Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Japan Study Abroad
The next Japan Study Abroad program will run in Summer 2022, pending university approval.
MSU Denver’s Study Abroad program in Japan provides undergraduate students with valuable international experience, and opportunities to study Japanese language and culture and practice ethnographic field methods. Established in 2012, the program explores Japanese culture, communication, and identity in three distinct regions of Japan – Tokyo, Kyoto, and Okinawa.
The program begins in Denver with pre-departure instruction in Japanese history, political economy, and communication. Instructors Rebecca Forgash and Su Il Kim meet students in Tokyo, where they spend one week exploring metropolitan history and society, including visits to the Imperial Palace, Tsukiji fish market, and Harajuku. In Tokyo, students visit the campus of Tokyo Metropolitan University (TMU) and participate in an academic and cultural exchange with TMU anthropology students. The second week is spent in Kyoto, where students study Japan’s traditional arts and religious culture, with visits to Nijo Castle, Kiyomizu Temple, and the Gion geisha quarter. A day trip to the ancient capital city of Nara is included. From Kyoto, we fly to Okinawa for a final week exploring the island’s rich World War II history, contemporary military base culture, and emerging tourism economy. Meetings with local activists and university students allow students to interact with local people and expand their understanding and appreciation of Japanese cultural and linguistic heterogeneity.
Students record their experiences in a field journal, write reflection papers, and turn in a final research paper on a topic they have developed in consultation with the faculty and supported by Japanese resource people. The program concludes with a day-long post-travel session back in Denver. Students earn 6 upper-division credits in Anthropology. No background in Japanese language or anthropology is required.
2016 Student Testimonials
"Going on this study abroad experience to Japan was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life! I met some amazing people and made friends, not only with the people I traveled with on the trip, but also Japanese students I met there. Traveling around Japan to three very different areas I learned a lot about three very different cultures in Japan and I learned that contrary to popular belief Japan is not a homogeneous country. I highly recommend this study abroad experience!"
"I had been to Japan two times prior to this trip on self prompted vacations and was leery as to how much more I could learn by way of studying abroad. To my surprise I learned exponentially more than I could have ever learned on my own! The opportunities within this program to interact with Japanese students and teachers at high schools and colleges across Japan is a once in a life time opportunity that you won't find anywhere else! If you've ever been interested in visiting Japan then you should take part in this study abroad."