Many Japanese universities are making unprecedented efforts to welcome students from overseas who would like to study language and culture in Japan for a year or a semester.
A number of universities, both public and private, are offering new courses of study based on the Western academic calendar--from September or October to May or June--rather than the traditional Japanese academic calendar, in which the school year begins in April.
The list below describes some of these new programs geared particularly toward international students from the West, along with more traditional programs to which US students can apply.
Transfer of credits sometimes continues to present a challenge, but students who start their planning early and consult with both their home institution and their prospective host school should be able to arrange solutions. Likewise, opportunities for scholarships and other forms of financial aid often are available for international students, through individual institutions in Japan or through the Japan Students Services Organization (http://www.jasso.go.jp/index_e.html).
Aichi Shukutoku University
Aichi Shukutoku University, located about half an hour by public transportation from the center of Nagoya, accepts up to 30 students each year for its program in Japanese studies, which combines language study (at levels ranging from beginning to near-native speaker equivalence) with courses in Japanese arts and culture. The 9-month program follows the American school calendar, with an academic year of two semesters running from September through May.
Small classes (no more than 10 students per class) convene daily for language study at one of 6 levels based on skill and previous study of Japanese. Classroom study is supplemented by laboratory time, workshops, and a weekly individual counseling session with instructors. Courses in arts and culture include Readings in Japanese Literature, Japanese Culture, International Culture, Calligraphy, Flower Arrangement, and Japanese Word Processing.
Housing options for students include a dormitory with furnished single rooms and kitchen facilities, and a homestay program. Apartment accommodations can also be arranged, at higher cost.
ASU is a private university offering graduate and undergraduate degrees in Japanese language and literature, English language and literature, library science, and communication. International students who complete the Japanese Studies Program at the higher levels of language proficiency and wish to continue their studies in ASU's undergraduate program can be admitted without taking the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.
Akita International University (AIU)
Akita International University (AIU or in Japanese Kokusai Kyoyo Daigaku) is a Liberal Arts university, a Public University Corporation which opened in 2004 supported by Akita Prefectural Government, with a student population of over 700. Located in Akita on the northern seaboard of the main island of Japan, AIU provides international students with a variety of opportunities to experience Japan (its language, people, culture and society) via university classes, as well as through structured activities outside of the classroom.
The course of study includes Japanese language education as well as a wide range of courses in Global Studies and Global Business. Introductory to advanced level Japanese language and some Japan Studies courses are offered in Japanese through regular semester programs as well as in a special Summer Program (a 6-week intensive Japanese language program).
Among Japanese universities, AIU is a leader in many ways: for example, almost all courses are taught in English; there is an excellent student/faculty ratio, and the library and computer laboratory are open around the clock. All of these are rare at Japanese universities
AIU has a Japanese Language Teaching Practices Program in the Graduate School of Global Communication and Language. This program is designed to cultivate Japanese language teachers who are capable of teaching Japanese language at educational institutions in Japan and overseas and who will achieve an advanced specialized knowledge of the field. Students in this program will obtain knowledge of current teaching methods, enhance their skills in developing curricula, and learn about issues related to teaching language and culture.
AIU's use of rolling admissions allows the student to start either in the Fall (September) or in the Spring (April) semester, and international students live in an on-campus dormitory together with Japanese students who are eager to learn about different cultures and to share their knowledge of Japan. International students come from more than 20 countries and regions, making for a creative and exciting learning environment on campus. Students have several options when studying at AIU: a non degree-seeking program on a semester basis, a four-year undergraduate degree program, a short-term Intensive Summer Program, or the professional graduate school.
Chiba University is one of Japan's prestigious national universities. The university is composed of approximately 1200 academic staff members, 14,600 undergraduate and graduate students, and 600 international students. The main campus is in Nishi Chiba, less than one hour by train from the center of Tokyo. All Japan Program at Chiba (J-PAC) classes are held at the Nishi Chiba campus.
