Subject Synopses (Master Course)

Common Courses

Introduction to Research Practice

In this class, students will establish a firm foundation in research practice, with a focus on academic ethics, survey methodology, and writing and presentation skills, especially in connection with the master’s thesis. *Note: This is a required class. It is held on Monday, fifth period, in the spring term of the first year of the master’s course.

Seminar in Academic Presentation

This class is designed to develop skills in presenting logical, organized presentations. Instruction will be geared toward concrete methods of writing and presenting the master’s thesis, including rehearsal of the midterm thesis presentation. *Note: This is a required class. It is held on Monday, fifth period, in the summer term of the second year of the master’s course.

Special Language Class

This special language class is open to students in all study fields in the Division of Language and Culture. Students will receive training in a language other than their first language, enabling them to use the target language for advanced academic research, including surveys, overseas training, academic writing, and conference presentations. Classes will be taught by native speakers of the target language, with a focus on reading, academic writing, and presentation skills.

Interdisciplinary Cultural Formations

Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Based on traditional disciplines, but with a view to developing new fields and methodologies of research beyond the boundaries of existing ones, this course investigates the historical changes of language and culture around the world, along with the similarities and differences in their current realities. At the same time, we examine the world today that is increasingly transforming into a multicultural and multilingual society, and the various issues that have arisen in this process, from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Gender Studies

The Gender Studies course offers students knowledge and understandings of feminism, gender and sexuality, and develops an analysis framework and examination of gender difference structures inherent in society and culture, as well as gender and sexuality representations. In addition, the course encourages students to conduct interdisciplinary research regarding minorities, concerning not only LGBT and other sexual minorities, but also various other minorities related to the physically challenged, heritage and religion. The course supports the students’ acquisition of advanced linguistic and cultural literacy, enabling them to create societies with diversity.

Globalization Studies

Globalization is characterized by cross-border relationships and the global flow of people, information, goods, and capital beyond the nation-state framework. The course examines economic, cultural, and political activity influences on the globalizing world on the formation of unique language culture and civil society. We aim to gain multifaceted and multi-layered understandings of various issues facing the contemporary world, such as immigration, conflicts, terrorism, and environmental issues, with recourse to cultural and social theories, fieldwork, and analysis of texts and representations. Through these examinations, we develop the imagination to face “the other”.

Symbiosis Studies in Language and Culture

In the modern world, we need to deepen our understanding of others at the global level and explore and practice knowledge to turn conflict into harmony. In this course, using as materials literary and cultural texts in a broad sense, we analyze, from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives, various phenomena such as cultural movement, exchange, friction, and transformation derived from differences in language, ethnicity, race, class, and religion. By doing so, we seek ways for people in different positions to coexist in a finite global environment.

Formation Studies in Language and Culture

In the modern world, globalization and localization, collective and individual identities coexist whilst striving for relevance in one global linguistic and cultural environment. In this course, we analyze the formation process of various linguistic and cultural groups and their transformational dynamic from both diachronic and synchronic perspectives, comprehensively examining the interrelationship between language culture and social conditions, including diversity and identity complexity along with a “politics of difference”.

Culture and Representation

Studies of Culture and Representation

Students read and analyze various works and their media, including books, paintings, and films, as well as linguistic and cultural texts, including advertisements and speeches, and various other narrative representational issues. We analyze the creation, structure, transformation, propagation, and action of narratives as representations, texts, and works. We examine representation problems related to constructed narratives, cultural events, and representations that express images of the self and others in social, historical, and political contexts from multiple perspectives.

Comparative Studies in Language and Culture

This course compares the languages, cultures, and representations of multiple regions of the world, and examine the linguistic and cultural transformations brought about by cross-linguistic contact. The course includes a detailed textual analysis as well as a study of representative cultural theories. Students are expected to understand textual cultural meaning from multilingual and multicultural perspectives. Students are expected to improve their ability to read and critique in different languages, and to deepen thought related to an ideal cultural understanding of others.

Translation Studies

Translation is a communication form that is indispensable in various situations in a modern global society. In addition, literary works and other literary representations are transformed by their reception in societies with different languages and cultures, and with an adaptation in different artistic genres, which can also be considered a problem related to translation. In this course, we discuss translation, adaptation, retelling, and adaptation of literary works, practice translating various texts, and investigate related theories and issues.

Sociolinguistic and Communication Sciences

Communication in Culture and Society

Building on such fields as (cross-cultural) pragmatics, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, conversation analysis, and socially oriented applied linguistics, the course studies the mechanism of communication mediated by language and other semiotic resources. It particularly encourages multi-faceted investigations relating to how communication is influenced by cultural backgrounds, social and personal factors, media characteristics, and/or other contexts. The course also aims to develop students’ communication literacy that enables mutual exchange and cooperation in modern society where multiple languages, cultures, and values coexist and often compete against each other.


Pursuing the relationship between linguistic competence and performance based on phonetics/phonology/lexicography/syntax, also analyzing the data based on actual linguistic performance from the perspective of semantics/pragmatics, this course aims to elucidate utterance and discourse structures as well as the cognitive competence/mechanism, the driving force of utterances and discourses. Furthermore, along with developing a linguistic competence necessary for mutual understanding and consensus building, the course builds theories that serve as the basis for linguistic performance, i.e., processing/presenting theories information necessary for communication. The course also develops the ability to design communication.

