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Institute for Cultural Interaction Studies, Kansai University

Graduate School

The Graduate School of East Asian Cultures, Cultural Interaction Studies major (Opening April 2011)

For the Training and Cultivation of International Academics and Professionals with Advanced
Expertise in East Asia



 Kansai University is known for the quality and quantity of its scholars in East Asian Cultural Research all of whom have played a significant role in the development and promotion of international educational centre and research. The latest acknowledgement of these accomplishments is the acceptance of Kansai University’s application, entitled Formation of Education and Research Departments for East Asian Cultural Interaction Studies: Creating a New Cultural Image of East Asia via a Peripheral-area Approach, to the humanities division of the MEXT’s (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-JAPAN) Global COE Program, established in 2007. In April 2008, the Graduate School of Letters was restructured, and Cultural Interaction Studies Major established.
 With the completion of the 2010 fiscal year, this major was separated from the Graduate School of Letters and established as a the Graduate School of East Asian Cultures with a major in Cultural Interaction Studies. With the creation of this program, Kansai University has further developed the education and research of a field strongly associated with the school, while creating a basic framework for the stated aims of the Global COE Program, this being the development of an international hub for education and research.

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Characteristics

 Cultural Interaction Studies, the research and educational thrust of the Graduate School of East Asian Cultures, focuses on the formation of culture, the transmission of culture, cultural interaction and cultural transformation within East Asia as a single entity. The purpose of this discipline is to provide multiple perspectives in the creation of a comprehensive explanation for the present entirety of cultural interaction.
With the twenty-first century, the level of interdependency between the East Asian countries is increasingly strong. Nevertheless, the tension and emotional friction lies within undeveloped stances towards other cultures. To overcome this problem, it is necessary to create techniques that lead to vantage points that promote a global understanding of one country’s culture and thereby avoid the evaluation system based on relative merits and power. The Graduate School of East Asian Cultures proposes to discard the hitherto held perception of one country/one culture, and view East Asia as a linked cultural complex formed through cultural interaction. This East Asian cultural complex is to be dynamically and compositely examined through analytic paradigms taken from the humanities. This new approach will fundamentally change the field of East Asian Research while training a new generation of international scholars that participate in this change.

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Admission Policy


 The purpose of the Graduate School of East Asian Cultures is to produce the next generation of East Asian humanities scholars and professionals educated and trained in theoretical approaches to East Asian Culture.
 With Kansai University’s belief of “the realistic study” as an underlying premise, the university hopes to nurture and create a body of scholars devoted to the pursuit of truth and able to contribute to the development of society and culture.
 The classes are therefore devoted to the analysis of the diversity of East Asian cultural interaction, the analytic paradigms drawn from various disciplines in the humanities. The students will be introduced to and expected to acquire a broad and comprehensive understanding of several fields for the creation of this new research field.
The entrance examination will then focus on a professional knowledge of East Asian culture and actively seek national and international students with advanced linguistic abilities. The program welcomes students with a broad array of interests who intend to participate in research activities.

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Graduate Program in East Asian Cultures

Curriculum Philosophy
 The education and research thrust of this program is cultural interaction, the premise of which is that East Asia is a complex cultural composite that transcends nation and race. This new field will attempt to explain the formation of culture, the spread of culture, cultural contact and cultural transformation from a holistic stance that incorporates multiple analytical frameworks. To pursue this approach requires overcoming both the inherent limitations of the humanities and research formed within a nationalist framework. Rather than the accumulation of descriptive research in linguistics, ideology, anthropology, religious studies, literature and history, the hope is to embody a methodology that promotes an understanding of the totality of East Asian cultural interaction. This in turn will lead to an understanding of East Asia as a linked composite of cultural interaction and cultural negotiation that transcends national borders and therefore research conducted within the confines of one country. This will lead to the establishment of a course of study that engages with the new era and will survive international competition with the production of talented scholars through the application of a new curriculum.

Group Instruction
 The program has adopted a group teaching policy with the addition of a research advisor from a different field to complement the student’s primary advisor (The first semester requires a minimum of two research advisors; the second semester requires a minimum of three.). The standard research direction of seminars under the research advisor will be continued; however, with advice from a secondary research advisor from a different field.
 The progress of the research project will be confirmed through the use of a web portfolio that includes a record of the research advisor’s curriculum vitae. This is seen as an endeavor to promote the exchange and sharing of information between students and advisors, as well as overcome the limits of a research area.


Coursework designed for International Competition
 The present era of globalization requires that students acquire secondary languages in order to participate in international academic dialogue. Graduate students are expected to have mastered another East Asian language outside of their native language, the second language being determined by their research content. It is also required that the students acquire a working knowledge and facility with English in order to participate in international conferences. The curriculum has been designed with this in mind.

