Humanities integrates the previous three divisions (Philosophy and Cultural Sciences, History and Area Studies, and Linguistics and Literature), enabling students to specialize in diverse humanity fields in more depth. In addition, the establishment of four new laboratories (Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, Museum Studies, and Ainu and Indigenous Studies) further enhances interdisciplinary and comprehensive education. The Division of Human Sciences is based on the achievements in the previous division and takes over the approach of the previous division, allowing students to study human science as comprehensive science. This division provides advanced and sophisticated education on humanity and society through diverse field work, including experiments, practical work and surveys.

The aim of education and research in the Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences is to clarify humanity and society from various angles and using various approaches. For example, consider the question of what humanity is. You may approach this question through various fields, such as philosophy, historical science, literature, linguistics, psychology and sociology, as well as from the integrative perspective of these fields. There may be various answers to this question, and it is impossible to reach a single absolute answer. This is typical of education and research in the Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences. Research and discussions are repeated on many questions and their answers involving humanity and society to present a more convincing answer, which in turn leads to further questions. These questions may not directly help our lives. However, the ability to answer these questions is surely needed to build a future society.

Education and research in the Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences will take on increasing importance in the current multifaceted and complicated society. Various fields in society place high expectations on the human resource development in the humanity and social science field. More than 110 faculty members of the Graduate School of Humanities and Human Sciences respond to such expectations through education and research in diverse fields to produce capable individuals for society.