Pick up your books and go outside
One may imagine the “Faculty of Letters” to be a place where students do nothing but read books. This assumption, however, is false. For studies within the Division of Psychology and Sociology, as an example, experiments and social surveys prove indispensable. Furthermore, a variety of fieldwork, such as archaeological excavations, is conducted by students in this Faculty. Some of this fieldwork includes overseas projects that are completely carried out independently. One such project was the Asian Agricultural Village Survey Project, whose participants were rewarded for their efforts spanning several years with a University of Tokyo President’s Award in 2004. As can be seen, students in the Faculty of Letters do, indeed, leave their offices and libraries to venture outside. Usually with their books, of course.
Sense and Sensibility
Explore New Worlds by Reading the Originals
Great importance is given to foreign language education for third- and fourth-year students in the Faculty of Letters. Classes in the subjects of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Persian, Latin, Greek, Tibetan and others are offered alongside the more commonly taught English, German, French and Russian. A foreign language is something that takes great effort to learn, so one should be provided opportunities to utilize it. Thus, the Faculty of Letters features a class titled “Reading the Originals (Genten wo Yomu)” which fosters within students the ability to accurately read texts in their original languages – not translated versions. These classes are open to all students throughout the University (not just to Faculty of Letters students), with students independently reading works by authors such as Kant, Minamoto no Sanetomo, Sima Qian, Chomsky, Frank O’Connor, La Fontaine, Baudelaire, Platonov and Garcia Marquez. Students also read works like the Talmud, Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Chushingura. Using this wide range of literary pieces as a guide, students will surely discover new worlds. The reading abilities cultivated here will no doubt stay with students after they graduate, and enhance both their sense and sensibility throughout their lifetimes.