Coursework Guidance
  In this program, classes are offered during the spring and fall semesters, these two semesters comprising the academic year. Students register for classes during the spring semester. With acceptance to the program, the students create a detailed research plan: in the first semester, the students submit a two-year study plan; in the second semester, they submit a thee-year study plan. This requirement is to ensure the smooth progression of their studies. Also, using this plan as a foundation for their studies, the students design their coursework according to their research needs. This is novel approach will promote the establishment of an original research plan.

The Core Research Areas and an Organic Movement to Combined Studies
 The Core Research Areas and an Organic Movement to Combined StudiesThe three areas study of this program are East Asian Linguistics and Symbolism, East Asian Ideology and Structuralism, and East Asian History and Movement. The students are expected to select those courses that lead to the formation of a basis for their research within one of these three areas after which they are to transcend the disciplinary and regional borders.
In order to cross these borders, the formation of coursework stresses an organic movement between those contents that focus on the qualities of each area and those contents that are cognizant of a combination with other areas.
To provide a concrete example, students pursuing East Asian Linguistics and Symbolism will take research seminars in this field to improve their understanding of the research methodology and to deepen their knowledge of their chosen subject; however, they are expected to also take courses in East Asian Ideology and Structuralism, or East Asian History and Dynamics to improve their understanding of research methodology and enrich their knowledge of source materials. Students pursuing the two remaining fields are expected to do the same.

Careers Upon Completion of Coursework
 Upon the completion of the first semester, the students will either advance to the second semester or be trained as highly specialized experts to be employed in education, in civil service or corporate business.
 Those who complete the second semester of coursework will be awarded a doctorate with the expectation of their continuing research at universities, educational research institutions, as well as international exchange as highly trained experts. The university expects to send superior exchange students to overseas universities and research institutions.

Graduate Program in East Asian Culture Curriculum
 More information

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Support for Young Scholars (Post-doctoral and doctoral)

The support for young scholars described below will end March 2012

  With the MEXT’s Global COE Program selection in 2007, the Institute for Cultural Interaction Studies and the Graduate Program in East Asian Cultures Major were established as international standard educational/research programs, and the following support has been established for graduate students enrolled in this major.

1. Global COE (Cultural Interaction Major) Scholarship
This scholarship will terminate in March 2012; however, as a transitional measure, those students entering the program by 2011 will be awarded a subsidy based on the shortest possible period within which each of the programs can be completed.

 The subsidies described below are for exceptional students (excluding government supported foreign students) enrolled in the program who will be continuing research activities in Cultural Interaction Studies, the assumption being that these students are devoted to research activities and will continue to produce outstanding research results.

(1) Second-semester graduate students will be awarded tuition and educational expenses
(2) First-semester graduate students will be provided with half their educational expenses (note 1). Entrance fees and alumni association fees are not included.

(note 1) The payments will be disbursed to coincide with tuition payment: late May and late October.
(note 2) Foreign students: foreign students at Kansai University who are without fellowships or subsidies may submit an application to have their tuition reduced. With the financial assistance and the reduction of tuition expenses, second-semester students tuition and educational expenses will be completely covered, and first-semester students will receive a 65% reduction in tuition and their educational expenses will be reduced by 50%.
(note 3) Government sponsored student and students receiving support from other organizations are not covered by the subsidy described above.
(note 4) It is necessary to submit the application at a specified time and undergo an interview after the application has been reviewed.

2. COE Research Assistantship
 Students enrolled in the second semester of this program are eligible for employment as a research assistant and paid accordingly. Graduate students enrolled in the Ph.D. program interested in pursuing an international level of educational research, as indicated in the selection of the Global COE program, who are devoted to research activities and learning, may participate in and present at symposiums and conferences. It is also possible for these students to participate in the preparation and publication of newsletters and academic bulletins. There are also opportunities for their participation in research groups.
The pay is 160,000 yen per month; however, students with exceptional results may be paid more.
Governments sponsored students and researchers working under the auspices of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science are ineligible to receive payment as COE Research Assistants.

3. Young Researcher Payment [COE Research Assistants]
  Gifted young researchers who pursue independent research are eligible to apply for financial support. This requires submitting an application form with a detailed description of the research project for review. The yearly amount is 150,000 yen.

4. Global COE Junior Assistantship
  Graduate students enrolled in the first-semester program clearly interested in advancing to the second semester are eligible for employment as COE Junior Assistants and paid accordingly.
  With the results of the screening process, and subsequent employment, the student will be engaged as a research assistant and paid a maximum monthly stipend of 123,200 yen. The actual numbers of students employed and the amount paid changes according to the number or applicants and hours worked. (In 2010, sixteen students were employed, each paid 60,000 per month.)

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