Message from the Dean


Dean, School of Japan Studies


Congratulations on your acceptance to TUFS and welcome to the brand new School of Japan Studies.

This School has three major distinguishing characteristics.

First, in our School you will learn about Japan as one region of the world and will examine Japan’s culture and history from the diverse perspectives of society, literature and culture, language, and language education. Your objective will be to re-examine the conventional views of Japan through these various perspectives and their respective research methods. As you attended our classes and come in contact with classmates with diverse backgrounds, you will undoubtedly find your preconceived images of Japan crumbling. Our hope is that you will rebuild your perceptions of Japan on the basis of the objective knowledge you will acquire here.

Second, this School uses both Japanese and English. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies is currently increasing the number of classes taught in English. Our School is taking a clear lead in this endeavor by requiring all of our students to take five compulsory classes taught in English. We also offer a number of other classes taught in English. At the same time, the study of Japan will require a high level of ability in reading and interpreting texts written in Japanese. It will not be enough for you simply to know English. Your graduation thesis may be written in either English or Japanese, but even if you choose to write your thesis in English, you will still need to be able to read and understand primary sources written in Japanese, as well as summarize and present your research findings in Japanese.

Third, in our School, Japanese and international students will study together and work on projects together. This will involve much more than simply attending classes together. You will work with your classmates on problem-solving projects and through this process you will be expected to develop the skills needed to debate with people of diverse backgrounds to bring issues to resolution. With the exception of the Japanese language classes, all classes in this school will be attended by both Japanese and international students. We do not offer a separate course of study restricted to international students.

There has been a recent trend among other universities to create similar new schools and courses for Japan studies, but we feel the founding principles explained above make our School of Japan Studies unique.

Tokyo University of Foreign Studies has offered an educational environment for both Japanese and international students since we created our first Japanese language course back in 1985. We also offer institutions with the experience and knowhow to provide educational support for exchange students and other international students. Our School represents a new undertaking firmly rooted in this tradition.

We have laid the groundwork, but it will be you, our students, who will define how this new School will grow and what kind of character it will develop. Much depends on your success and we look forward to having you join us as we move forward on this new venture.