J-PAC is a program which allows international students to study humanities, social sciences, engineering, and natural sciences in English for six to twelve months at Chiba University. The program also allows beginning speakers of Japanese to increase their language abilities. Students who are proficient in Japanese may also register for regular courses which are taught in Japanese.
J-PAC provides opportunities for internships for students in natural science and engineering classes. The internships are voluntary and last one or two weeks during school vacations. For internships which are far from the Nishi Chiba campus, accommodations are provided.
The fall semester runs from October to mid-February with a two-week winter break. Spring semester runs from April to late July. To be eligible for the program, students should have completed at least one year of undergraduate course work and must be enrolled in an institution of higher education which has an inter-university exchange agreement with Chiba University. Such agreement will allow for credit transfer and a waiver of all tuition and application and registration fees. Students also must agree to return to their home institutions upon completion of J-PAC. J-PAC will accept 20 undergraduate students per year, including ten in social sciences and humanities and ten in engineering and natural science. Applications are due in early March for admission in October.
J-PAC students are eligible to apply for AIEJ scholarships, which cover round-trip airfare, a one-time settling-in allowance. Chiba University has an international house in which single rooms with a bed, desk, kitchenette, shower. The international house is in Inage, which is one train stop from the university.
Chubu University, located in a regional city 30 minutes north of Nagoya, offers international students two programs for improving Japanese language skills: an intensive course of preparation for admission to a Japanese university, and a less rigorous Study Abroad program of language and culture classes.
Japanese Language and Culture Program language classes are offered at three levels: Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced. Each international student is teamed up with a conversation partner from the university's Japanese student body, and spends time each week talking with the partner and other students. Extracurricular activities and field trips are planned for international students.
The university year is divided into two semesters, one beginning in April and the other in October. Admission to the Japanese Language and Culture Program can begin in either semester.
The university helps students to arrange home stay housing and obtain visas.
Applications for the fall semester are accepted from March 1 to June 30;for the spring semester, applications are accepted from September 1 to November 15.
For further information or application forms, visit the website at http://www.chubu.ac.jp/english/index.html.
International students in Chuo University's Short-term Study Program take courses or conduct research at Chuo for one semester or one year as an integral part of their degree program at their home institutions. Credits are transferable, and participants are placed as full-time non-degree students at a specific undergraduate faculty or graduate school corresponding to their major at their home institutions. Generally, the participants are exchange students accepted under exchange agreements between Chuo University and its partner institutions. In the U.S., these are: American University, Benedictine University, Carleton College, Maryville College, Tulane University School of Law, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The Short-term Study Program aims at developing international students' understanding of Japan--its language, culture, people, and society-- through experiences in a real-life situation both on- and off-campus. Exchange students from partner institutions are eligible to apply for the AIEJ Short-term Student Exchange Promotion Program Scholarships. For further information, visit the university's website at http://www2.chuo-u.ac.jp/global/.
Doshisha University, located next to the old Imperial Palace in Kyoto, has established the Intensive Japanese Language Program for its exchange students and students who are planning to attend Japanese universities. The program offers three levels of 20-hour Japanese language courses in the morning from Monday through Friday for about 26 weeks over two semesters. In the afternoon, content courses are offered on Japan, Japanese society and culture, etc., in Japanese, English, German, Spanish, and Chinese.
Program and course descriptions and information on admissions are available on the website. Some housing and scholarships are available to overseas students. Doshisha has exchange agreements with a number of North American universities, including eight campuses of the University of California, fifteen private colleges which are members of the Associated Kyoto Program consortium, and the University of Victoria. Students at those institutions should apply through their study-abroad offices; other students may apply directly to Doshisha. For a complete list of exchange programs, see the Doshisha website.
Hiroshima University, one of the leading national universities in Japan, is located near the city of Hiroshima, known as the International Peace City. Students in Hiroshima University's Study Abroad Program (HUSA) are integrated into various faculties and classes within the university to ensure greater exposure to Japanese university life.
HUSA accepts full-time undergraduate students from partner schools with mutually established exchange program. U.S. schools currently under the program are: Florida State University, University of Maryland, and University of Minnesota. The program offers either a semester or a year program, both beginning in October. A total of thirty international students are accepted annually and are also eligible to apply for AIEJ scholarships.
