Education ProgramEducation Program

Creative thought comes from emerging from one’s specialty

Students participating in the International Graduate Program in Japanese Studies deepen their research by placing their specialist field in one of the three academic domains (courses) of “Representation”, “Material” and “Empathy”. Simultaneously, they also broaden their learning through organic and integrated connection of their own specialist field with the other two domains (courses). Through this, we create a new form of Japanese Studies, and foster the creative research capabilities which take into account contemporary issues.

Specifically, in addition to the conventional research method which focusses on literature, we adopt methods which make excellent use of images and data. By doing so, we broaden logical thinking capabilities, and foster intelligence which has intuitiveness with sensibility and rich power of imagination. This is an important point of the program’s education. Through such education, we adhere to the principle perspective of the humanities and social sciences, that is, the perspective which aims for human happiness and the continuity of a peaceful society. We foster the ability to discover contemporary issues and suggest solutions, through steady and flexible thinking power.

For this reason, on this program, we protect individual academic domains, and respect the traditional methods which research them deeply. While doing so, more than anything, we place importance on the horizontal relationship which crosses fields and regions. Compared with conventional methods, which conduct empirical and causal explanations based on written material, we place equal, or even more importance, on image materials. We do not only rely on empirical proof, rather, we use concepts which have conventionally stayed on the outer edge of academia, namely, imaginative power and leaps forward. This enables the formation of a “character” which is suitable for the global society. Through this, by connecting the Eastern and Western worlds dynamically, we can understand that wide-ranging mutual exchange, which stretches to the sensibility of each domain, has been taking place, and that Asian culture had deep involvement in the formation of global society. The horizon which has become a blind spot from the perspective of Western culture will be seen clearly.

Four pillars for human resource development

To achieve the aim of human resource development, this program comprises four pillars.
The first pillar is the Methodology course. In this course, lectures are given in both the characteristics which make up this Japanese Studies program, which are Japanese Studies as regional research, and Japanese Studies as viewpoint and methodology.

The second pillar is overseas study of at least six months. To develop the powers of insight to see the areas that have been conventional blind spots, it is important to approach common issues while confirming one’s place. Through such overseas training, which involves stepping out into the world, students can experience the diversity of academic approaches, and by doing so, clearly understand their own position. At the same time, in order to develop and progress, they should understand that it is essential to form an academic network. Brainstorming sessions are formed through such networks, and by belonging to these, one can discover problems by oneself, and develop as an autonomous researcher who can explore ways to solutions. By competing with others in a harsh competitive environment, human resources with a sense of responsibility and mission to contribute to the happiness of the world begin to be fostered.

The third pillar is the group of courses offered on this program. In the International Graduate Program in Japanese Studies, educational research of conventional academic fields is entrusted to the existing research faculty, and wholehearted efforts are made to create new domains. In the creation of new domains, it is essential to cross fields and integrate domains. For this reason, graduate students on the Master’s program study one of the following as a foundation course: Representation CC (fields such as art and performing arts and their history, cultural history, anthropology, and archaeology, in which images comprises the main form of materials), Empathy CC(fields such as linguistics, thought and philosophy, history, literature and its history, and religion, in which words and literature comprise the main form of materials) and Material CC(fields such as politics, economics, management, sociology, behavioral science, and psychology, in which data comprise the main form of materials). On the Doctoral program, students study these as practical subjects.

The fourth pillar is the learning of academic English. In the current global situation, English ability is essential in order to listen to others, and also as a means of communication to present and discuss. The Communication course, which is centered on teaching by a native speaker, is effective in improving this skill.

The finishing touch to this educational program which comprises these four pillars is the writing of a doctoral thesis through a double degree system. A degree acquired at Tohoku University is proof of the ability to conduct work in Japan and other Asian countries, however, it is not always a pass to Western countries. To move beyond Japan and conduct work in other countries in the world, certification which is applicable in Western society is required. In order to achieve this, gaining a double degree at an affiliated university is an effective method.


Type of person who is developed

A leader who can find the problems in contemporary society, and study and put into practice ways to solve them.

Anticipated paths after graduation

Contribution to the improvement in Japan’s position by providing countries of the world with human resources who have an understanding of Japanese viewpoint and methodology.

  • Fields which are required to conduct academic research and specialist education into Japan and related regions, and to communicate the results to society in a manner which is easy to understand

    Domestic and overseas universities
    and research institutions
  • Fields which are required to further advance public diplomacy (Diplomatic activities which involve direct work with people from overseas and public opinion, through publicity and cultural exchange)

    National and regional information
    agencies and publicity organizations
  • Fields which require enhancement of corporate trustworthiness, based on Japanese manufacturing culture.

    Global corporations
  • Fields which will require further situation awareness and analysis backed by understanding of others and wide-ranging knowledge, with various direct activities in the background

    International agencies, NGOs

Progression of the program

After entering the Graduate School on a two-year Master’s program in one of the departments of the faculty, selected applicants  will enter the program in their second year. From this point, master students in the program are eligible for study support through research assistant expenses, and doctoral students are eligible for a stipend for the entire period of the three-year Doctoral program.

Student support

Students accepted into this program receive financial allowance as research assistants (during the master program) and an academic stipend (during the doctoral course). Additionally, expenses are provided for overseas training. The doctoral period of study at an overseas university, which lasts at least six months, is a key feature of this program.

Research assistant expenses・Incentive stipend
Two-year Master’s Program Year 2 (M2) Approximately 1 .5 million yen for the year
Three-year Doctoral Program Years 1–3 (D1-D3) Approximately 2.4 million yen per year
Overseas study expenses
Overseas research expenses (travel expenses) for the Doctoral Program Approximately 250,000 yen