The University of Tokyo, Japan

The University of Tokyo is often called “Todai,” an abbreviation for its Japanese formal name. Anyone in Japan knows this word, and it immediately evokes the image of smart, diligent, and “nerdy” professors and students at the university. This image reflects the fact that the University of Tokyo has always been leading scholarship in Japan since its establishment in 1877. Its faculty and students are seen as the people who pursue their academic interests so enthusiastically that they sometimes fail to care about everyday life. If you visit the University of Tokyo as a Fox Fellow, you will have an opportunity to see if this is correct, as well as experience Japan and the rest of the city first hand.

Although the University of Tokyo possesses outstanding research resources in many fields, three of its features are particularly pertinent to a role as an exchange partner. First, the University of Tokyo should be an ideal place for those who are interested in the research topics related to the Japanese and Asian society and history. As Japan is one of the oldest liberal democracies in Asia, those practicing social sciences and humanities at the University of Tokyo have enjoyed academic freedom has led to diverse and innovative research programs. Second, the University of Tokyo has established strong partnerships with the public and private sectors. Its network serves as a resource that students can use to access to wider Japanese society according to their respective interests; for example, interviewing government officials and learning the practices of Japanese companies. Finally, the University of Tokyo is accessible to even those who are not familiar with Japan and the Japanese language. Exchange students can take free Japanese language courses and look for a Japanese language partner if they want. Departments now offer more and more courses in English. The institution is constantly making efforts to make the university more open to the world.

Tokyo is one of the most exciting cities to live. Its landscape blends Japanese traditions and modernity: old Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and wooden houses coexist with skyscrapers, bullet trains, and brand new residents. The University’s two main campuses, Hongo and Komaba, reflect this contrast. The Hongo neighborhood is characterized by its cultural heritage. Yushima Tenjin, a Shinto shrine near the campus, is said to be founded in the mid-fifth century. Many family-owned small restaurants in this area serve Japanese home-style dishes. On the other hand, the Komaba campus is located near Shibuya area, which is at the center of “modern Japan.” Boutiques and nightspots are the dominant features of the area. Shibuya Station, the second largest terminal in Japan, is a modern architectural labyrinth that accommodates more than three million people per day. Many restaurants and bars are open all through the night. Staying at the University provides a great opportunity to experience the two faces of Tokyo.