Studies in Language Skills

The Studies in Language Skills course offers theories and skills to establish constructive cross-cultural communication and analyzes widely collected data used in various communicative methods in genuine communicative situations. The course examines the fundamental criteria for making Japanese into an international language and examines the theories and skills that facilitate smooth communication among non-native speakers of Japanese. Additionally, by analyzing audio and visual information, the course guides students in applying various expressive research skills into educational practices.


This course discusses the basic theories of sociolinguistics, which examines language in its social context, and provides research guidance on the actual practice of language research based on the correlation between language and society. From various perspectives, such as the micro approach (traditionally known as sociolinguistics), which considers communication, such as conversation, as a social activity and analyzes the exchanges that take place there; and, the macro approach (traditionally knows as sociology of language), which analyzes the diversity of language in correlation with social factors, such as the social attributes of speakers, as an interdisciplinary field that straddles linguistics and sociology, we try to understand the complex aspects and problems of the correlation between language and society.

Second Language Education

Applied Linguistics

Applied Linguistics is a course that creates an academic foundation for students to research, learn, teach, and analyze languages other than their first language in terms of theories of second language acquisition, second language evaluation, second language pragmatics, psychology of second language learning, and second language text analysis.

In Theories of Second Language Acquisition, students come to understand the theories and practical aspects of how learners acquire a second language. Theories of Second Language Evaluation begins with an understanding of language proficiency within the framework of language education. Based on the content and activities of different educational settings, students learn how to define and measure language proficiency as well as how to reflect upon them in evaluation. In Second Language Pragmatics, students consider when and how second language learners acquire knowledge and norms related to choices of language and expression in terms of when, to whom, what, and how one ought to use the target language. Students learn how to research second language learners’ knowledge and competence of second language usage, and how to transform these research findings into teaching and testing practices. Psychology of Second Language Learning focuses on psychological factors in second language learning, especially motivation, and is designed to help students to comprehensively study theories and practices related to second language learner psychology. In Second Language Text Analysis, text linguistics is used as an example for students to learn the basic concepts and methodology of applied linguistics, to discover the problems associated with it, and to learn methods of data collection and analysis.

Research Methodology in Second Language Studies

In Research Methodology in Second Language Studies, students gain proficiency in both quantitative and qualitative research methods for collecting and analyzing data. Students also learn how to progress in research, from the results of these analyses to research design and thesis writing.

In Quantitative Research Methods, students learn about designing quantitative research and statistical approaches, including acquiring an understanding of statistical concept. The study of statistical approaches is centered on the basic knowledge and principles of descriptive statistics, reliability tests, correlations, multiple regression analysis, and variance analysis, as well as the basics of applied multivariate analysis. They will also use actual data and analyze them using statistical applications. The goal is for the students to consider the design, topics, and methods of their research, and apply what they have learned, keeping in mind collection of data in actual educational settings. In Qualitative Research Methods, students look at second language learning and teaching, as well as actual usage of second language as the actions of persons possessing agency and consider what kind of educational or societal benefits are possible by clarifying second language users’ lives in social and educational settings. Students learn sociological and psychological theories and methodologies undergirded by such theories (for example, ethnomethodological conversational analysis and life stories). The goal is for the students to systematically design and pursue a research project on a topic of their choice.

Second Language Pedagogy

Second Language Pedagogy, is a course in which students research both the theoretical and practical aspects of second language performance skills and consider more sophisticated methods for learning and teaching. The course deals with the four skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

In the unit on Reading, students learn about the process of reading a text and the position that reading holds in foreign language learning and education. The goal of the course is to develop the ability to consider pedagogical methods for reading through the study of theories about foreign language education, language acquisition, as well as analysis of teaching materials. In the unit on Writing, based on awareness of discourse genres and theoretical considerations of matters such as the rhetoric unique to each genre, students consider classroom-based pedagogical methods and pedagogical applications through their own writing practice. The units on Listening and Speaking involve both theoretical and practical research on how learners acquire skills in listening and speaking. Based on previous studies, students investigate the mechanisms for understanding and speaking a second language. Students also examine pedagogies for developing listening and speaking skills, and their classroom applications.

Pedagogical Practice in Second Language Teaching

Pedagogical Practice in Second Language Teaching is a course that offers a multifaceted consideration of the practical aspects of second language pedagogy, including curriculum development, development of teaching materials, educational media theory, research on teaching, and second language pedagogy. At the same time, it considers educational media theory and development of teaching materials that employ cutting-edge technologies and methodologies.

