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Message from the Dean of the Graduate School of Language and Culture

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Shigeo Kimira, Dean, Graduate School of Language and Culture

Osaka University Graduate School of Language and Culture (GSLC) was established in April 1989 as the first independent graduate school in the field, and as an extension of its predecessor, the Department of Language and Culture, Osaka University, founded in 1974. In April 2005, the department was completely dismantled, as part of a major restructuring and expansion effort, and all academic staff were transferred to GSLC. In line with the consolidation of Osaka University and Osaka University of Foreign Studies (OUFS) in October 2007, the GSLC created two major programs: “Studies in Language and Culture” on the Toyonaka Campus, which underwent another curriculum restructuring, and “Studies in Language and Society” on the Minoh Campus, to take over from the Graduate School of Language and Society of OUFS. At this time, 50 or so academic staff from OUFS were assigned to the Research Institute for World Languages on the Minoh Campus (RIWL), which was absorbed into the GSLC in April 2012. Following this, Studies in Language and Society was restructured and expanded, and Studies in Japanese Language and Culture was newly added, resulting in the forming of the current organization of three major programs.
Through this structural consolidation, relations between the GSLC and the School of Foreign Studies underwent greater clarification, and the GSLC became clearly positioned as the graduate school to provide education and administration of the School. As stated above, the GSLC has keenly developed its systems for educational research and administration over the last quarter of a century, in response to the changing trends and needs of the times.
In our modern world of globalization and informatization, it is important to understand and respect the languages and cultures of different regions and different races, as all together they form international society. Through dedicated study in such fields, we are able to seek mutual understanding in a variety of areas, such as politics, economy, culture and advanced science and technology. For these reasons, it is inevitable that we should acquire language skills that will enable us to communicate beyond the differences of mother tongues and cultures, gain a deep insight into different cultures, and develop skills to help convey our gained knowledge through various information methods. The GSLC is aiming at structuring systems of educational research to meet the immediate demands of modern society, and foster individuals who will be able to create the future international society through learning in its academic environment.
After its structural consolidation in 2012, the GSLC has been developing and conducting a wide variety of educational research efforts in response to the diversified demands and expectations from both the academic and social sectors. We are committed to educational research into the languages and cultures of various regions with 24 representative languages in the Studies in Language and Society program; pursue the essence of the study area from both interdisciplinary and theoretical viewpoints in the Studies in Language and Culture program; and examine Japanese language and culture from an international viewpoint to help cultivate individuals who can communicate the knowledge acquired here to the world in the Studies in Japanese Language and Culture program.
We have managed to anticipate overcoming a number of challenges thus far, in order to fully display the abilities of the GSLC. One problem we have already confronted is having three programs spread over the two campuses in Toyonaka and Minoh, which caused difficulties in cooperation among the three and the development of a concrete language education system jointly operated by teachers. However, despite such restrictions, the GSLC continues to strive for further advancement through efforts by academic staff and graduate students of the three programs, and by forging stronger ties with the School of Foreign Studies. We truly appreciate the support and understanding from both inside and outside the university in this regard.

April 2014

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