Research Plan

I. Research content

1. Research title:
A Topic-Setting Program to Advance Cutting-Edge Humanities and Social Sciences Research (Global Initiatives)
International Comparative Research on How to Adapt Nation-State Oriented University History Education to the Era of Globalization

2. Institution: Osaka University

3. Representative: Kazuaki Tsutsumi, professor, Graduate School of Letters

4. Research objectives and significance:
(1) [Awareness of the issues] To our knowledge, the fundamental issues addressed in this research are common to all East Asian countries. In the era of globalization, the fork is widening between the traditionally high level of history study and the popular interest in history, on the one hand, and the limitations of history education and research, on the other. For many years, the latter were conducted within a nation-state framework. We argue that a nation-state orientation has serious limitations because it separates the teaching of the history of a given country from its important connections with world history. In the case of Japanese universities, moreover, there is the risk that teacher training will not be able to bridge this divide before the launch of the Integrated History high-school course to be introduced from FY2022. For the first time in the history of high school education since the Meiji Restoration, this compulsory course aims to integrate Japanese history and world history as a basis for further study of history in the era of globalization. Another limitation of the current practice of history education—even in the field of world history—is that it is generally designed solely for the citizens of a single country, and in most cases research results are publicized and education is conducted only in that country’s native language.
University history education requires that students read and understand historical primary materials. Considering concerns for quality standards in education, using methods such as dismantling the three-tier structure of teaching and research (Japanese, Eastern, and Western history), or the common method of introducing English-language education, is no solution. Instead, it is necessary to create an outlook that is sufficiently flexible to connect and integrate local, national, regional, and global perspectives as well as non-spatial networks. While most of teachers and researchers are expected to use English at a basic level of proficiency, building an environment and capabilities for activities using several languages (including simplified Japanese that is easier to understand for non-native speakers) may also be necessary. The methods need to be adjusted to subjects and participants.

(2) [Research objectives]


This research aims to better adapt the content and methods of university history education to the era of globalization. To that end, we will undertake the following three initiatives as a collaborative project of the history education and research network in global history and area studies at Osaka University, as well as in cooperation with Shizuoka University and Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University [APU] and its affiliate members:
(a) We will survey and compare the content of reforms in history education and related debates at various types of university in East Asia, and draw on additional cases for comparisons.
(b) Based on this information, we will conduct trial classes with the aim of improving faculty development in the areas of general education and specialized education, as well as in teacher training programs. We also aim at connecting and integrating the contents of Japanese and world history. Moreover, we will sequentially design multilingual class models, including Japanese, English, Asian languages, and other languages as required. Our aim is to devise sample curricula setting out how multilingual transnational history education might look like. In addition, by learning from high school-university collaboration, we will draw up practical reports based on conducting research classes and experiments; such practical experience rarely informs Japanese university education outside of general education.
(c) Our project aims to establish a permanent network through the international promotion of the results of both (a) and (b), as well as by fostering international cooperation through internships and the participation in program planning by young researchers.

(3) [Significance of this research] The significance of the research lies in its potential to coordinate and strengthen initiatives that are currently merely conducted in an individual and rather incoherent manner, and to globalize our initiative making the best use of what the historical academia in Japan has achieved. Specific initiatives include the following:
(a) Education and research on “global history” in the broad sense, effectively connecting and integrating a given country’s history with world history;
(b) Exploring methodologies and human resource development to enable teaching that integrates a given country’s history with world history by fully drawing on the relevant languages and by using an approach that properly positions Asia and Japan in global contexts and constitutes an alternative to Western-centered historical views;
(c) For the first time, a Japanese history education website will be sharing information in Japanese, English, and other languages, as applicable.
These are important because the aforementioned issues are common to East Asia. For such issues, Japanese ordinary practice of adopting advanced methods from the West without consideration of the social and cultural differences between Japan and the West is not effective. Another ordinary practice of “East Asian” cooperation limited to Japan, China, and South Korea (ignoring other countries in the region), is also hardly appropriate because it usually lacks understanding of cultural spheres other than the West and that using Chinese characters. The novelty of the present research lies not least in fully incorporating research on and in countries concerned in East Asia with that in Southeast Asian countries and advanced Western nations. In doing so, the project should have the potential to contribute to the promotion of the study of history. This will allow both research and education to build on comparisons with world history and the relevant debates in international academic circles. Such an approach can even be beneficial to research on Japanese history not only in its foreign relations but also in domestic research areas.