The unit on Curriculum Development takes a comprehensive approach, starting from setting learning goals based on analysis of the learners’ needs and circumstances and proceeding to curriculum design and assessment of goal attainment, taking account of theories of language acquisition and learning. Students consider curriculum development in response to specific circumstances. In the unit on Teaching Materials Development, students consider resources for learning a language other than their first language, either in an educational institution or independently. After investigating the human, social, and physical aspects of designing teaching materials, through careful consideration of previously developed teaching materials, students attempt to develop new resources. In the unit on Educational Media Theory, students acquire basic knowledge for making use of ever-evolving information and communication technology (ICT) for language teaching and learning and consider future approaches to ICT support in educational settings. In the unit on Research on Teaching, students learn about specific teaching practices for second language education, including reflection based on the philosophy of “reflective practice,” and examining their theoretical foundations.

In the unit on Second Language Pedagogy, students learn about the theories and practical aspects of a wide range of second language teaching methods, from traditional approaches, such as the Audio-Lingual Approach to more recent methods, such as “Content and Language Integrated Learning” (CLIL).

Sociocultural Approaches to Second Language Studies

In Sociocultural Approaches to Second Language Studies, students consider the correlations among language, culture, society, and the self in theoretical terms, and, from the perspectives thus obtained, they critically consider multilingual, multicultural phenomena, plurilingualism, translanguaging, and language policy. Students learn to view language as more than a mere physical skill and develop deep insights into its relationship with cultural and societal frameworks and the construction of the self. These insights then form the basis for critical consideration of language education and language policy. The goal of the course is to enable the students to develop a sophisticated, multifaceted view that allows them to conceptualize and practice new forms of language education and education in multilingual circumstances.

Theoretical Linguistics and Digital Humanities

Theoretical Linguistics

Under the view that linguistics is the science of natural language, the course serves as a general introduction to the study of linguistic ability. We examine issues related to phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics as well as the interfaces between them. Students enrolled in this class acquire basic knowledge of theoretical linguistics and learn the methodology of argumentation as well as collecting linguistic data.


The course serves as a general introduction to the study of language acquisition. Fundamental principles of first, second, and third language acquisition are examined, based on basic knowledge of theoretical linguistics. We focus on universal aspects of language development under the current generative framework. Students enrolled in this class learn various experimental techniques using hands-on practice.

Historical Linguistic Research

This course is primarily concerned with languages used in pre-modern society. We study features of their sounds, letters, spelling, morphology, syntax, semantics, and vocabulary in a specific period or changes over different periods. For this purpose, contemporary literature, descriptions and materials of the age concerned, or corpus data are analyzed. We also aim to deepen understanding related to various aspects of modern languages by examining, empirically and theoretically, how the language in question rose and developed as well as its causes and motivations.

Statistics for Language Studies

This course introduces the basic statistical analysis concepts used in theoretical linguistics, language acquisition, psycholinguistics, experimental linguistics, sociolinguistics, natural language processing and corpus linguistics using lectures and exercises. The course is designed for anyone who has not taken any college-level math classes: we start with a basic model and proceed to learn advanced, more complex models in a step-by-step fashion.

Digital Humanities

We carry out cross-disciplinary research on language and cultural-historical resources, based on combined insights from language informatics, machine learning, and the traditional humanities, while refining theoretical frameworks and developing methodologies for digital processing and analysis of humanities data. We are specialising in the application of advanced natural language processing and statistical modelling in order to elucidate the complex, latent features of large-scale corpora and digital archives.

Language and Cognitive Sciences

Language and Cognitive Science

In this course, we explore and lecture on content related to the language ability structures and processes as one cognitive mechanism using cognitive system scientific perception from a linguistic information processing perspective, namely how to recognize the outside world, acquire knowledge, and process information. Additionally, regarding cognitive linguistics—which occupies such a position in linguistics—we provide guidance on conducting research that bridges and applies to both theoretical frameworks and specific linguistic research. Furthermore, we investigate the possibilities of approaching contrastive studies between languages from the standpoint of cognitive linguistics.

Cognitive Linguistics

This course explores the research and methodology of cognitive linguistics, an interdisciplinary branch of linguistics where the basic observations in cognitive science are applied to linguistic study. The course also overviews the wide variety of present studies based on human cognitive systems. The lecture deals with various theoretical frameworks in cognitive linguistics from a broad perspective, including construction grammar approach. The research not only covers particular linguistic phenomena in individual languages such as Japanese, English, French, and others, but also examines theoretical issues related to the development and improvement of cognitive linguistics.

Cognitive Semantics

With the Cognitive-Linguistic background, the course discusses the issues and problems with natural language semantics and pragmatics. We attempt to clarify how semantic interpretation works in the mind, examining relationships between form and meaning, and investigating inference function. The course aims, through exploration of semantic interpretation, to contribute to how human cognitive abilities and system function. We also attend to issues from linguistic typology and language acquisition including L2, having our sights set on how our cognitive understanding of semantics can shed a light on problems with those research fields.

Studies in Cognitive Rhetoric

This course explores a wide range of human cognitive mechanisms, focusing on meaning and rhetoric as phenomena deeply related to important aspects of human mental activity. Various mechanisms of meaning production, such as metaphor and metonymy, are studied from a cognitive linguistic perspective. We also focus on a diachronic linguistic study from the view of establishing new meaning production mechanisms. The course is designed to elucidate both the synchronic and diachronic dynamism, and further, pan-temporal dynamism, which integrates the two, from a cognitive linguistic framework.