The program offers four different categories of courses: 1) Special Courses, available only to HUSA program students and taught in English; 2) Regular Courses, taught in English and open to any student (foreign or Japanese); 3) Japanese Language and Studies Courses. The level of language course taken will be determined by a placement test. 4) Other Courses. HUSA students with adequate levels of language proficiency are eligible to take any other regular course offered on campus and transfer credits to home institutions.
Hokkaido University's Short-term Exchange Program (HUSTEP) is designed to give students from overseas an opportunity to study at Hokkaido University by enrolling in a special one-year academic program. This is a new program in which students from overseas enroll as special auditors in courses taught in English. The program is offered under the provisions of Inter-University Academic Exchange Agreements concluded between Hokkaido University and counterpart institutions abroad. U.S. institutions with agreements are Portland State University, University of Massachusetts, Cornell University, University of Alaska, and University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Students wishing to participate in HUSTEP must in principle have completed two years of undergraduate study (or have junior standing) at their own university prior to arrival in Japan. Japanese language ability is not required to participate in HUSTEP. Courses will be offered in Japanese culture and society, environmental studies and crop biology of the northern regions, contemporary engineering in Japan, medicine, and Japanese language studies. Practical field training opportunities are especially rich in courses pertaining to environmental studies and crop biology of the northern regions including Hokkaido, Northeast Eurasia and the North Pacific.
For further information, visit the university's website at http://www.hokudai.ac.jp/en/.
Josai International University
Josai International University, located In Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo's Narita International Airport, accepts overseas students to its programs in humanities, management and information science, Japanese studies, and inter-cultural studies. In addition to Japanese language courses, the university offers a curriculum in English on such subjects as Japanese society, literature, and cultural history. A new program in the Department of International Exchange Studies offers students bilingual training leading toward careers in international relations and exchange. For further information on programs and admissions, visit the university's website at http://www.jiu.ac.jp/englishsite/index.html.
Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa prefecture, is one of the largest cities on the coast of the Japan Sea, with a population of over 460,000. Kanazawa University's Student Exchange Program (KUSEP) was founded to provide Japanese language education and lectures in English on Japanese affairs and culture and various other fields of specialization for students from overseas universities affiliated with Kanazawa University. U.S. affiliations are: University of Pennsylvania, State University of New York at Buffalo, College of William and Mary, and Tufts University.
Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students who have completed their second year, or full-time graduate students who belong to an affiliated university. It is advisable to have taken more than 150 hours of Japanese language instruction before coming to Kanazawa to ensure a smooth adjustment to life in Japan. The basic length of the program is one year; however, enrollment for only one semester is also possible. Twenty exchange students are admitted annually; admission is in October and April.
For further information, go to the website http://www.kanazawa-u.ac.jp/e/.
Kansai Gaidai University
Kansai Gaidai was established in 1945, and has worked since its inception to promote international education. Kansai Gaidai has exchange agreements with 193 colleges and universities in 23 countries, including 124 in the United States. The university is located in Hirakata, which is between the industrial metropolis of Osaka and the classical cities of Kyoto and Nara, presenting many opportunities for field trips to learn about Japan's culture and business.
The Asian Studies Program accepts over 400 international students annually. The program's focus is providing students with knowledge of the culture and language of Japan. While previous study of Japanese is not required, it is encouraged. The program includes courses relating to Japan and Asia in humanities, social sciences, business, and economics. All non-language courses are taught in English and are designed to meet upper-level requirements of regular undergraduate programs so that credits can be transferred.
The Asian Studies Program follows the American school calendar with two sessions per year: from September to December and January to May. The program is designed to be year-long, but students may also enroll for one semester.
For more information see the Kansai Gaidai web site at http://www.kansaigaidai.ac.jp/asp/
University of Tokyo, Komaba
The University of Tokyo (a national university) was established in 1877. There are currently 7800 faculty members, 27,300 students, and 1700 foreign researchers affiliated with the university. The University of Tokyo has academic exchange agreements with 140 schools in 34 countries, including 30 universities and colleges in the United States.
