Human Life Studies

Social Sciences and Family Studies

Child-Rearing, Families, Consumers, Welfare, and Gender Studies
Clarifying Socioeconomic Problems and Proposing Solutions from the Perspectives of Ordinary People

A variety of problems are occurring around us.
Problems related to the family are too numerous to list completely, and include increasing numbers of temporary workers and other forms of irregular employment, employment problems during economic recessions, the healthcare and elderly care systems of societies with declining birthrates and aging populations, and the question of what to do about social and economic divides.

We focus on social and economic problems from the perspectives of ordinary people, including problems related to families, women, the elderly, education, consumers, and other aspects of life.

Students consider problem-solving methods based on interdisciplinary analyses from the perspectives of law, political science, economics, and other social sciences.

Objective: From the Basics of Social Science to Applications and Interdisciplinary Research

The goal of this department is complete mastery of everything from the basics to applications of law, political science, economics, and sociology. Courses start from the specific problems that lurk in everyday life while fostering the ability to deeply analyze problems in a multifaceted fashion. For instance, let us consider the issue of support for child-rearing. The findings of sociology are necessary to clarify the optimal family and social environment for raising children. The issue of covering the costs of paying for actual services is an economic one, and considering the rule-of-law implications and systems that must be implemented is the job of law and political science. In this way, the department cultivates a multifaceted and interdisciplinary perspective in students so that they can consider the problems that surround us.

Career paths for graduates include national and regional civil service, education, financial institutions, media, manufacturing, and a wide range of other fields.

Features: Small Classes Centered on Seminars and Practical Training

The curriculum is designed to prioritize fostering the ability in students to investigate, think, present, and debate for themselves. Students master the basics of law, political science, economics, and sociology in lectures and seminars with small class sizes to acquire skills including reasoning, deductive reading, investigating, writing, presenting, and debating. In addition to classes about observing and analyzing actual society through investigation, reading of literature and documentation, and fieldwork, students also have the opportunity to take complete practical training courses that teach data analysis using computers and other methods of social investigation.

Third- and fourth-year students select seminars, conduct full-fledged research into a theme of their choosing, and summarize the results in their graduation theses. Excellent research papers are awarded prizes (the Social Sciences and Family Studies Research Society Prize and the Kakeikai Prize). Come on an intellectual adventure with us.

Family Sociology

Students learn about various topics related to families from a sociological perspective, including sociological theories, methodologies, cohabitation, spouse choice, declining birthrates, marriage, divorce, remarriage, pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, and child-rearing.

Social Welfare

Students consider the directions that should be taken by welfare societies by studying systems and mechanisms for providing services, the employment environments of welfare specialists, the relationship between social welfare, social value, and culture, and other topics.

Consumer Economics

Students research various problems involving consumers from an economic standpoint (consumer protection, monopolies and oligopolies, healthcare and nursing care, the environment, distribution, etc.), and master the economic fundamentals required for social life.

Introduction to Labor Economics

Students consider the advantages and disadvantages inherent in the Japanese system of developing human resources with a focus on the gender divide issue, including outlooks for employment, family relationships inside the home, job transfers, overtime work, and employment customs.

Everyday Economics

Students seek to clarify how work and life should interact for people to live well and independently for their entire lives, as well as seeking methods for “living well” in the future.

Politics and Social Life

Students reassess various problems that occur between the dichotomy of “private life” (the self) and “politics” (the public) as established in modern political science, from the standpoints of ordinary citizens.

Citizens and the Law

Students discuss topics such as basic judicial precedents in constitutional law, civic law, and criminal law from the perspectives of ordinary people. Students form groups, select judicial representatives, investigate and present decisions and related doctrines, and debate these topics with the rest of the class.

Family Law

Students broadly analyze specific case studies in family law of various countries in order to attain basic knowledge in the field, starting with the issues facing family law in modern Japanese society.

Cultural Historical Studies

Our main interest is to research the various cultural phenomena in our daily lives from past to present in an interdisciplinary approach.  

The Department of Cultural Historical Studies aimes to explore the things and phenomena that impact our lives from historical viewpoints.

This department targets all aspects of the culture that affects our lives, such as food, clothing, housing, design, feng shui, love, marriage, and philosophies regarding family and the household. Students are expected to foster intelligence and sensitivity to solve the problems caused by the complicated interests, and to survive in the society today by seeking the “philosophy of living”.

Objective: Polishing intelligence and sensitivity necessary to investigate into living life.

Culture starts as a part of everyday life. To make our lives better, we need to inherit and develop various different values. The department’s four-year curriculum is carefully designed for students to acquire the wide range of knowledge to discover the various problems in modern life as well as to solve them.

The classes of the department capture everyday culture from all times and places using a variety of method from various viewpoints, focusing on art and literature, Japanese and Western culture, the home, crafts, clothing, and children.

After graduation students find jobs at private corporations, public organizations, art museums, academic sectors, and in other occupations as people who can contribute to the cultural exchange between Japan and other countries.

Features: Learning through Familiar Themes and Experiences

Students learn the foundations of Cultural Historical Studies by taking basic courses in folklore, cultural comparison theory, the history of fashion, and childcare theory. Furthermore, there are compulsory lecture courses that teach methods for analyzing and interpreting documents in order to deepen the student’s understanding of each field. In the seminars that start in the third year, students learn methods for interpreting literature and illustrated materials, and expand their viewpoints on culture in everyday life by reading Western research papers and other writings. Since class sizes are small, the department offers a highly concentrated form of education.

Another feature is the study of Cultural Historical Studies through practical physical training. Through hands-on work in clothing culture, students actually create Japanese or Western clothes, thereby attaining a deep understanding of the field.

Students also can enjoy many other opportunities to experience everyday culture through fieldwork, visiting museums and art galleries, etc.

Introduction to Child Studiesca

Provides a close and interdisciplinary perspective on child studies. At the campus area, there are Ochanomizu University Kindergarten which was founded as the first kindergarten in Japanese history, Izumi Nursery (an on-campus daycare center for infants) and the Bunkyo-ku Municipal Ochanomizu University Center for Early Childhood Education and Care (established in 2016). This course introduces students to these three facilities and teaches about childcare.


Students learn about Japanese culture with an emphasis on the culture and folklore of ordinary people in everyday life, including the family, food, clothing, and housing, as well as the New Year’s holiday, the Bon festival, and other annual events, wedding ceremonies, funerals, and other life rituals, folk religion, old tales, and legends.

Seminar on Cultural Study of Clothes

Students learn methods of analyzing the materials that are the foundation of the history of fashion research in terms of Western clothing. Students explore the unique sensibility of each era through literature and illustrated materials.

Using Documents in History of Costume

An overview of the history of Western clothing from ancient times to the modern era, centered on illustrated materials. Students attain an understanding of the forms and characteristics of clothing in each era.

Seminar on Comparative Culture

Considers the relationship between life and art in modern Japan from the perspective of comparative culture theory.

Basic Seminar on History of Japanese Costume

Students explore the changing values of people in the Meiji era and onward in terms of clothing and clothing lifestyles through concrete examples and objects.

Historical Folk Culture (1) (2)

Considers from the perspectives of folklore and culture anthropology how humans perceive the spaces in which they live, and how they built cities, towns, and homes. In particular, this course discusses Japan’s adoption of feng shui.