Bachelor Degree in Philosophy, Social Anthropology, and/or Peace Studies:
AKADEMIA is an interdisciplinary degree program taught fully in English in the Faculty of Letters, Department of Humanities.

Interview with Professor Anne Mette Fisker-Nielsen, a core faculty members in the AKADEMIA degree program teaching Social Anthropology and Anthropology of Japan.

AKADEMIA stands for Art, Knowledge AnD English Major for the International Arena.

AKADEMIA is a unique academic program that at the most fundamental level considers the human problématique. That is, the way our thinking and attitude to others, to ourselves, to our social and ecological environment intertwine deeply with the kind of world we create. It is human beings that make that world, but it is education that makes humans. As part of the Faculty of Letters, Department of Humanities AKADEMIA offers an integrated and interdisciplinary undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Social-Cultural Anthropology, and Peace Studies. All core courses in AKADEMIA train students in critical thinking and a global outlook, as well as the skills of academic writing and public speaking with the aim of students becoming capable leaders for today’s world. Over the four years of study, students develop research skills, capacity for undertaking in-depth academic analyses in relation to contemporary social and global issues, and a consciousness of compassion, courage, and wisdom in line with the objectives of Value-Creation Pedagogy that aim to foster individuals who can create a sustainable world, and a human rights culture that can uphold human dignity and embrace diversity and difference in solidarity.


Students accepted into AKADEMIA take part in a core study program. As indicated in the list of courses below, this includes Comparative Cultures Anthropology, Anthropological Approaches to Contemporary Japan, Anthropology of Religion and Morality, Philosophy and Ethics including Buddhist-related studies, Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Ethics, as well as Peace Studies that focus on Concepts, Actors, and Modalities of Peace Processes, plus Peacebuilding and Development. Other features in AKADEMIA includes courses in Makiguchi Studies, Translation Studies, and the Environmental Humanities.


Students are taught in light of both historical contexts and the latest theory and research that foster understanding of the complexity of contemporary global issues particularly related to constructions of gender, ‘race’, diversity, difference, community, and ecological sustainability. These core AKADEMIA courses can be combined with a range of elective courses in social sciences, law, and economics offered in other faculties.

In Year 3 and Year 4 students enter their Major. These are seminar classes that are more advanced and specialized and span the disciplines of Philosophy, Social Anthropology, and Peace Studies. Students can choose to major in either Philosophy, Social Anthropology/Global Japan Studies, or Peace Studies, or to combine two or even three Major streams. In the last two terms of Year 4 they engage in their own Independent Research Project. Here students undertake relevant literature reviews on their chosen subject, and learn to conduct first-hand research such as ethnographic interviews. This research will serve as the basis for students’ graduation thesis.

AKADEMIA is taught fully in English and native or near-native level of English is required. A range of international students and Japanese students enter this unique program, which is designed to provide a progression of studies from basic to advanced and specialized level, combining philosophical, anthropological, and peace studies approaches to social studies relevant to our contemporary world.


To continue in the AKADEMIA program students must maintain a GPA of above 3.0. For international students developing their Japanese language skills to an advanced level, they can enter related classes in Japanese that span Sociology, Anthropology, Philosophy, History, Social Linguistics, Languages, Literary Studies. Students can also combine one of the AKADEMIA Majors with a Major in Japanese.

*Individuals need to complete 124 credits which should include a majority of the core AKADEMIA courses listed below.


If you have any inquiries, please feel free to contact either Dr. SungYong Lee sungyong@soka.ac.jp (Peace Studies); Dr. Ryo Chonabayashi cryo@soka.ac.jp (Philosophy); or Dr. AnneMette Fisker-Nielsen fanne@soka.ac.jp (Social Anthropology/Global Japan Studies). More information about course content can be found on the links below, as well as recent interviews with former students.


AKADEMIA Core Courses

Year 1 Introductory Level
Introduction to Humanities (2 credits)

Introduction to Soka AKADEMIA (4 credits)
Japanese language courses (2 credits each)

Year 1-2 Basic Level
Anthropological Approaches to Contemporary Japan (4 credits)
Comparative Cultures Anthropology (4 credits)
Philosophy I: Core Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology and Ethics (4 credits)
Philosophy II: Contemporary Philosophy and Buddhism (4 credits)
Introduction to Peace Studies I (4 credits)
Introduction to Peace Studies II (4 credits)
Value-Creation Education (2 credits)
Academic Foundations for Humanities (2 credits)
Academic Writing A and/or B (2 credits each)
Japanese language courses (2 credits each)

Year 2-4 Advanced Level (General)
Philosophy Metaethics (4 credits)
Anthropology of Religion and Morality (4 credits)
Peace Studies Workshop (4 credits)
Translation Studies (2 credits)