Abroad in Komaba (AIKOM) offers mutual tuition wavers and credit transfers to overseas students' home schools. No prior study of Japanese language is required because special English lectures are given, and Japanese-language classes are offered through AIKOM.
AIKOM is a one-year study abroad program for undergraduate students. The academic year begins April 1 and ends March 31. AIKOM students may elect to take special courses in English, regular courses in English (open to all University of Tokyo students), Japanese language courses (Level I-III), or regular courses in Japanese or other languages in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Full-semester courses covering specific topics related to Japan, such as language, literature, politics, and socio-economics are offered to all AIKOM students. For students who have other interests, independent study is also an option. Classes which have been offered in the past include "Japan in a Changing World," "Redefining Japanese Culture," "Performing Japan: An Introduction to Japanese Theater Culture," "Japanese Aesthetic Philosophy," and "Japanese Politics and International Relations."
The Komaba campus of the University of Tokyo has an international lodge, where foreign researchers and international students may choose to live.
For more information, visit the Komaba campus wesite at http://park.itc.u-tokyo.ac.jp/aikom/eng/what.html
Intensive Japanese Program at Kyoto Seika University (KSU)
Kyoto Seika University offers an individually-designed Japanese language program for student groups from overseas universities and colleges. This program is designed flexibly according to the needs of the home institution, which chooses both the duration of the program and the time of year when it is held. The duration may be less than one month, or up to three months if required. Japanese language instructors work with students to create original Japanese lessons that are responsive to specific needs. In addition to language, this program includes cultural activities such as hands-on calligraphy experience and selected field trips introducing the rich heritage of Kyoto.
For further information, visit the website at http://www.kyoto-seika.ac.jp/eng/index.htm.
Established in 1911, Kyushu University was the first national university to create a short-term study abroad program, Japan in Today's World, that allows international students to use English as the medium of instruction in a variety of multi-disciplinary classes.
Students can choose to study for a year (October to July) or for a semester (October to February, or April to July). Students are housed in university dormitories, but short-term host family visits can be arranged.
Kyushu University has direct exchange agreements with Berea College in Kentucky, Duke University, Princeton University, Rice University, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Yale University, in addition to numerous other universities in Asia and Europe.
A six-week summer program, Asia In Today's World, is also offered, which has attracted undergraduate and graduate students from the top universities in the US, Belgium, the UK, Sweden, China, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Application forms and information for applicants can be obtained on the Web or from the International Student Center. For more information, please contact:
Kyushu University International Student Center:
Japan in Today's World:
Asia in Today's World:
Meiji Gakuin University
Meiji Gakuin University, a private institution first established by Protestant missionaries in 1877, with campuses in Tokyo and Yokohama, is continuing a long tradition of welcoming overseas students that began before World War II. It has exchange agreements with a dozen universities around the world, including four in North America: Simon Fraser University, the University of California, Long Island University, and Hope College (Michigan). The International Student Program offers Japanese language courses at several levels as well as a variety of courses taught in English on Japanese and Asian culture, literature, politics, and economics; students with sufficient language background may also take classes taught in Japanese on Japan's history, technology, and science. Classes are held on both the Yokohama and Tokyo campuses, to give students access to both libraries and to faculty members in both locations. International students normally register for a minimum of 12 credits per semester, of which 4 are in Japanese language study. The Spring semester runs from April to July; the Fall semester, from September to January.
Application deadlines for the International Student Program are April 1 for the Fall semester and November 15 for the Spring semester. Application materials and further information on courses to be offered during the 1999 academic year can be obtained from the Bridging Project Clearinghouse or from the Center for International Cooperation in Education, Meiji Gakuin University, 1-2-37 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108, Japan. Students enrolled in institutions with which Meiji Gakuin has an exchange program should submit application materials to the study-abroad office on their campus; other students should send them directly to Meiji Gakuin at the above address. For more information, please see the Meiji Gakuin web site: http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/english/inform.htm.