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Studies on Japanese Culture and Society


The Organization of Global Affairs started the Programs for the Studies on Japanese Culture and Society in the autumn 2011 semester in order to give international students the opportunity to learn, through hands-on experience and lectures, about the culture and society of Japan. The first half of the program, in the spring semester, covers 18 courses, while the second half, in the autumn semester, covers 14, for a total of 32 courses. The program is open to both international and Japanese students, so both lots of students can come into contact with the traditional culture and society of Japan, and deepen their understanding in terms of both knowledge and experiences.


  1. International students belonging to the Organization of Global Affairs
  2. International students belonging to other departments or faculties
  3. Japanese students
    • All courses can be taken as “Japanese Cultural Experience A” or “Japanese Cultural Experience B” in the School of International Studies.
    • Some courses can be taken as “Kanazawa Studies in Ishikawa” in the School of Teacher Education.
    • Some courses can be taken as courses for individual joint educational themes.


  • Note that there restrictions on course combinations if you intend to take multiple courses.
  • There is a quota for each course, so if more people than the quota apply, the lecturer in charge will select those who can attend based on the priority rankings.
  • Students who wish to enroll must take part in the Course Enrollment Guidance held once each semester. This is where those who can enroll will be determined. Please check the date and time for the Guidance on the list of courses offered.

Course list

Course introduction

Budō・Jōdō I (Fall/Spring), Budō・Jōdō II (Spring)

Teacher: BITTMANN, Heiko

In the “Jōdō I” course, we will learn about the history and the principles of traditional Japanese martial arts (budō) and we will practice the basics (kihon), the forms (kata), and the respectful salutations (rei), etc. of one traditional budō, the “Way of the Stick” (jōdō).

In the “Jōdō II” course, we intend to improve the technical-physical skills of jōdō we learned in the “Jōdō I” course as well as deepen our theoretical understanding of budō. While learning additional techniques, we will also study important principles of budō like ‘heart attitude’ (kokorogamae), ‘inner energy’ (ki), and ‘distance’ (ma) etc.

Budō・Karatedō I (Fall/Spring), Budō・Karatedō II (Spring)

Teacher: BITTMANN, Heiko

In the “Karatedō I” course, we experience Japanese culture first hand. In each lesson we will practice the basics (kihon), and later on one of the forms (kata) of karatedō. We will also learn about the history, basic principles and teachings of karatedō.

In the “Karatedō II” course, we will try to improve the technical-physical skills of karatedō we have learned in the “Karatedō I” course. We will also deepen our theoretical understanding of budō.

Japanese Culture through the Way of Tea (Fall)

Teacher: FUKAGAWA Miho

This course will provide you with the opportunity to learn about Japanese traditional culture through the tea ceremony. The tea ceremony is a syncretic art of traditional Japanese culture. Students will study and experience traditional aspects of Japanese culture through the tea ceremony and deepen their understanding of the Japanese way of thinking and the Japanese aesthetics.

Japanese Traditional Performing Arts and Music (Spring)

Teacher: FUKAGAWA Miho

This course will provide you with the opportunity to learn about Japanese traditional culture through Noh, which is one of the traditional Japanese performing arts. Students will learn about Noh and traditional Japanese music, and actually perform it. In this way, they will deepen their understanding of Japanese culture.

Education in Japan (Fall)

Teacher: SAIKI Mariko

This course provides students with opportunities to learn about the educational system of contemporary Japan, its background factors, and its future objectives. Students will deepen their understanding of the educational goals of contemporary Japan through individual research as well as through visits to a kindergarten and schools in the city.

Family in Japan (Spring)

Teacher: SAIKI Mariko

In this course, we will deepen our understanding of the household functions that support contemporary Japanese clothing, food, housing, and education. Therefore students will, in addition to participating in lectures, individual research presentations, and discussions, visit after school care program clubs in Kanazawa, take classes in preparing home cooking, and also experience a homestay or home visit.

Ohi Pottery: Clay and Fire (Fall)

Teacher: BITTMANN, Heiko

The “Way of Tea” contains all that is related to the life of the Japanese. Food, clothing, houses and manners, including the aesthetic sense of Japanese, are shown as pure forms. In this course, students will make tea bowls by hands based on the traditional method of Ohi Pottery. At the same time, students will appreciate the form and color of tea bowls in art museums. All students will also participate in a tea ceremony. Through these activities, students will deepen their understanding of Japanese culture.

