Being the oldest institution in Japan dedicated solely to the study of foreign languages and international affairs, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, commonly abbreviated to TUFS and also known in Japanese as Tōkyō Gaikokugo Daigaku (東京外国語大学), is renowned for having educated many of the country’s ambassadors to various countries as well as successful domestic business figures. On its modern and spacious campus located in Fuchu, a suburb of Tokyo, the university allows its more than 4000 students to study a selection of 74 world languages. As of the year 2014, TUFS is selected as one of the Top Global Universities by Japan’s Ministry of Education (MEXT). With one of its aims being to develop truly internationally-minded graduates, the university is establishing a brand new bilingual four-year bachelor degree program titled “School of Japan Studies” starting from April 2019!

Campus building in Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

The School of Japan Studies (SJS): Looking at Japan from a Global Lens

Conducted in both English and Japanese, SJS is a comprehensive Japanese studies program that is designed to cultivate problem-solving skills within its students to tackle issues in Japan and worldwide. The program requires the class, which consists of both international and native Japanese students, to study together various aspects of Japan from diverse international viewpoints in order to form meaningful discussions. SJS is also a practical program that involves field-work together with lectures to provide students with real experience.

Structures in Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

The SJS Four-year Curriculum

On their first year, students take introductory classes on Japanese studies that are taught solely in the English language while also taking English and Japanese language courses that will improve their ability in both languages. They are also required to take “Collaborative Project” courses to enhance teamwork skills. In addition, students are able to choose from an array of liberal arts courses in order to expand their knowledge.

The second year of study will require students to participate in team-based field-work in the local community. Introductory classes continue to be taught but now in both English and Japanese languages, as students also go on improving their fluencies through the language courses. Students can also choose to study another foreign language.

On the third year, students are allowed to take a semester or year studying in universities or taking part in internships abroad, in order for them to better understand the comparison between Japanese and international cultures. They can also take seminar classes across four fields in the SJS which are:

  1. Japanese Politics, Economics, Society and History within International Contexts
  2. Japanese Culture and Literature as World Culture and Literature
  3. Japanese Linguistics
  4. Japanese Language Education

Students can choose to specialize in a particular field but are required to take seminar courses in two or more fields to acquire a balanced understanding of Japan.

On their final year, students will be expected to focus on preparing and finishing their projects for graduation. The project is a result of their years of study and must be presented in both English and Japanese. It is also in this year when students can start finding a job, which the university career center will assist with.

Landscape of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

Admission Procedures for International Students

As students are admitted for an entry in April, applications for the year 2019 are currently over. The information provided below are for reference only.

There are two types of international student admissions to the SJS:

Type A — Entrance Examination using EJU (Entrance Examination for Japanese Universities) for students who already have sufficient ability and knowledge in the Japanese language and Japan. In this admission type, applicants will take the EJU “Japanese as a Foreign Language” and “Japan and the World” examinations. In addition, they are required to submit a result of their English-proficiency test and attend an interview. A total of 20 students are expected to be admitted through this type.

Type B — Entrance Examination using High School Recommendation for students who are interested in studying more about Japan. In this admission type, students will hand in their academic transcripts, a personal statement on why the applicant desires to study about Japan and the Japanese language, letter of recommendation, and the result of their English-proficiency test (a minimum score of 72 on the TOEFL iBT or an equivalent score on the IELTS). After the document screening, applicants must continue on to an interview. A total of 10 students are expected to be admitted through this type.

An amazing program awaits at TUFS

All in all, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies’ brand new School of Japan Studies is a fresh and promising program for those who are interested in Japanese studies. Its integrated approach in studying that involves team-building and first-hand involvement with the local community will certainly help with a student’s ability on their future careers. The university’s name value will also be advantageous to a student’s career prospects in Japan. SJS is truly an exciting and recommended study program for international students from around the world, to those who are looking for a one-of-a-kind college experience!


For more information about Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and its School of Japan Studies (SJS), please check the following websites: