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It doesn’t have to be about increasing their “global competitiveness.”

In 2015, Japanese and international media broke news of the impending demise of the humanities in Japan’s national universities. The education minister had apparently ordered university administrations to abolish humanities departments or “convert them to serve areas that better meet society’s needs.” Following a domestic and international backlash, however, government officials appeared to backtrack; the humanities would not be axed. Like a certain bewigged British monarch, they remain destined to be a long time a-dying.

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