Traditional Arts & Crafts and their Techniques (Spring)

Teacher: BITTMANN, Heiko

Japanese people have used the natural items around them to create whatever they need in their lives. These have been perfected as craft items, through techniques that are passed on by craftsmen to this day. This course looks at two typical examples, Yamanaka lacquerware and Japanese paper, to allow students to actually experience their techniques as they observe and actually create them.

Japanese Society and Traditional Culture I (Fall), II (Spring)
~Observing Tradition and Society in Kanazawa~

Teacher: YAMAMOTO Hiroshi

Through these courses, students are encouraged to deepen their understanding of Japanese society and culture. “Hands-on” experiences in Japanese traditional arts and crafts will provide students with an opportunity to time-slip to Japan from hundreds of years ago, which in turn will enable them to learn about the traditional rules and customs which have been maintained for many centuries.

Furthermore, through lectures given by specialists on topics such as Japanese lifestyle, mass media, business, economy, education, and so on, students will acquire an overall view of Japanese society. Students will also visit various places such as companies, factories, and museums.

*Contents differ in each semester.

Contemporary Art and Design (Spring)

Teacher: MATSUDA Makiko

Kanazawa is a city where people can witness the harmony of modern and traditional art forms. In this course, students will learn about the contemporary art and design rooted in old traditions in Japan.

Nursing Care for Elderly People in Japan (Fall)

Teacher: KOJIMA Sōichi

Japanese society is currently becoming an aging society. It is a major social issue now, and in particular, care for aged people is causing many serious problems.
In this course, we visit nursing care facilities for aged people, and carry out some activities with them. For international students, it will be a valuable opportunity to be able to come in contact with the elderly Japanese and talk with them in Japanese,
which may be different from Japanese in the textbooks. Students rarely have such opportunities at university.

The “Omotenashi” Spirit in The Service Industry of Japan (Spring)

Teacher: KOJIMA Sōichi

Recently, the Japanese word“ Omotenashi” is gaining popularity, and the spirit of hospitality in the Japanese service industry has a global reputation. In this course, we visit Japanese-style restaurants, nursery schools, and nursing care facilities for aged
people. Students are expected to learn the business style of these facilities, and the professional techniques of Japanese warm hospitality, which they cannot normally see.

Calendar and Time in the Japanese History (Fall/Spring)

Teacher: KOJIMA Sōichi

The Japanese have a global reputation for being very punctual. But, in fact, up until the Edo period the Japanese were sloppy about time, nad t iwas amajor issue in the modernization of Japanese after the Meiji Restoration.
In this course, we will learn about the recognition of time in Japan. We shall study how the ancient calendar system came to Japan from China, and how the Japanese changed it. Students are also expected to talk about their own culture’s recognition of time, and discuss common points and differences.

Zen and Japanese Culture (Fall/Spring)

Teacher: MAMMADOVA Aida

In this course students will be provided an opportunity to practice Zazen (mindful contemplation), and learn about Zen teachings, which are the basic teachings of all Japanese culture. Zen is the way of training for self-realization, and by practicing it
students will experience and learn the depth of Japanese culture.

UNESCO Geo-parks and Biosphere Reserves (Fall/Spring)

Teacher: MAMMADOVA Aida

The aim of this course is to introduce the students about the Mount Hakusan UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and experience the traditional lifestyle of the local people, as well as learn about the regional issues and about regional development.

Invalid Arguments in the Society (Fall/Spring)

Teacher: SATO Tomoya

In this class, we will deliberately study various forms of logically weak arguments (called “fallacies”) in order to learn how to make correct arguments. The purpose of this class is to learn how to make wrong arguments in a unified way, and indirectly to improve our own logical skills.

Sociocultural Studies on Japan (Fall/Spring)

Teacher: MINAMI Connie

In this course we will study a wide range of Japanese society and culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. In each class, we will pick up various topics to develop practical knowledge about the characteristics of Japanese society and culture. In this class, you will learn from traditional Japanese seasonal events to pop culture from multiple perspectives and improve your understanding of different culture. Students will also learn mutual communication and presentation skills by giving presentation in the class.

Comparative Gender Studies (Fall/Spring)

Teacher: MINAMI Connie

This course is to learn about gender studies from a global perspective. Gender equality is one of the major global challenges included in one of the SDGs. In this course, we will compare gender history in the world and Japan. We would also learn about current situation of each country as well. Classes are conducted in English, but explanations and discussions are also held in Japanese for Japanese students and international students studying Japanese.

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