5. Research contents and methods:
International comparative research (in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Inner Asia, and other Asian locations) will be conducted in history education at university level on the basis of our past research results in both global history and area studies. The project also establishes connections between universities and domestic high schools, etc. On this basis, we aim to develop novel educational methods, including by integrating Japanese and world history and by introducing multilingual teaching. The project will support young researchers and promote the international transmission of information in diverse formats, including in planning classes outside Japan.
Apart from the members of the research project (see II.1.), we will hire designated researchers and establish a Secretariat with the members to organize and supervise the overall research. We will also hold a General Meeting approximately twice a year to determine and adjust policies. We will build on our established links of cooperation with researchers in South Korea, China, Vietnam, Singapore, the United States, Australia, and other countries in the fields of history education and global history research.
We will carry out research activities in the two areas specified below, and also publicize and share information about these activities through our website and other mediums. For these activities, we will proactively engage young researchers, including designated researchers, in our planning.

(1) Comparative research on history education reform:
[Survey items]: We endeavor to obtain maximum results by researching the following topics in comparison to Osaka University: relationships between national history, inter-regional history, and world history, in curricula and course content and difficulties in their formulation; implications for diploma policies and teacher training; questions of the diversification of teaching methods, including the introduction of English and other languages; the deployment of assistants for the above; programs for junior researchers and faculty development; class research and evaluation; etc.
[Survey method]: We will carry out a literature review of prior research and case studies and conduct online and document surveys and onsite surveys at cooperating universities with class development groups, etc.

(2) Class model development and trial runs:
The following two types of class development will take place, including in cooperation between Osaka University and other universities.
First, lectures and teaching exercises will integrate Japanese history with world history. Because teacher training is essential in order to introduce the Integrated History course in high schools, we will base our model on the experience of Osaka University, including the World History for Citizens lecture in the General Education Course.
Second, we will test diverse formats in cooperation with the School of Foreign Studies to introduce English and various other languages in lectures and seminar courses, including Japanese and Asian history. The class development measures outlined above will utilize existing research bodies, namely the Osaka University History Education Project, the Kaiiki Ajiashi Kenkyūkai (the Research Group on Asian Maritime History or Kaiikiken), the Central Eurasian Studies Forum, and the Global History Seminar. The objective is to conduct research, carry out evaluations, and assess faculty development with the help of the formats of practical reports and subject research activities in secondary education. We also hope to discuss matters such as new curriculum concepts to develop classes and class research methods ensuing from this research.

6. Research plan for each fiscal year:
(FY2016)
Our First General Meeting with the members of the research project (see II.1.) will determine objectives and responsibilities. We will establish a Secretariat centered on members in charge of publicity and information sharing, comparative research, and class development (respectively, under the direction of professors Fujikawa, Tsutsumi, and Momoki), and consider the overall control structure, specific operational methods, and the division of roles in the project. Aiming at public visibility and information sharing, we will commence building a contact network and website. We will launch the website by including an English-language version of the [originally Japanese] research plan to facilitate access to our research for non-Japanese researchers.
Regarding research content, we will examine available publications and academic papers on the major themes and objectives identified under (1) and (2) above, as well as data on university quality assurance, student competency, and abilities in historical thinking. We will also extract and organize the principal questions arising from this research. For (1), we will also select survey items for the overseas and domestic surveys for the next fiscal year.

(FY2017)
(1) Comparative research on history education reform:
The relevant initiatives of overseas universities will be assessed mainly through the circulation of documents and email correspondence, but also include visits to some universities. The collected material will also help compare practices at the Japanese university and high school levels.

