Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology,
University of Oxford
Japanese education has been a
focus of comparative studies for the past 20 years.
Many scholars have attributed the economic success
of this industrialized society to a highly literate
and well-educated population. Recent studies,
however, have tended to be more critical of, in
particular, Japanese higher education. Indeed, most
universities in Japan are acutely aware of the need
for change and a considerable effort at
institutional change is sweeping the nation.
Unfortunately most of the constructive criticism of
Japanese higher education has not yet been
published in English. One of the most vocal of the
reformists, Professor Ikuo Amano, has published
widely on various aspects of higher education in
Japan. In the following paper I have translated a
chapter from his book Challenges to Japanese
Universities. This translation is prefaced by
both an introduction to Amano and his work, as well
as an explication of the socio-cultural context of
higher education in Japan today.
reform, translation, ethnography