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Departments

The Department of Regional Studies

The graduate students' room.

The graduate students’ room.

The Department studies the individual cultures of ethnic groups in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Oceania. It considers the characteristics and history of each culture and focuses on describing a culture and understanding its structure using ethnographic methodology. The Department fosters researchers who have high expertise and actively promote the descriptive study of individual cultures based on fieldwork.

Educational Policies for the Department of Regional Studies

For students in the Department of Regional Studies, Minpaku offers a wealth of printed materials, artifacts, and video and audio recordings from many parts of the world. Since Minpaku is an Inter-University Research Institute, they also have the opportunity to participate in joint projects involving leading researchers from around the world. By taking advantage of these opportunities, they receive the training they need to conduct their own high-quality research. They will also be trained in long-term fieldwork, how to present their work at international meetings, and how to manage joint research. With their supervisors as primary research advisors, each student assembles an advisory group suitable to his or her research topic; they also receive guidance from other faculty members involved in their specialty.

The Department of Comparative Studies

A seminar in process.

A seminar in process.

The Department of Comparative Studies is designed for students interested in the comparative and cross-cultural study of social systems, religion, technology, languages, arts, and cultural resources. Through the comparative study of ethnic cultures, students are expected to identify the cross-cultural aspects of their research subjects and to develop theoretical interpretations of the comparative data. To foster researchers with high expertise, we encourage new research methods integrating relevant information technology and interdisciplinary approaches with the traditional anthropological methods.

Educational Policies for the Department of Comparative Studies

This department is based at Minpaku, Japan’s National Museum of Ethnology, an Inter-University Research Institute established to implement large-scale joint research with universities, museums, and other research institutions both in and outside of Japan. It is also an open museum, with exhibitions, talks, and seminars open to members of the general public. In addition to artifacts related to the lifeways of peoples around the globe, its resources also include video and audio recordings, in addition to written and printed materials. Students are trained in both the theory and practice of comparative research and refine their academic writing and presentation skills by writing academic papers and participating in academic meetings, developing the indispensable ability to communicate their findings to the public. Each student has an advisor group constructed to fit his or her research topic and, under the direction of his or her supervisor, receives specialized training in this rich and challenging environment.

The history of the two departments

October, 1988 The Graduate University for Advanced Studies ,SOKENDAI (All schools)
April, 1989 The School of Cultural Studies (Departments of Regional Studies and Comparative Studies) is
founded, accepts its first students and teaching begins.
February, 1995 Construction of shared facilities at the Hayama campus is completed. The first matriculation
ceremony for new students was held. (All schools)
April, 1999 The School of Advanced Sciences accepts its first students. (Several faculty members in the
Department of Regional Studies and the Department of Comparative Studies hold joint
appointments in the School of Advanced Sciences.) (All schools)
October, 2000 First annual open campus event.
April, 2001 Regional and comparative studies student network is formed.
April, 2005 Four Kansai-based universities sign a student exchange agreement under which students
from the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies at Kyoto University,
the Graduate School of Human Sciences at Osaka University, the Graduate School of
Intercultural Studies and the Graduate School of Human Development and Environment at Kobe University,
and the Graduate School of Anthropology at Kyoto Bunkyo University can receive credit for
courses taken on each other’s campuses.

The guide to the two departments (in Japanese)

overview cover

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