Individual classes on anime/manga offered by colleges of all types around the U.S. are nothing new. But, what kinds of options are there for students who are interested in learning about topics related to Japanese visual culture – in Japan? One such option is the Cool Japan Summer Program, which has been offered annually since 2010 by Tokyo’s Meiji University. The application period for this year’s program is now open, and applications are being accepted until February 29.
“Meiji University’s Cool Japan Summer Program is a series of lectures and field trips on a wide variety of subjects relating to Japan’s contemporary images – from manga, anime and music, to fashion, craftsmanship and cuisine. We invite you to discuss many issues of “Japan” with some of the leading researchers and professionals of each field. Let us look into the essence of Japanese pop culture while exploring is current social context and future potential. We will investigate diverse aspects of Japanese society and uncover their underlying traditional elements.”
The program itself will run from Wednesday, July 20, to Friday, August 5, with a total of over 50 hours of content. Particular highlights will include a tour of the J.C. Staff animation studio (Azumanga Daioh, Ikki Tousen, Nodame Cantable, Ano Natsu de Matteru/Waiting in the Summer, among others), and a three-day trip outside Tokyo. It will be limited to 30 participants, who must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at the time. Participating speakers will include faculty members from several Japanese universities, journalists, translators, and industry professionals. Although Meiji University will not award students any credit for participation, their own individual “home” institutions may. No knowledge of Japanese is required to participate.
Further addition information about the Cool Japan Summer Program, including a brochure and promotional video, is available on the program website.
[Ed.: For the last two years, Tokyo University has offered a similar summer program. Both years, the program’s schedule was focused around a common theme (2014 – “Media Mix“; 2015 – “Mediated Worlds“), and participants in the programs were not charged for their participation, and received reimbursement for their travel expenses and a stipend for accommodations and personal expenses. However, the 2015 program was specifically designed for graduate students. A 2016 program has not been announced as of yet.)