The Area Studies Program at Ritsumeikan University, located in the ancient capital city of Kyoto, Japan, consists of two undergraduate majors: geography and regional tourism. Students who enroll in this program learn the basic concepts of “area” and the foundations of geography, tourism, history, and literature of Kyoto in their freshman year. The first-year program is designed to prepare students for advanced academic studies in the major beginning in the second year.
The objective is to provide students with a thorough understanding of regionally specific phenomena, regardless of domestic and international matters. Its targets include natural (environmental) and humanistic phenomena. Area studies will progress in accordance with globalization. A detailed understanding of global and local matters has enhanced intercultural collaborations and cross-fertilization. In particular, fieldwork in area studies significantly contributes to the identification of regionally specific phenomena and mechanisms. Observations in the field, as well as data analyses conducted while sitting at a desk, enable researchers to influence regionally specific phenomena in powerful ways. Therefore, the two majors of the Area Studies Program emphasize education and research that introduce fieldwork. Graduates of this program gain the ability to identify regionally specific characteristics and issues related to their major. Moreover, they acquire the ability and skills to solve contemporary social problems in the global, regional, and local contexts by introducing various cutting-edge methods.