Year 3 Major Classes Advanced Level (Seminars in Humanities)
Seminar Major 1 & 2: Anthropology of Japan/Global Japan (4 credits)
Seminar Major 1 & 2: Philosophy (4 credits)
Seminar Major 1 & 2: Peace Studies (4 credits)

Year 4 Seminar classes and research graduation thesis
Seminar Major 3 & 4: choose one of three Majors (4 credits)
Independent Research Project I (2 credits)
Independent Research Project II (4 credits)
Advanced Joint Seminar for AKADEMIA (4 credits)


*Seminars in Humanities are specialized Majors which span Year 3 and Year 4. In these classes, students develop more in-depth, specialized knowledge. In Year 3 students can choose to take one or all three seminar classes depending on interest. In Year 4, students choose one of the seminar classes under which to write their graduation thesis (either Philosophy, Anthropology of Japan, or Peace Studies). During Year 4 students undertake their own research and in-depth study in a chosen area of interest, learn to develop a research design, conduct empirical research such as interviews and fieldwork, and write up a graduation dissertation of 10,000 words based on their own research conducted.

*Other language classes are available in the Faculty of Letters as elective courses. These include Chinese, Spanish, Korean, Russian, French, German and some ancient languages. Students can also continue to study Japanese to an advanced level, and can choose to combine one of the majors under AKADEMIA with a major conducted in Japanese.


Interview with Mariana Vilarraga Rodriquez (Colombia) AKADEMIA student

Interview with Andrew Valenti (Italy)AKADEMIA graduate 2024

Interview with Maggie Li (China)AKADEMIA graduate2022
Interview with Evan Short (Australia)AKADEMIA graduate2022

Other Elective Courses from the Faculty of International Liberal Arts

Basic Level

Principles of History (4 credits)
Principles of Philosophy (4 credits)
Principles of Sociology (4 credits)
Principles of International Relations (4 credits)
Principles of Politics and Globalization (4 credits)


Advanced Level

Global Ethics (4 credits)
Non-Profit Organizations and Public Sector (4 credits)
Sociology of Globalization (4 credits)
Comparative Politics (4 credits)


Fernanda Hiromi Shimabukuro, 2nd Year AKADEMIA student

My name is Fernanda and I’m from Brazil. I’m 20 years old and I just completed my second year in the Faculty of Letters.


Why did you choose the Faculty of Letters? What is attractive about AKAKEMIA for you?

I chose the Faculty of Letters, specifically at Soka University, because I was interested in the broad umbrella of academic subjects within the Humanities that is offered by this

faculty. Usually in Brazil, the Letters Program tends to be more related to language and

literature courses only. However I saw that at Soka University the Faculty of Letters had subjects ranging from, of course, language and literature, but also sociology, anthropolo-gy, philosophy, and many more subjects. That sparked my interest, mainly because I believe that Humanities subjects have a lot of interlaps with one another, and this multidiscipli-nary structure allows students to have a wider range of approaches and perspectives to tackle ideas. In my eyes, that is also the main attractive feature of AKADEMIA, studying a    mix of Anthropology, Philosophy, and Peace Studies provides an opportunity to reflect on

issues and concepts with a lot of depth and humanity.


What has been your experience studying in AKADEMIA?

I have enjoyed studying in AKADEMIA. While it can be challenging that all academic subjects within AKADEMIA require a lot of reading, and it might also give off the impression that those subjects are theoretical with little practical application. However, I feel that AKADEMIA helps students to grow through building connections between what is studied and their own lives. Issues explored within classes do not have clear-cut answers and require you to engage with your worldviews, perspectives, dogmas, the way you were raised, the ideas   surrounding you, the media you consume, the people you know, the environment of the university, your own life experiences, and so on.


For example, in Anthropology we often use theories such as that of Michel Foucault’s concept of power and discourse to understand certain attitudes toward gender, race, etc. While no theory is of course, capable of giving a simple straightforward explanation as to why  

society is set the way it is, it engages with how our thinking is formed, why we give legitimacy to certain ideas, who benefits from those ideas, and so on. I feel like I have learned a lot and enjoyed the opportunity to engage more critically with how I think. In summary, it has been fun. 


What are your plans after graduating?

As of now, I do not have a set plan, however, I have always enjoyed reading and writing so in the future I would like to work in the publishing industry. I also considering pursuing a Masters degree. I will not go back to Brazil right after graduating as I want to gather some career experience working in Japan.  


What would you recommend to new students thinking of applying to AKADEMIA?

Liking to read and write is not a requirement, but it does make life a lot easier if they are planning to enter Letters and thinking of applying to AKADEMIA. Evaluation is often focused on written work rather than tests, so I think that style suits a profile who prefers open-ended questions, discussion, and connecting a wide range of issues in more complex ways rather than someone who is more black-and-white in their outlook. So my advice would be to think about whether or not that fits their interests and likes and apply accordingly.