(2) Class model development and trial runs:
We will implement classes connecting and integrating Japanese history and world history, and examine and evaluate these classes using high school-university collaboration. In addition, the use of interpreters in classes and research meetings should help participants who are not proficient in English; we will also use existing formats of foreign book reading seminar course. (The syllabi for each fiscal year are established in the autumn of the preceding year; but we will nonetheless start with trial runs, where feasible.).
Our aim, moreover, is to prepare reports and conduct class research, including at collaborative high school-university research meetings and global history seminars. The results will be presented at two General Meetings (in summer and winter) which will also discuss future policies. Overseas researchers will participate in both meetings and our members will conduct onsite surveys at universities outside Japan. Young researchers (university students and postdocs) will participate in these activities in addition to team members of the project. These young researchers will also take part in domestic university initiatives of project members; approximately five young researchers will be sent on overseas trips, and, if possible, participate in summer seminars and classes.
* Starting this fiscal year, we will employ designated researchers who will assist in running the Secretariat.
* For purposes of outreach and information sharing, we will post activities under (1) and (2) on the website. We aim to update information on our activities regularly on the website, in both Japanese and English, including with regard to high school-university collaboration and university education; where required, information will also be posted in other languages.

(FY2018)
(1) Comparative research on history education reform:
Our activities will focus on onsite surveys at universities in South Korea, China, and Vietnam, among others. In addition to addressing general topics such as the relationship between the respective country’s history, world history, and Asian history—as well as discussing the question of the language in which research results should be presented—we hope to survey human resource development and discuss measures regarding translation and interpretation.

(2) Class model development and trial runs:
As in the previous year, we will conduct classes connecting and integrating Japanese and world history, and will familiarize students with the use of English in discussing Japanese and Asian history. In addition, we will conduct trial runs of classes combining English, Japanese, and the language of the target region for Burmese history, Swedish history, and other fields as necessary, in the School of Letters, School of Foreign Studies, etc. Drawing on the expertise of specialists in Japanese-language education, we will attempt to achieve mutual understanding between international students, teachers, and Japanese students participating in these classes with the help of easy-to-understand Japanese (without making concessions on the level of content).
* As in the previous fiscal year, we will report regularly on the above results and participate in research discussions at research society meetings. We will also hold General Meetings in May and in winter. In order to discuss the new university history education that is the objective of our research, we will organize a panel at the Fourth Asian Association of World Historians (AAWH) Congress in Changchun, China, in August. The Chinese university survey will be conducted at this university.
* Young researchers will participate in planning the aforementioned activities, both within and outside Japan. We will send approximately five young researchers overseas.
* For the purpose of publicity and information sharing, we will post the aforementioned research results, related documents, teaching materials, etc., on our website.

(FY2019)
(1) Comparative research on history education reform:
(2) Class model development and trial runs:
Research on the topics under (1) and (2) is ongoing, and we aim to summarize the project by the summer. We will increase the breadth of classes by offering multilingual classes using Vietnamese. In the comparative research under (1), we will also focus on peculiarities of cases in European countries, the U.S., Australia, and elsewhere that tend to be subsumed under the overarching category of “the West.” Furthermore, we will highlight the characteristics of as well as differences between Asian regions (East Asia, including Japan, China, and South Korea; Southeast Asia; Inner Asia; etc.). There is a fascinating diversity in Southeast Asia; for example, Vietnam is highly impacted by the nation-state model that resembles the East Asian model, while Singapore is not a nation-state and strongly influenced by the West.  Under (2) we will strive for an analysis that enables bidirectional initiatives—instead of promoting the unidirectional improvement of Japanese education and research modeled on foreign countries.
* In the first half of the fiscal year, we will report our results at the Meeting of the Association for High School-University Collaboration in History Education, a domestic organization. We will use this platform to promote our results in Japan.
* The final symposium (of approximately three days) will be held in August. The aim is to summarize the results and determine a policy for publishing these results (several methods are under consideration, including a special issue of the Asian Review of World Histories [the AAWH’s magazine], the publication of a multilingual book, etc.). We will also discuss possibilities for cooperation after the conclusion of the present research project, among others with the aim to ensure the maintenance of the website, the continuation of overseas internships for young researchers, and the organization of summer seminars in Osaka.
* To further outreach and information sharing in addition to the website, we will consider and implement methods to enable bidirectional communication such as blogging.

7. Research period:
February 2017 – September 2019


II. Research structure

Research project team


III. Research schedule

FY2016

FY2017

FY2018

FY2019