Make Japanese universities more or less like sumo world
News On Japan via Japan Times -- Nov 19
One of the reasons why Japanese universities are weak in their international competitiveness is found in the uniquely Japanese way in which educational and research projects are undertaken at the postgraduate level.
Specifically, the fault lies in the system in which a new student at a graduate school is assigned to a particular instructor upon enrollment. Especially in the engineering department, the first thing a postgraduate student experiences is to become a member of the "research group" bearing the name of their instructor.
The research group is comparable to a stable in the Japanese national sport of sumo as each professional sumo wrestler is required to belong to one of the stables. Similarly, the instructor heading his research group is like the stablemaster in sumo. And each department within a university is made up of several research groups, just as a group of several stables form a "family" in the sumodom.
Allowing some variance among individual cases, by and large, postgraduate students are as obedient to their instructor as the sumo wrestler is to the stablemaster. The theme of the master's or doctorate dissertation is chosen by the instructor and when an article written by the student is published in an academic journal, the instructor's name appears alongside the student's as the coauthor.
|| 3 cats found mutilated to death in Ehime park |
| || Police in Niihama, Ehime Prefecture, are investigating the mutilation deaths of three cats whose bodies were left in a park. Two were found dead in February, and the third was found on Saturday. (Japan Today ) |
|| Thousands protest in Japan ahead of Fukushima anniversary |
| || Banging on drums and waving "Sayonara nukes" signs, thousands of people rallied in a Tokyo park and marched to Parliament on Sunday to demand an end to nuclear power ahead of the third anniversary of the Fukushima disaster. (scmp.com ) |
|| Fewer than 40 pct of Tokyo residents, commuters prepared for quake |
| || Fewer than 40 pct of residents and commuters in Tokyo take specific measures to prepare for a possible huge earthquake beneath the Japanese capital, despite high awareness on disaster prevention, a Metropolitan Police Department survey showed Friday. (Jiji Press ) |
|| Blizzard pummels northern Japan |
| || A blizzard struck northern Japan on Friday with authorities warning of avalanches, high waves, strong winds and traffic disruption. (thehindu.com ) |
|| Kashiwa murder suspect says he wanted to fly hijacked plane into Skytree |
| || The man under arrest for fatally stabbing one man and wounding three others during a 10-minute rampage in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Monday night, told police on Thursday that he wanted to hijack a plane at Haneda airport and fly it into Tokyo Skytree to take revenge on society. (Japan Today ) |
|| Japan's Beethoven apologizes before cameras |
| || The man lauded as "Japan's Beethoven," who has admitted he never wrote his compositions, appeared before cameras for the first time since the scandal surfaced - clean-shaven and minus his trademark sunglasses. (abcnews.go.com ) |