Undergraduate Faculty / Graduate School

Culture and Representation

As the name “Culture and Representation” implies, this course is both a section within OCU and an approach to research on culture. While of course all areas of research in the humanities are concerned with the “cultures” created by human beings in some way, Culture and Representation takes a stance that differs from conventional cultural studies in certain ways as detailed below.

1.Perspectives on transnational cultural dynamism

In conventional fields of academic inquiry in the humanities such as English literature, German literature, French literature, Chinese literature, and Japanese literature, the linguistic and cultural spheres on which it depends primarily serve as frameworks that demarcate different areas of research. This approach to cultural studies based on national languages implicitly presupposes the framework of the modern nation-state and relies on normative cultural concepts associated with the canon or classical literature of the national culture. However, today’s globalization has brought about an increase in the mobility of the individuals and groups who manifest a given culture, creating a dynamism of cultural production that lies beyond the scope of the conventional nation-state framework. Culture and Representation by no means excludes the study of cultural phenomena that are limited to within a specific linguistic or cultural sphere; however, one of the significant features of this approach is that it enables us to adopt a perspective that allows research across multiple linguistic and cultural spheres. This position derives from research that has been conducted thus far in the form of comparative cultural and comparative literature studies. We aim to update and develop these existing areas of research while actively absorbing influences from diverse theories that consider the dynamics of transnational culture.

2.Perspectives on diverse forms of expression

In conventional fields within the humanities, cultural activities formed by language have become the central object of research as texts. In contrast, Culture and Representation extends the scope of these objects of analysis beyond cultural expressions based on language to include cultural phenomena that depend on all kinds of media including images, sounds, and physical expressions. However, this does not mean that forms of expression based on writing do not constitute a central object of research. This approach has some overlap with the intended meaning of the term “representational culture,” which has been widely used in recent years. This perspective on these diverse forms of representation also includes a comparative approach. For example, the approach used by Culture and Representation would include comparative studies of expressive and perceptual forms, thus examining the differences between novels and games, or theater and film.

3.Perspectives on popular culture phenomena

As already mentioned, conventional cultural studies have been premised on normative cultural concepts (the canon or classical texts of a national culture) alongside the concept of the nation-state. In this way, the conventional humanities have accorded privilege to objects that are essentially regarded as “high culture” or “art.” In this respect, Culture and Representation seeks to expand the objects and approaches of research; this means that phenomena such as subcultures, pop cultures, fashions, advertisements, and physical expressions, which have been overlooked as cultural objects by conventional humanities, become important objects of research. We also explore suitable methodologies for considering such objects. Thus, Culture and Representation is deeply connected to the perspective adopted by cultural studies. However, our approach also does not exclude the study of what is considered to be “high culture” if it is approached in terms of representation.

4.Contemporary and theoretical perspectives

Another important feature of Culture and Representation is that cultural phenomena with a certain degree of historicity are not simply studied as a thing of the past; rather, they are examined with a perspective that seeks to connect them to contemporary reality. In this sense, contemporary critical and cultural theories are not only considered as something that one must always return to from a research standpoint but also become objects of research in and of themselves.

5. Culture and Representation Classes

Students in the master’s program in Culture and Representation take the modules Advanced Studies in Culture and Representation and Advanced Studies and Seminar in Culture and Representation. In these classes, students study and discuss works and theories based on faculty members’ areas of expertise. Master’s program students will also take classes in other disciplines, as they acquire the knowledge necessary for writing their master’s thesis. Lectures taught by part-time lecturers are also available, providing students with the opportunity to learn in fields not covered by faculty staff. Doctoral students primarily work on independent research with supervision by faculty staff. Doctoral students will typically present their research at academic conferences and write papers for academic journals, working toward completing their doctoral theses. All graduate students participate in the module Comprehensive Studies in Culture and Representation, which provides an opportunity for them to report on their individual research topics. All members of the faculty staff participate in this class and advise individual graduate students on their research, thereby ensuring that students receive supervision from multiple staff members.

6.Career paths following graduation

Many alumni of the master’s program go on to find employment at general companies, teaching at academic institutions, or in the public sector. Others choose to proceed to the doctoral program. Students who have completed the doctoral program go on to postdoctoral positions with the aim of working in research or to work for organizations such as NPOs.

If you are considering to do your postgraduate study, please feel free to contact the faculty staff by email.
The email addresses of the relevant staff members can be found on this page.



Professor Noriyuki Nozue Professor Noriyuki Nozue deals with cultural theory of the late 19th Century, namely, the body, sexuality, and artistic expressions.
Professor Youko Takashima Professor Youko Takashima focuses on comparative literature and comparative culture, i.e., comparative cultural research on folk tales and folklore (especially, fairy tales).
Professor Satoshi Masuda Professor Satoshi Masuda is associated with popular music research, popular culture research, and cultural ownership theory (copyright, authorship theory, etc.).
Associate Professor Takeshi Ebine Associate Professor Takeshi Ebine deals with cultural theory, film theory, German studies, and representational culture theory.


Culture and Representation The Culture and Representation course publishes a peer-reviewed journal Culture and Representation as an academic journal that presents research findings on culture and representation from faculty staff and graduate students. Culture and Representation is available in the OCU’s institutional repository.