New opportunities with Yamaguchi University and Chuo University, JAPAN

Yamaguchi University

In 2018, Mr. Masahiro Ueda, an officer from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), visited Kent State University and discussed fellowships for U.S.-Japan collaborations. Mr. Ueda felt KSU had much in common with his home institution, Yamaguchi University – to which he returned in Spring 2019. He initiated discussions regarding a potential undergraduate exchange program, but COVID soon stalled those conversations. In 2021-22, another officer from Yamaguchi university, Ms. Ai Matsunaga, attended Kent State as a visiting scholar on the Japanese government’s Long-term Educational Administrator Program (LEAP). Ms. Matsunaga developed a fondness for KSU, and she, too, felt that it would be a good partner for Yamaguchi University. She became a tireless advocate, arranging several administrative meetings between the two institutions. Ultimately, a new partnership was cemented; undergraduate exchanges will officially begin in Fall 2024.

This summer, Mr. Ueda and Ms. Matsunaga invited Dr. Tosi to visit Yamaguchi University and give a presentation on the new program with Kent State. They also arranged a series of meetings with faculty, administrators, and students to explore whether there might be other potential areas for exchange. With the backing of the KSU Office of Global Education, Dr. Tosi happily visited Yamaguchi University in early June.

  • Vice President Loehr and Dr. Tosi2
    Following their meeting, Vice President Loehr (right) kindly gave Dr. Tosi a tour of the Yamaguchi University Archaeology Museum.
  • Yamaguchi map
    Map showing location of Yamaguchi prefecture.
  • Dr. Tomimoto and Dr. Tosi2
    Dr. Ikufumi Tomimoto (left) and Dr. Tosi (right).
  • Yamaguchi mascot
    Yamaguchi University mascot "Yama-Me" greets students as they arrive for classes.
  • Dean Arimura at Commercial Goods Museum
    At the Commercial Goods Museum. L-R: Ms. Ai Matsunaga, Ms. Kazuko Fukuoka, Dr. Tosi, Dean Sadanori Arimura, Ms. Mami Amamoto.
  • Yamaguchi sign
    Main entrance to the Yoshida campus.

There he first met with exchange students from Northern Arizona University who espoused the bucolic setting of Yamaguchi University as an exceptional location for Americans to build their Japanese language skills. Dr. Tosi then met the Vice-President for Academic Infrastructure, Dr. Marc Loehr, who introduced him to the Faculty of Global and Science Studies, an entirely new branch of the university focusing on issues of international concern. Afterwards, Dr. Tosi met the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Dr. Sadanori Arimura, who recounted the history of the economics college and provided a tour of the university’s commercial goods museum – a collection of over 8,000 commercial items encompassing the last two hundred years of worldwide trade with a concentration on Japan’s major exports and imports. Finally, Dr. Tosi met with Dr. Ikufumi Tomimoto – professor of economics, advisor to the Vice-President of International Cooperation, and board member of Plan International, a development and humanitarian organization that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. All three administrators expressed an interest to explore further areas for partnership between Kent State University and Yamaguchi University. At the end of his visit to Yamaguchi, Dr. Tosi gave a presentation on KSU (kindly prepared by colleagues in the Office of Global Education) to more than 30 students interested in study abroad.

Dr. Tosi is deeply grateful to Ms. Ai Matsunaga and Mr. Masahiro Ueda for the warm reception at Yamaguchi University and for their great efforts to create the new undergraduate exchange program. Dr. Tosi is also thankful to Vice-President Loehr, Dean Arimura, Professor Tomimoto, and the students from Northern Arizona University for meeting with him.

Chuo University

In spring 2020, the Anthropology Department hosted a “Stone Age Science” seminar funded by a grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. JSPS representatives visited KSU and – like officers visiting in 2018 (see above) – opened the seminar with a presentation promoting fellowships for U.S.-Japan collaborations. One representative was Ms. Yuki Abe, International Program Associate, who took a quick liking to Kent State and noted its fortunate proximity to Cleveland, Akron, and Columbus – all cities with international businesses. Ms. Abe finished her term at the JSPS that summer and returned to her home institution, Chuo University, in Tokyo.

  • Ms. Abe with atlatl
    Ms. Yuki Abe learns to throw a spear using an atlatl in the Experimental Archaeology Laboratory at Kent State University in 2020. L-R: Ms. Abe, Dr. Metin Eren, and JSPS Tokyo officer, Mr. Takefumi Yamaguchi.
  • Dr. Tosi and Ms. Abe
    Dr. Tosi and Ms. Abe at Chuo University in June 2023.

Dr. Tosi traveled to Tokyo this June, and Ms. Abe kindly took him on a tour of the beautiful Chuo University main campus in Hachioji. Chuo has innovative ESL partnerships with some U.S. institutions and is looking to develop more. Ms. Abe inquired whether KSU might be interested and presented a program draft to Dr. Tosi in which Chuo students would attend KSU for an intensive, three-week summer program, perhaps as soon as next year. Dr. Tosi thanked Ms. Abe and other Chuo administrators for their interest in Kent State and, upon return to U.S., relayed this information to members of KSU’s Office of Global Education and ESL Center. Discussions are underway to explore the feasibility of building a summer ESL experience at KSU for Chuo University students.

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POSTED: Thursday, August 3, 2023 09:09 PM
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2023 05:37 PM