Message from the Program Staff

The Zensho-UT Japan Studies Program at VNU-Hanoi (JSPH), established in 2011, is a program designed to promote research on Japan among young scholars in Vietnam. The program is being financed by a donation from ZENSHO HOLDINGS Co., Ltd., and is being conducted jointly by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of The University of Tokyo (UT-Komaba) and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities/ Vietnam Japan University of the Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU-Hanoi).

Previously, Vietnamese research on Japan experienced the following drawbacks: Until the early 1990s, the opportunities for academic exchange were limited. Even in the years that followed, there was the lack of facilities necessary for the acquisition of Japanese language necessary to utilize Japanese primary sources due to economic difficulties. In the past, Japan studies in Vietnam were largely conducted through using texts written not in Japanese, but in languages such as English, Russian and Chinese. As a result of the lack of access to Japanese primary sources, the research tended to be of a general or descriptive nature. Moreover, scholarship leaned towards contemporary issues, such as present economic trends. At this time, there is a gradual rise in the number of researches using Japanese sources, but it has still yet to become the majority.

Researchers from both Japan and Vietnam have established the program in order to rectify the aforementioned points, to facilitate a diversification of the fields of academic research, as well as to improve the language abilities of the Vietnamese researchers that will allow for the enrichment of the contents of their research. In the academic years from 2011 to 2015, master's candidates of Japan studies from VNU-Hanoi were eligible for the following support:

(1) 9 students were accepted to UT-Komaba as special auditors for six to twelve months. Each student enrolled in graduate level classes that were in line with their research interests alongside Japanese-speaking students of the University of Tokyo. (2) A total of 59 students, including both graduate and undergraduate students, were invited to UT-Komaba for approximately 1 week to attend a workshop.

(3) 6 faculty members of UT-Komaba were sent to VNU-Hanoi to deliver lectures on specialized topics in Japanese studies in Japanese. As a result, the 10 students who had participated in the program submitted their master's theses in Japanese, and have gone out into the world to accomplish great things.

Based on the knowledge gained from the experiences during the first-term, as well as the establishment of the Japan Studies Course under the Area Studies program in Vietnam Japan University, the following support programs were implemented as part of the second-term program starting in 2016.

(1) For the master's candidates majoring in Japan studies in Vietnam Japan University, a research grant will be provided for two years, in order to create a suitable environment for the student to focus on their research.

(2) Faculty members of UT-Komaba and the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology will visit Vietnam Japan University to give specialized lectures on Japan studies in Japanese. In addition, through a regularly held joint seminar with the respective faculty members, the seminar-style classroom that will foster active participation from the graduate students will be implemented.

(3) To fulfill the mandatory credit requirement of "Internship" for second year master's candidates of Vietnam Japan University, the students who major in Japan Studies will be accepted to UT-Komaba as special auditors for four months.

Through these projects, JSPH hopes to establish a new current of Japan studies in Vietnam, which, in turn, will hopefully lead to the propagation of a deeper and more direct understanding of Japan in the latter country.

For this program, JSPH has established a "Japan Studies Center" at VNU-Hanoi, and will be offering the students there the latest information on Japan, including information about studying in Japan. JSPH also offers basic reference tools there, hoping to arouse interest in Japan studies among young students. The library collection has expanded to 713 books by 2015, and has become the largest open research environment within Vietnam.

This program has been established through the full support of ZENSHO HOLDINGS Co., Ltd., and has been successful so far in fostering the growth of Japan studies within Vietnam. To reach higher levels of achievement, the staff will be most grateful for any advice and assistance from the visitors to this website.