Symposium on Postdoctoral Career Development in Japanese Studies and Undergraduate Education in English at Japanese Universities

Dates: Saturday 1st & Sunday 2nd November 2014

Venue: The University of Tokyo, Komaba Campus, Building 18, (room to be confirmed)

Symposium Themes

Demographic change and internationalization are important drivers of Japanese universities’ recruitment of international students and staff. While universities have a preference to recruit early career international teaching staff for English language programmes, emerging scholars also have a strong desire to establish their credentials as productive researchers, especially if they have hopes of gaining permanent academic employment in their home countries. This symposium provides a forum to discuss the progress and challenges of English-language Japanese studies programs in Japanese universities from the perspective of those setting them up and those teaching them. It also introduces a multi-methods research project to investigate the experiences and perceptions of emerging scholars in Japanese studies and the research support environments within their institutions. In particular we will ask:

• Is there sufficient institutional support in Japanese universities for early career international teaching staff to develop their research careers?

• How does that support compare internationally?

• How and in what ways can being in Japan help or hinder an academic career in Japanese studies?

Saturday, 1st November

11:00 – 11:15  Opening remarks

11:15 – 12:15  Session 1, Interactions

Adam Komisarof, A New Acculturation Framework for Japan-Based Interactions

Brian Masshardt, Outside the Classroom Walls:  Engaging and Orientating Exchange Students

12:15 – 13:15  Lunch

13:15 – 14:15  Roundtable 1: Yujin Yaguchi and Philip Seaton Undergraduate Education in English at Japanese Universities

This panel seeks to discuss how a stable and sustainable higher education sector that aims for global standards in research and teaching quality can be built in Japan. It focuses on undergraduate degree programmes taught in English. The discussants are Yujin Yaguchi of the PEAK programme at the University of Tokyo, which was built during the Global 30 era, and Philip Seaton of the Modern Japanese Studies Program at Hokkaido University, which was developed in the wake of the Global 30 initiative.

Yujin Yaguchi is professor at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and Director of the Globalization Office, College of Arts and Sciences, the University of Tokyo.

Philip Seaton is professor at the Office of International Affairs/International Student Center, Hokkaido University, and convenor of the Modern Japanese Studies Program.

14:15 – 14:30  Coffee break

14:30 – 15:30  Session 2, Careers

Robert Aspinall, ‘Cartels of the Mind’ Revisited

Greg Hadley, The Perils of ‘Professional Disarticulation’:  Considering the Challenges and Choices Facing Early Career Researchers in Neoliberal Universities

15:30 – 15:45  Coffee break

15:00 – 16:45  Roundtable 2: Peter Matanle and Philippe DebrouxPostdoctoral Career Development and the Challenge of Working in Japanese Universities

This session will focus on the challenge of working as a young or emerging foreign academic in Japan’s universities from the perspective of both the academics themselves and the hiring institutions. Preliminary data from an investigation into postdoctoral career development in Japanese studies will be presented alongside a qualitative analysis of university reform in Japan and its relationship with the shifting challenges of working within Japanese institutions.

Peter Matanle is Senior Lecturer and Director of Research and Innovation, School of East Asian Studies, University of Sheffield.

Philippe Debroux is professor of International Management and International Resource Management at Soka University.

18:00 – 21:00: Dinner

Sunday, 2nd November

09:30 – 10:30  Session 3, Japanese Higher Education

Gavan Gray, The Need for Critical Thinking in Japanese Universities: The Example of Foreign Policy Analysis

Yuki Imoto, Shifting identities of early career Japanese transnational academics: implications for Japanese Studies and higher education in Japan

10:30 – 10:45  Coffee break

10:45 – 12:15  Session 4, Teaching Japanese Students in English

Yoichiro Sato & Naoko Kojima, Teaching Japanese foreign policy to Japanese students in English

David Coulson & John Adamson, From lecture listening to writing: scaffolding Japanese students’ English skills through CLIL

12:15 – 13:15  Lunch

13:15 – 15:00: Roundtable 3: Peter Matanle, Helen Macnaughtan, Euan McKay, Philip Seaton, Postdoctoral career development in Japanese studies and English-language education in Japan.

This final roundtable will draw together the themes covered in presentations and discussion during the conference and provide a final forum for developing discussion on career paths for academics in Japanese Studies and English-language undergraduate programs in Japan.

Helen Macnaughtan is Senior Lecturer in International Business and Management (Japan) in the Department of Financial and Management Studies, SOAS, University of London.

Euan McKay is a part-time lecturer at the University of Tokyo on the PEAK program and Project Researcher in the University of Tokyo Public Relations Office.

15:00: Close


View the complete abstracts for the papers presented in Sessions 1-4 here.


Komaba Campus Building 18 (confusingly numbered 36 on this map), towards the back of the campus as you enter from the station. There is a large map right in front of you as you enter the campus. The nearest station is Komaba Todai Mae on the Keio Inokashira Line.

The room number is to be confirmed, but there will be a sign at the entrance of the building saying “BAJS” and someone to tell you which room to go to.


Participants are expect to arrange all their own travel and accommodation. There are plenty of hotels in Shibuya (two stops away on the Inokashira Line).


Attendance at the symposium is free and open to the public, but please contact Philip Seaton in advance to let us know that you are planning to attend.

Contact details:

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us:

Event Organiser: Euan McKay (euan.mckay[at], The University of Tokyo

BAJS Japan Branch Coordinator: Philip Seaton (seaton[at], Hokkaido University