3. The Naked Emperor

Having woven sumptuous clothes that only special people can see, the weaver reverently offers up his finished cloth. The Emperor gravely bedecks himself in the garments and triumphantly walks through the streets of the city. A little boy, unaware of the circumstances, cries out, “The Emperor has nothing on!,” and on hearing these words, the grown-ups are brought to accept the reality of the Emperor’s nudity. This is a famous fable.

To say “ASAFAS is a naked Emperor” certainly is “blasphemous,” yet metaphorically speaking, the comparison might reflect the School’s situation rather accurately. ASAFAS was set up with the aim of becoming Japan’s leading research and educational center of area studies on Asia and Africa, in other words with the aim of becoming an Emperor. However as we faculty members realize more than anyone else, the Emperor is naked. What this means is that the Graduate School does not yet possess its own integrated building. At present, education and research are carried out in four separate buildings scattered over the campus. In order to facilitate the exchange of knowledge among faculty members and students with divergent disciplinary backgrounds and area interests, which is the aim of the Graduate School, we would like to wear not separate clothes but a one-piece suit, so that we might appear properly clothed and function accordingly. This is the wish of us who aim to be an Emperor, and, academic endeavors aside, it is currently the most important objective that we are striving towards.

ASAFAS at present is scattered in four buildings.

KATO Tsuyoshi
Doing Fieldwork on the Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies

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