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06/21/94

CONTACT: Stanford University News Service (415) 723-2558

Stanford, Japan have historical, academic ties

STANFORD -- When the emperor and empress of Japan were planning their trip to the United States, Stanford was a natural stop on their itinerary. Not only does Stanford have historical ties to Japan that date back to the university's founding, but it also has an exceptionally strong academic program in Japanese and Asian studies as well as a large number of major, ongoing research collaborations with Japanese scientists and scholars.

Historical ties

  • Five students from Japan were among the 559 members of Stanford's founding class in 1891. By 1900, there were 19 Japanese students studying on campus. Currently, 198 Japanese students are enrolled at Stanford and more than 1,000 Stanford alumni live in Japan.
  • In 1902 Jane Stanford visited alumni in Japan, had an audience with the emperor and later contributed to the development of the law library at the University of Tokyo.
  • Yamato Ichihasi, who received his bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from Stanford, returned to campus in 1913 as professor of Japanese history and government. Stanford's first endowed professorship was the Chair in Japanese History and Civilization, given by Viscount E. Shibusawa in 1920. Currently, the campus has eight chairs endowed by Japanese individuals or corporations.
  • During Emperor Hirohito's visit to San Francisco in 1975, the late Stanford paleontologist Myra Keen was one of the few people invited for a private audience to discuss the identification of shells in the emperor's private collection.
  • Six years later then-Crown Prince Akihito visited Stanford briefly, going to the observation platform at the top of Hoover Tower as part of a short driving tour during a flight layover in San Francisco.
  • When Stanford opened its Japan Center in Kyoto in 1989, the ceremony was attended by His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito.

Academic programs

  • Stanford has a strong program in Japanese studies that includes about 50 courses. It offers degrees in East Asian studies, with an emphasis on Japanese studies, and in Asian languages, with an emphasis on Japanese.
  • The Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto includes the Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies (a consortium of nine American universities) for students interested in serious study of Japanese language, history, culture and social organization; the Stanford Center for Technology and Innovation, a study/internship program for Stanford students that focuses on technology, research development and organizational structure; and a research division that facilitates scholarly collaboration between Stanford faculty and their counterparts in Japan.
  • The Inter-University Center for Japanese Language Studies in Yokohama, administered by Stanford, is a consortium of 15 major academic institutions in the United States and Canada.
  • The Asia/Pacific Research Center of the Institute for International Studies examines the organization and operation of Japanese research and development efforts, comparative health care systems and policies in the United States and Japan, and Japan's political economy, among other projects.
  • The Center for East Asian Studies oversees and coordinates Stanford's teaching programs dealing with China and Japan.
  • The U.S.-Japan Technology Management Center educates U.S. scientists and engineers on Japanese technology management and promotes the flow of technical information between U.S. and Japanese researchers.

Major research collaborations

  • For more than a decade, Japanese physicists have done research at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center under the umbrella of the U.S./Japan Agreement on Cooperation in High Energy Physics. Groups from Nagoya and Tohoku universities are currently involved in studies of the properties of massive Z particles produced by the Stanford Linear Collider. Physicists from Japan's National Laboratory for High Energy Physics have been making major contributions to the Final Focus Test Beam, a $20 million research and development facility that is testing advanced techniques needed for the next generation of linear colliders.
  • At the Asia/Pacific Research Center, faculty from throughout the university study institutions, policy and economic advancement in both Japan and the United States. Specific programs include:
  • The Comparative Health Care Policy Research Project, which has assembled a team of health care experts and economists from Stanford and Japan to study the medical, technological, economic and policy implications of the shift from pediatric to geriatric health care systems in Japan, the United States and Europe.
  • The Project on Asian Regionalization, which is examining the growing ties of interdependence within Asia - led by Japan's emergence as the region's informal economic leader - and their implications both for the countries of Asia and for the world order.

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