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Indebtedness towards Germany

Tatsuro Hanada
Professor, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences

There are words for "learning", "academism", and "research" Japanese. There are the words "science" and "research" in English. However, the German word "wissenschaft" feels the best to me. I think of myself more as a "wissenschaftler" than as a scholar or researcher. If you were to translate all of these words, there would probably be very little difference. However, words possess something known as a "sense of language" or "a physical sensation".

The reason that I think in this way is that I received academic training in (West) Germany and gained recognition of myself as a wissenschaftler. After graduating from Waseda University and spending about four years as a working professional, I "dropped out" of Japan. I had a one-way ticket with no intention of returning to Japan. I studied German and entered the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. When the remaining balance in my bank account was approaching zero, I was saved by scholarship money from the state government. It was necessary for me to post good grades in order to receive an extension on my scholarship, so I studied with a passion. My mind began to work in German, or stated more exactly, my was changed to a way of thinking that was expressed through German. At the same time, the sensation of objectifying Japanese became stronger. I came into contact with many people through language and I began to enjoy such interactions.

11 years later, I was forced to return to Japan for a reason. I became a wissenschaftler who researches media. In 1992, 6 years after I returned to Japan, I was summoned to the University of Tokyo at the same time that the Social Information Research Institute was created. Personally, it was my dream to create a second coming of the Frankfurt Social Research Institute (a research institute where scholars with relation to "critical theory" gathered both before and after World War II) in Tokio (German for Tokyo), and I received an invitation to this very task. I put the theories of political economy and public sphere into my toolbox and worked to strengthen media studies as part of critical social science research.

Eventually, I came into contact with the field of cultural studies which was rising out of England. In England, there was a question of whether cultural studies should be married or divorced from political economy. In 1996, I staged a major symposium entitled "A Dialogue with Cultural Studies". I had a dream of connecting Frankfurt, Birmingham, and Tokio. However, the conclusion of this symposium was horrible for me on a personal level. I tasted terrible defeat and humiliation. At the time, I wished that I had never attempted such a task. I also learned that one must not dream too easily. In the following years, I remained silent in Japan about cultural studies.

Two years later, I stuck my neck into the theme of journalist education. I did this because I felt it was necessary to systemize such an education program within Japanese universities. I made an attempt to do so through a new concept as part of a new media structure. I recalled that when I traveled to Germany in 1975, the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the University of Dortmund had started such a program as a pilot project. I sought to connect my program with the projects of those universities.

At the same time, I kept a secret thought to myself. To me, journalist education is the implementation of cultural studies. I would absolutely never speak of cultural studies, but I would meld cultural studies into an education project that sought to effect a change in reciprocal recognition within interaction between oneself and others. 3 years ago, I came to Waseda University and have since strived to develop "cultivators of the public sphere" within more favorable conditions. I am now exerting my energy towards the Journalism Course as a minor for undergraduate students. The system of theme studies at the Open Education Center has made this possible. The idea of students with an interest in journalism gathering from all different graduate schools is truly interesting. Everyone is excited and moral is high.

My hobby is going to public bath houses. As I gaze vaguely at the history of experience carved into the faces of the men of varying ages around me, I let my memory drift to the joys and sorrows that I experienced in Germany. I feel that I must unceasingly pursue the Germany which strengthened and tempered me. The thing that I missed most when I was in Germany was public bath houses. Now, as I soak in those very baths, I think of my indebtedness towards Germany. And I search for my next dream.

Tatsuro Hanada
Professor, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences

Graduated from the Waseda University Faculty of Political Science and Economics, Department of Political Science in 1971. Completed graduate school at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Became Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo Social Information Research Institute (formerly the Newspaper Research Institute) in 1992. At the same institute, became Professor in 1995 and then Director in 2003. Became Professor and Director of the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies in 2004. Served on the University of Tokyo Advisory Committee from 2003 to 2005. Has served as Professor in the Waseda University Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences since April 2006.