ASAFAS (Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies) aims to foster pioneering area studies researchers and practitioners equipped with a deep understanding of Asian and African areas and a global and interdisciplinary perspective. Within the prescribed period of enrollment, students are expected to acquire specialized knowledge of Asian and African areas, and to develop the abilities to identify a research topic from a holistic area studies perspective incorporating humanity-science interdisciplinary and cross-area comparative approaches; to address that research topic through self-directed fieldwork utilizing foreign language proficiencies, communication skills, and logical thinking ability; and to present the findings of their research. Also essential are the high ethical standards and strong sense of responsibility demanded of independently active researchers and practitioners.
ASAFAS alumni play active roles as pioneering area studies researchers equipped with a global and interdisciplinary perspective, and as promising global professionals in various fields of industry, government, and academia as well as international and non-governmental organizations. The acquisition of broad-ranging specialized knowledge, the ability to identify and solve problems, advanced communication skills, high ethical standards, and a strong sense of responsibility are all essential to achieve profound understanding of the rapidly-changing areas of Asia and Africa, and to tackle the complex problems therein.
To be eligible for conferral of Doctor degree of Area Studies, students must be enrolled in the ASAFAS for the prescribed term, complete the subjects prescribed for the five-year integrated doctoral program, obtain the standard number of course credits (40 or more), pass the pre-doctoral thesis review and examination with research guidance, and pass the doctoral dissertation review and examination. The following four standards are employed in the doctoral dissertation review and examination: 1) the dissertation in question demonstrates innovation, creativity, originality, and logical clarity and constitutes an outstanding scholarly contribution to Asian and African area studies; 2) the dissertation applicant possesses a breadth and depth of scholarly insight in area studies and high-level specialist knowledge; 3) the dissertation applicant has acquired the experience, applied capacity, and communication skills to take an active role as a global professional; 4) the dissertation applicant demonstrates high ethical standards and a strong sense of responsibility in research activity. All four of these conditions must be satisfied in order to qualify for degree conferral.
The following four standards are employed in the pre-doctoral thesis review and examination: 1) the pre-doctoral thesis demonstrates logical clarity and high scholarly significance in Asian and African area studies; 2) the thesis applicant possesses broad-ranging scholarly insight and specialist knowledge in area studies; 3) the thesis applicant has acquired the experience and communication skills to take an active role as a global professional; and 4) the thesis applicant demonstrates high ethical standards and a strong sense of responsibility in research activity. All four of these conditions must be satisfied in order to qualify for degree conferral. Those who pass the pre-doctoral thesis review and examination and complete the standard number of credits (30 or more) may on the basis of their application be awarded the Master degree of Area Studies.
ASAFAS (Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies) offers a five-year integrated doctoral program comprising lectures and seminars taken in accordance with curriculum maps, in which students acquire broad-ranging specialized knowledge and research techniques and formulate their own research topics. Self-directed fieldwork and research supervision by a team of faculty supervisors equip each student with the ability to address research topics and the ability to think logically, as well as high ethical standards and a strong sense of responsibility toward their research. The ultimate aim is to complete a doctoral dissertation that has high academic significance and demonstrates superior innovation, creativity, and originality.
Lectures and seminars are composed of courses common to all divisions and subjects offered within each division, which familiarize students with fundamental problems in area studies and approaches to them, and equip them with a broad-ranging specialist knowledge of Asian and African areas. These subjects also cultivate a holistic area studies perspective incorporating humanity-science interdisciplinary and cross-area comparative approaches. ASAFAS also places emphasis on the acquisition of proficiency in local languages necessary to undertake fieldwork in Asian and African areas. It offers inter-division common courses in languages including Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Hindi, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Swahili, and Amharic, encouraging students to improve their communicative skills.
Research seminars involve guidance based on in-depth interactive debate, with a view to encouraging students to pursue original thinking and develop the ability to conduct research independently. In Guided research of each division, students discuss their research with supervisors in associated fields, honing their own awareness of problems as they pursue their fieldwork and address their research topics. Students present and discuss their fieldwork data and findings in seminars held within each division, cultivating their capacity to identify and address research topics. They also present their research findings in forums such as academic conferences and workshops within Japan and abroad, as well as lectures attended by members of the general public. These presentations expose students to a broad range of opinions and perspectives, enhance their interdisciplinary knowledge, and equip them with the ability to present their findings in the form of academic journal papers and books as well as with communication skills as researchers and practitioners. Learning outcomes in each curricular subject are assessed through written reports, seminar presentations, ongoing class performance, periodic examinations, and other means, and objectives to be attained are set out in the syllabus of each subject.
In addition to taking these curricular subjects and receiving research guidance from their supervisors, students undertake self-directed fieldwork leading to the production of a pre-doctoral thesis and, ultimately, a doctoral dissertation. High ethical standards and a strong sense of responsibility as researchers and practitioners are cultivated through research supervision and put into practice in fieldwork. Students’ acquisition of high ethical standards is confirmed through interactive tutorials with their supervisors conducted prior to production of the pre-doctoral thesis and doctoral dissertation.
The educational goal of ASAFAS (Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies) is to foster pioneering area studies researchers and practitioners equipped with a deep understanding of Asian and African areas and a global and interdisciplinary perspective. In accordance with this goal, applicants for admission to ASAFAS are expected to demonstrate: 1) comprehensive fundamental academic abilities and global perspectives; 2) strong intellectual interest in the natural environments and societies of Asian and African areas; 3) the flexible thinking and language proficiencies required to undertake fieldwork; 4) the ability to identify and address research problems as well as the ability to think logically; and 5) the qualities needed to develop the communicative abilities, ethical standards, and sense of responsibility demanded for researchers and practitioners. With the view that exchanges among students from diverse backgrounds cultivate rich human character and broaden the perspectives of research, we also welcome applicants who have worked and/or experienced volunteer activities in Asian and African areas. With a view toward increasing our contributions to the global community, as well as toward strengthening academic exchange with Asian and African areas, we actively accept international students as well.
Students entering ASAFAS are expected to have foundational knowledge in their respective fields of specialization and an understanding of the natural and social characteristics of Asian and African areas, as these provide the starting points for international and interdisciplinary area studies. Proficiency in the English language is also essential for comprehending prior academic literature, presenting research findings, and engaging in international joint research. In order to confirm that applicants possess these fundamental academic abilities, we conduct academic assessments comprising a written examination (specialist subject and English) at the first stage, and an oral examination at the second stage, then make a comprehensive judgment on whether or not to admit each applicant. In the oral examination, we refer to materials such as applicants’ university (undergraduate) academic transcripts and application form (reasons for applying and research proposal) to assess their aptitude for area studies.