Creating a universal format using traditional techniques of knowledge
As a person who was involved in the establishment of the International Joint Graduate Program in Japanese Studies from the conceptual stage, I would like to begin by mentioning three aims I raised for the program.
The first was to treat the traditional techniques of knowledge we inherited from Japanese Humanities with importance. This includes the way of reading and handling texts. Tohoku University leads universities in Japan in the tradition of reading documents accurately. I believed that we had to raise Tohoku University to the highest level in the country regarding Japanese Studies, while treasuring the techniques we inherited.
The second was to format the results of one’s research so that it could transcend a specific region, and be shared with a large number of researchers. One of my areas of interest involves the concept of “god”. This is a fundamental issue not only for Japanese people, but for everyone in the world.
Shinto is a religion native to Japan. When explaining Shinto to people from overseas, it is not enough to merely translate and show literature and theses written in Japanese. The reason is that the way of talking about Japanese gods and Shinto is formatted in such a manner that it can only be understood by Japanese people. In the future it will be of the utmost importance to change the format itself, so anyone can understand and debate the contents, and to promote it overseas.
The third was that Japanese Studies must become a subject which can clearly respond to the issues we are facing regarding humankind. It is often said that currently, the fields of the Humanities are divided and diversified, and that they have to be unified. However, for that to happen, it is essential to establish a thesis on a specific, pressing issue: one that transcends most people’s field of specialization and captures their interest. If a pressing contemporary issue, in which people must take an interest, is raised, discussions which transcend individual fields will be born. That ought to be the first step toward the ambitious aim of unifying subject fields.