Mission and Development


“If that’s the case, the difference between a wise man and a fool is one of learning and one of not learning.”

Fukuzawa Yukichi, An Encouragement of Learning
, first edition

    The mission of the Keio Research Center for the Liberal Arts
  • (1)Research to define “liberal arts”
  • (2)Practical application of education in order to learn “liberal arts”
  • (3)Pursuit of methods to realize liberal arts research and the liberal arts education
Fukuzawa Yukichi, in his very persuasive language, advocated the necessity of learning to many people. In doing so, Fukuzawa clearly stated that, “The title of this book might be an encouragement of learning but that doesn’t mean I am encouraging you just to read the words” (An Encouragement of Learning second edition). He underscored the necessity of “learning” under a broad meaning that included social, practical, and physical knowledge, not just book study. When Fukuzawa said “learning,” he may have been stating things that are useful to society and individuals (liberal arts), and that Encouragement of Learning meant that he was recommending that this be actively learnt. However, the way by which “liberal arts” = “learning” has had set its goal definitely. Although it may be something absolutely necessary for human beings, there is still no one who can clearly answer the questions: “What are the liberal arts?” “What roles does liberal arts play?”, or “What are the liberal arts needed for?” Consequently, no definite knowledge is being acquired on truly effective contemporary liberal arts. The mission of the Research Center for Liberal arts is to conduct liberal arts research, practically apply liberal arts, and explore both liberal arts research and the necessary and effective methods for liberal arts research and education.

Research-related projects

This center conducts fundamental research into liberal arts and publishes the results as research-related projects. As previously stated, the advancement of research into the liberal arts derives from the current understanding that definitive answers on liberal arts have not yet been obtained. However, liberal arts research, practical application of education, and the exploration of methodologies is not forming a hierarchical pyramid. Instead the relation of those factors should be thought of as a multi-layered image, like a palimpsest with mutual transparency. For example, it is expected that research will be reflected in education and guide methodologies, while education may be a subject of research to certify the effects of methodologies. Furthermore, methodologies themselves may be one form of liberal arts to be studied and taught. At this center, we want research, education, and methodologies to be explored in parallel. Thus, this is the form of learning, and the way of the university.

Projects related to educational development

We contribute to the development of the liberal arts by offering classes with original content transcending the traditional boundaries of undergraduate and graduate schools. Having conducted extensive research on liberal arts education, we provide a large number of courses that have developed into endowed courses from experimental classes.

Exchange and cooperation projects

The most important feature of the liberal arts is the ability to form connections. Exchange and collaboration are its core essence. The liberal arts give us, in the present, the ability to receive and appreciate the heritage imparted to us by those in the past through their research, thoughts, and creations. It also provides an opportunity for peers from different backgrounds to exchange and refine ideas with one another. Exchange and collaboration are thus both the means and ends of the liberal arts.