Meiji University offers summer program in Cool Japan pop culture

Translated by The Asahi Shimbun from the website of Anime Anime Japan Ltd.

Meiji University in Tokyo will offer a summer program titled “Cool Japan Summer Program 2010” targeting overseas students with an interest in Japanese pop culture. Running Aug. 2-13, the program aims to help students “Discover Your Cool Japan” with a focus on manga and anime.

The diversified program will include not only lectures on related fields but also field trips to Tokyo’s Ghibli Museum, Mitaka, and Akihabara and Nakano Broadway collectors’ shopping areas, a studio workshop and a study trip to Kyoto. All lectures will be in English. Tuition and other fees range between 80,000 yen for the basic program and 200,000 yen including accommodation.

Lecturers from Meiji University include associate professors Yukari Fujimoto, Hirohito Miyamoto and Kaichiro Morikawa as well as Kate Allen, of the School of Global Japanese Studies, which aims to foster international understanding of culture. The school’s faculty of pop culture played a central role in creating the program.
Also on the lecturers’ list are scholars of Japanese culture whose focus is pop culture. The program is expected to appeal not only to overseas students but also to a wider audience.

In addition to manga culture and animation, lectures will cover modern art, architecture and design. Since the program packs in a number of short trips within a short time span, it appears to be somewhat weak academically. Still, it offers a sound introduction to Japanese culture as a field of study.

Meiji University is not the only college in Japan to offer summer programs on Japanese pop culture for foreign students. For a few years now, the Japan campus of Temple University has offered a similar program that enjoys a good reputation. Digital Hollywood University also has a similar project.

As overseas interest in Japanese pop culture grows, an increasing number of people around the world are hoping to see related sights in Japan. Tours taking fans to Akihabara or animation or manga facilities have been offered for several years.

Summer programs launched by the universities are aimed at those whose interest goes a bit deeper than just sightseeing tours. However, the cost usually adds up to hundreds of thousand yen, including tuition fees, accommodation and airfare. Whether such programs will catch on depends on whether students feel they will get what they pay for.

Copyright The Asahi Shimbun Company.