Challenging the traditional organization of Japanese universities

Yoshikazu Ogawa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This essay examines how Japanese research universities have changed from an organizational perspective over the past ten years. First, Japan has modified graduate education to better compete with other countries. The traditional undergraduate school-centered system has been changed to include a focus on graduate education. Since graduate schools are more sensitive to changes in and generation of new knowledge, this new focus affects various areas of universities, including the status of professors. Second, universities have become loosely coupled systems as a result of recent reforms, such as introducing a "large" chair system and the separation of teaching and research. This new organizational structure makes universities more flexible and more receptive to further reforms. Finally, the loosely coupled structure of Japanese universities requires the creation and standardization of university culture. The introduction of new vice-president positions will contribute to the formation of university identity rather than strengthen of governance systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-108
Number of pages24
JournalHigher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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