Japanese Language Educational Degree Program (The 2nd Division)
This program was first established in the 2005 academic year, with a great deal of support from the Hitotsubashi Center for Global Education (formerly known as the International Student Center), as a cooperative course between the Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Languages and Society and the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL). The three organizations take advantage of their respective features in order to provide multifaceted study opportunities for the comprehensive learning of Japanese language education, Japanese language, sociolinguistics, and Japanese culture. To this end, a practicality unique to Hitotsubashi University has been added, including exchange programs with overseas research institutions and experience opportunities available in cooperation with industries and local communities. Through organic and diverse research, we aim to train Japanese educators with highly specialized backgrounds and practical skills.
The program consists of a Master's and a doctoral program; upon graduation, a Master of Arts degree or a Doctor of Philosophy degree shall be awarded. Furthermore, to those who have acquired specified subject credits in this program and have completed all courses, a "Japanese Education Program Completion Certificate" shall be awarded in addition to the standard diploma(s). For students entering the program in 2017, this certificate will serve as proof of completion of the contents in compliance with the established Japanese Language Teacher Training Curriculum standards set by the government.
The features of this program are part of a well-designed research environment. The features can be summarized into the following 4 points:
- Collaboration with the National Institute of Japanese Language and Linguistics
- This program is a collaborative project between the school and the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics (NINJAL), located in Tachikawa City, directly adjacent to Kunitachi City. The NINJAL has a Japanese language education division that includes many domestic and foreign text collections on Japanese language education. Furthermore, studies utilizing the language corpus are quite popular; students are able to learn about leading-edge research in the field, and apply it to their own research and education.
- Collaboration with the Hitotsubashi University Center for Global Education
- The Hitotsubashi Center for Global Education, which specializes in Japanese language education, is also participating in this program. The Center for Global Education consists of the Japanese Language Education Department, the International Student/Study Abroad Consultation Department, and the Hitotsubashi University Global Education Program (the HGP); the center is responsible for conducting Japanese classes and providing education regarding Japanese affairs for all international students of Hitotsubashi University, while being prepared to provide consultation regarding international student life, enrollment, employment, Japanese-national student study abroad, etc. We also offer classes in English for both Japanese-national students and international students. Second division students not only receive guidance from specialized faculty members, but also practice classroom lessons and teaching experience, and have the opportunity to develop practicality as an expert in Japanese language education by serving as tutors for beginner level students.
- Graduate School of Language and Society (GENSHA) Research Background
- Japanese education studies are fairly fragmented; however, despite the fairly regimented format of academia, there are an increasing number of cases in which students who have shown interest and consideration beyond the boundaries of existing studies have enrolled in the program. The GENSHA is in the position to support a variety of interests and concerns related to languages and society.
- Small Class Size and In-depth, Personal Guidance
- In this program, there are ten students (enrolled in the Master's course) for nine academic advisors, resulting in a 1:1 or 1:2 guidance system ratio for each school year. For this reason, one of the benefits of a system this size include ease of receiving research advice from supervising professor(s). Furthermore, students form deep connections, creating an environment of mutual cooperation and inspiration.
To train Japanese-language educators with a deep understanding of Japan, and who play an active role internationally—this is the purpose of the program. In the past, many of the students from the GENSHA, which focuses primarily on the complex relationships between language and society, have wished to learn more about Japanese language itself; after graduating from the course, they hoped to engage in the field of Japanese language education. As a Japanese teacher, a degree is essential—for future Japanese language education staff, it is expected that you will be asked for advanced, professional, and diverse knowledge regarding language, society, and culture, in addition to solely the Japanese language and Japanese language education. In this program, which provides the highest domestic standards of education, it is possible to learn about Japanese languageand its background in a multifaceted and earnest environment.
In studying Japanese, we will be able to further increase the volume of our research by looking at both the domestic and foreign perspective, while keeping background historical issues and society/culture in mind. For international students, especially international students from areas that use kanji, it is a good opportunity to look back on the relationship between Japanese and their native language. This program can be used to a great extent as a recurrent program for people with previous educational experience.
As for career paths after graduation, many students choose to go on to a doctoral program or to take positions as Japanese language instructors, in addition to engaging in international exchange work at government offices and local governments. Furthermore, international students have a variety of opportunities available to them, including employment with Japanese companies, joint venture companies, and working at the forefront of international business.