Tokyo is a global cultural hub, bustling with life and pulsating with a unique energy. When one thinks of Japan, images of cutting-edge technology and scientific research come to the fore, but this image is always balanced out by a sense of Japan’s rich culture, history, and artistry that runs through the character of Tokyo today. Although universities in Tokyo are known for their outstanding programs in the sciences, such as in engineering, IT, and physics, Tokyo is also a great place to pursue one’s research and establish one’s career in fields such as cultural studies, art, and design. As Japan continues its pursuit to internationalize, more universities are now offering degrees in these fields where English is the medium of instruction. Let’s look at some of these English-language graduate courses (Master’s and Doctorate Level) offered by universities in Tokyo.

Cultural Studies

Shrine in Taito city, Tokyo (Photo by Tomáš Malík from Pexels)

Saitama University

Even if you do not speak Japanese, you can still pursue cultural studies in Japan and expand your knowledge not just of Japan but of neighboring countries in Asia. Saitama University’s Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a Master’s Program in Japanese and Asian Culture.

  • Program Description, Saitama University’s Master’s Program in Japanese and Asian Culture: The MA program offers students an interdisciplinary selection of classes and thesis supervision conducted in English and covering Japanese, literature, material culture, media, contemporary art, traditional performing arts, and other cultural studies topics. Even students in early stages of Japanese language training will therefore be able to develop an in-depth understanding of Japanese and Asian history and culture…Areas of particular program strength include Japanese military history and samurai culture, political and intellectual history, and the history and culture of performing arts.

International Christian University

The International Christian University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences offer students courses that are taught in English and in Japanese. However, in the Public Policy and Social Research Program, it is possible to complete the Master’s degree by taking only classes in English. Areas of Concentration and their corresponding Degree Programs include: Master of Arts in Public Administration or Master of Arts in International Relations; Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Analysis, Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Analysis; Master of Arts in Media and Language; Master of Arts in Public Economics, and Master of Arts in Peace Studies.

  • Program Description, International Christian University’s Public Policy and Social Research Program: The program delves into field research in the social sciences including public policy. Relations with other fields are through an interdisciplinary approach. Our objective is to nurture future leaders for domestic and international organizations, with training in flexible problem-solving based on analytic and planning skills.

Education

Takushoku University, Soka University

Two private universities in Tokyo offer further studies in English Language Education. Takushoku University’s Graduate School of Language Education offers both Master’s and Doctor’s Degree in English Language Education.

Soka University offers a Master’s in International Language Education: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ILE TESOL). Soka University. All ILE full-time faculty members have doctoral level degrees from respective universities in countries where English is the dominant language. The program accepts only eight applicants each academic year to maintain small student-faculty ratio.

  • Program Description, Soka University’s Master’s in International Language Education: While based in Japan, the ILE: TESOL Program is a rigorous academic program at the graduate level, comparable to similar programs in the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom. The program employs a distinctively western approach to graduate study, requiring students to actively prepare for and participate in class discussions, write academic papers based on surveys of research, and deliver presentations. There are few lecture-style classes. Although challenging, the program staff and faculty are dedicated to providing support for students so that they can meet their educational goals and the expectations of our program successfully.

Art & Design

Shinjuku, Tokyo (Photo by Ben Cheung from Pexels)

Tokyo University of the Arts

Tokyo University of the Arts is the only national art university in Japan. While the university traces its history to 1887, it was only in 2016 that they only offered a graduate program, the Master’s in Fine Arts: Global Art Practice (GAP), that students can finish while only taking classes that are taught in English.

  • Program Description, Tokyo University of the Arts, Global Art Practice: GAP aims to develop research and human resources with a global focus on social practice in contemporary art, while expanding alternative networks and mutual relationships across borders. With courses taught in English by internationally acclaimed artists and world-class experts, GAP offers a flexibly structured, innovative program, enabling graduate students to fulfill their roles as leading artists and researchers.

The program also collaborates with leading art schools and offers practicums in both Japan and the partnering country. Some of their partners include the University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins and École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris.

Tokyo Metropolitan University

Finally, the Tokyo Metropolitan University is a public research university that offers a unique program in their Graduate School of Systems Design. The Faculty of Systems Design is a cross-department study involving five departments: the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the Department of Mechanical Systems Engineering, the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Department of Industrial Art. Students enter the graduate school through a specific department but take classes in other departments as well. Thus, industrial designers who are interested in the integrated nature of the field of systems design can branch while still grounding themselves in industrial art.

  • From Tokyo Metropolitan University’s Faculty of Systems Design: A characteristic of the Faculty of Systems Design is cross-department study. In addition to the systematic curriculum provided in each department, students can take subjects from other departments (some restrictions may apply). Many graduates go on to the Graduate School of Systems Design, which provides a cross-domain Research Project Seminar as a required elective, and cultivates the insight from multiple perspectives by conducting open evaluations by several faculty members at the end of each term. As an outcome of this specialized education, the faculty and graduate school have produced many engineers and researchers who are active in the front lines of different industries and academic societies.

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We hope this list has helped you in pursuing further studies in Japan. This list was compiled based on the latest data released by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) reflecting current information as of May 2019. For a comprehensive list of all the University Degree Courses Offered in English all over Japan, including undergraduate and professional degrees, check this document published by JASSO.

References:

http://hss.saitama-u.ac.jp/english/

https://www.icu.ac.jp/en/admissions/images/icugs_guide2020_e.pdf

https://english.takushoku-u.ac.jp/graduate-school/linguistics/

http://daigakuin.soka.ac.jp/tesol/

http://gap.geidai.ac.jp/corner83/globalart_jointproject_en.html

https://www.sd.tmu.ac.jp/english/message_from_the_dean.html

https://www.jasso.go.jp/en/study_j/search/__icsFiles/afieldfile/2019/10/01/degree_english_190927_1.pdf