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The Prospects for Reform in Academic GovernanceUeyama Takahiro

Japanese universities are being called on to further reform their old-fashioned managerial style. What are the real barriers to academic reform? Keiō University Professor Ueyama Takahiro explores the question.

University of Tokyo Strives to Raise its Global ProfileEgawa Masako

The University of Tokyo (UTokyo) is consistently ranked among the world’s top universities. But far from resting on its laurels, UTokyo is doing its utmost to raise its global competitiveness. This article looks at some of its recent initiatives toward that end.

Globalization and Higher Education Reforms in Japan: The Obstacles to Greater International CompetitivenessAmano Ikuo

Japan’s universities have experienced a huge number of systemic and organizational reforms over the last 20 years. Amano Ikuo, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, looks back on the origins of the reforms as a response to globalization and ahead to the problems that still need to be addressed.

Will the International Baccalaureate Take Off in Japan?Iwasaki Kumiko

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program has emerged as a centerpiece of educational reforms designed to equip Japanese citizens for leadership roles in a global economy. But can Japan’s notoriously inflexible education system accommodate a curriculum designed in the West and taught in English?

One Hundred Bags of Rice: Investing in Japan’s FutureHosoda Haruko

Japan is currently undergoing a period of transformation that ranks alongside the Meiji Restoration and the changes that followed defeat in World War II as a defining moment in its modern history. Despite this, our university system still concentrates almost exclusively on the kind of practical skills that will be of immediate use to students once they enter the working world. As a result, many st…

Criticizing Youth Will Not Make Them Go AbroadAndrew Horvat

A report earlier this year that the number of Japanese students at US universities had dipped below 20,000 for the first time in a quarter century unleashed a flood of articles lamenting an alleged decline in interest among young Japanese in the world around them. One newspaper carried the headline “Students staying in Japan,” while a commentator writing earlier about the same phenomenon stated…

Anatomy of Japanese BullyingSugimori Shinkichi

School bullying takes on many forms and remains a pervasive aspect of youth around the world. In Japan, highly publicized incidents of bullying continue to shock society, with a government survey showing an ongoing increase in reported cases. Sugimori Shinkichi discusses the cultural and socioeconomic factors behind the epidemic and what adults can do to contain it.

Is Too Much Riding on the National Achievement Test?Hayakawa Nobuo

In April 2012, Japan’s national achievement test was held for the first time in two years. The examination was first introduced as a response to rising criticism of the “room-to-grow” educational policy, called yutori kyōiku in Japanese (yutori meaning “relaxed” or “pressure-free”). Critics of that policy argued that competition was a necessary ingredient for raising students’ academic performance…

Beyond the Myth of the Economic SuperpowerTanaka Naoki

As the Japanese struggle to formulate a viable growth strategy for the twenty-first century, economic analyst Tanaka Naoki urges them to forget everything they were told about the sources of Japanese economic supremacy during the years of rapid growth.

Thoughts on Martial Arts, Education, and ValuesKōno Yoshinori

A new guideline requiring martial arts instruction in Japanese junior high schools has provoked considerable controversy on safety grounds. Taking a historical and philosophical perspective, martial arts instructor and scholar Kōno Yoshinori challenges the very premises of the government’s policy.

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