Joint University of Tokyo-Yale Program To Promote Japanese Studies in U.S.

The University of Tokyo (Todai), Japan’s premier educational and research institution, and Yale University are launching a joint initiative designed to promote Japanese Studies in the United States.

The initiative, titled the Todai–Yale Initiative for Japanese Studies and Related Humanities and Social Sciences (or, less formally, the Todai–Yale Initiative), is the latest of many ongoing academic and student exchanges between the two universities. University of Tokyo President Hiroshi Komiyama and Yale President Richard C. Levin will sign documents formally establishing the initiative on November 2 in New York City.

The Todai-Yale Initiative will bring researchers from Japan to the Yale campus, where they will both further their own research and contribute to the field of Japanese studies on campus.

“The creation of a research base in the U.S. is an important part of the University of Tokyo’s plan to promote globalization of Japanese Studies and the first step towards bringing the discipline into the 21st century,” said Komiyama. “And since Todai and Yale have a century-long history of academic exchange, it was only natural for us to work with this great university.”

Levin added, “We welcome Japanese scholars to Yale and look forward to collaborating with them on research in many areas of humanities and the sciences, as well as adding new knowledge and understanding to the broad field of Japanese Studies.”

The three Todai researchers who will travel from Tokyo to Yale this fall are Junko Kato, professor of Graduate School of Law and political science; Takuji Okamoto, associate professor of the history and philosophy of science, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; and Koji Yamamoto, research associate of political science in the Institute of Social Science.

Kato specializes in comparative politics and political economy.  She has published two books in English, “The Problem of Bureaucratic Rationality” (Princeton University Press, 1994), which was awarded the prestigious Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize, and “Regressive Taxation and the Welfare State” (Cambridge University Press, 2003). She received her Ph.D. from Yale in 1992.

Okamoto’s specialty is the history of science. Along with his research on the history of physics in America, he has surveyed the history of science and technology of Japan and has written several articles on electric engineering and physics in prewar Japan.

Yamamoto studies the contemporary Japanese political process. His major areas of interest include election and voting behavior, competition among political the policy arena and electoral systems in democracies.

Dr. Kato, Dr. Okamoto and Mr. Yamamoto are the latest in the long line of Japanese scholars who have studied, taught or conducted research at Yale. Kan’ichi Asakawa, the notable Japanese historian and the first Japanese person to teach at Yale, earned his Ph.D. from Yale in 1902. He became an instructor at Yale in 1907 and a full professor in 1937.

In the future, the Todai-Yale Initiative will sponsor workshops, seminars, a series of lectures on topics in humanities and social sciences, as well as multiple collaborative efforts.  A newly formed not-for-profit corporation, Friends of Todai, Inc., will seek donations from Todai alumni as well as other individuals and organizations with an interest in U.S.–Japan relations.  Friends of Todai, Inc. will aim to provide the University of Tokyo with financial assistance in support of all its academic and educational activities in the United States.

About the University of Tokyo
The University of Tokyo (Todai) was established in 1877 as Japan’s first national university. As a leading research university, Todai offers courses in essentially all of the academic disciplines at both undergraduate and graduate levels, and conducts research across the full spectrum of academic activity. The university aims to provide its students with a rich and varied academic environment that ensures opportunities for both intellectual development and the acquisition of professional knowledge and skills.  The Todai organization consists of the College of Arts and Sciences, nine faculties, 15 graduate schools, 11 institutes and 21 university-wide centers. Todai is known for the excellence of its faculty members and students: since its foundation, many of Todai’s graduates have gone on to become leaders in government, business and the academic world. Todai graduates have included 16 prime ministers of Japan, eight out of the 19 Keidanren chairmen (Japan Business Federation, the country’s premiere business organization) and five Nobel Prize winners.

About Yale University
Founded in 1701, Yale is a global university comprised of three major academic components: Yale College (the four-year undergraduate program), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and ten professional schools. Approximately 11,250 students attend Yale.  For more than 300 years, the University has educated leaders and public servants for all sectors of American society and, increasingly, around the world. Yale’s tradition of leadership and public service is found in every branch of government in the United States. This tradition of public service by Yale graduates is exemplified by four of the last six American presidents, 526 members of United States Congress, 55 U.S. Cabinet secretaries, 19 Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, and former heads of state of Germany, Korea and Mexico. Yale graduates are leaders in all areas of human endeavor, including the arts, business, law, medicine, science and civil society. Yale graduates lead many of the most recognizable global brands and institutions.



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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325