On 1 April 2004, Japanese higher education experienced a big bang , a set of reforms that have been described as the most significant institutional changes for over a century. One of the main aims is to make Japanese universities more competitive internationally, by eliminating the differences between national, public and private schools, and by giving them greater autonomy from the state in day-to-day administration and decision-making. At the same time, these institutions are facing an increasing demographic crisis, as they compete for a declining number of potential students, thanks to the falling Japanese birthrate. The chapters of this book examine these changes and the background to them from a variety of perspectives, including those of the government, the teachers and the students. Issues examined include the history of Japanese universities, their relation with the state, university management, internationalization, the struggle to attract students, the problems of language teaching, the impact of information technology, and efforts to upgrade the level of research.
Review in the Electronic Journal of Contemporary Japanese Studies