The Modern Japanese Studies Program (MJSP) was established at Hokkaido University (HU) in response to the changing role of Japanese universities in the 21st century, which includes diversification of channels for overseas study, promotion of measures to encourage international students to remain and pursue careers in Japan, international standardization of higher education, and related quality assurance. HU invites applications to MJSP from students worldwide who have a command of English and an interest in the society and culture of modern Japan. The program provides Japanese-language teaching and specialized education designed to help such students gain in-depth understanding of modern Japan’s society and culture via a bachelor’s degree program.
The objective of MJSP is to foster the development of well-educated future global leaders with in-depth understanding of and support for Japanese society based on a strong command of Japanese. Such individuals are expected to play an active part in connecting Japan with the rest of the world in their roles as true partners of Japan both domestically and internationally. MJSP graduates will be generalists with wide-ranging knowledge, and will have transcultural perspectives and interests in line with the basic building blocks of society under the university’s four philosophies: Frontier Spirit, Global Perspectives, All-round Education and Practical Learning. Particular focus is placed on the development of true partners of Japan – people who have advanced Japanese communication skills, a multi-faceted organic approach to cross-cultural understanding, and expert knowledge and abilities according to their individual interests regarding various aspects of modern Japan encompassing thought, culture, history and institutions.
The specific abilities required to graduate from MJSP (the degree conferral standards) are outlined below based on the model future leaders described above. Students who have developed the requisite abilities and acquired the necessary credits will receive the Degree of Bachelor in the Field of Japanese Studies.
To achieve the educational objectives outlined above, students on MJSP will acquire a good command of Japanese and learn about the significance and characteristics of the thought, culture, history and institutions of modern Japan. They will also consider the future of relations between Japan and the rest of the world in today’s modern, globalized society. In this regard, emphasis is placed on motivating students to develop the following knowledge and abilities:
1) Japanese proficiency – students will learn the fundamentals of reading, writing, listening and speaking in Japanese, and will develop the ability to use Japanese for research and other activities in their fields of specialization.
2) Multi-faceted knowledge about modern Japan – students will acquire knowledge in English about the thought, culture, history, institutions and other aspects of Japan, which serve as the foundations for modern Japanese studies. They will also develop professional expertise in literature, education, law, political science, economics and other fields in Japanese.
3) The ability to think from an international perspective – while learning with their Japanese peers, students will come to clearly understand the similarities and differences between their cultures/lifestyles and those of Japan, and will develop cognitive ability that will support well-balanced judgments on today’s complex social issues.
4) Understanding cultural identity in Hokkaido – students will consider the diversity of Japanese society by engaging in academic pursuits in Hokkaido, which has an ecological and multicultural environment different to other parts of Japan in terms of natural features, indigenous people’s culture and other aspects of life.
5) The drive to help develop new relations between Japan and the rest of the world – rather than simply becoming fluent in the Japanese language, students will receive a thorough education in the country’s literature, history, education, law, politics, economy and other aspects, and will develop a detailed understanding of its society and culture. They will also have a strong drive to help serve as a bridge between Japan and other countries.