Sociological Studies on Universities in Japan: Focusing on the Academic Profession

  • Akiyoshi YonezawaEmail author
  • Arthur Meerman
  • Min Li
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 46)


This chapter examines the history, current status, and future prospects of universities in Japan through a sociological examination of the academic profession. Studies on the academic profession have always been a key topic of higher education research in Japan, where sociologists assumed a crucial role in theorization and positive research. The formation of the academic profession in Japan is highly linked with the formation of national identity both in education and research and has therefore always attracted international attention. Also, we need to reflect on the role of university academics and their organizations as opinion leaders in political dialogues and contributors to the overall well-being of society. In this chapter, firstly, the authors discuss how sociologists and other researchers in higher education have approached the formation and development of the academic profession. Secondly, the authors highlight how sociologists and other social scientists are tackling current challenges to Japan’s higher education in a difficult social environment characterized by aging, globalization, and the knowledge economy. Finally, the authors anticipate future perspectives of sociological studies on academics and universities in Japan, focusing on strengthening linkages within the international research community.


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Strategy OfficeTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  2. 2.Kurume UniversityKurumeJapan
  3. 3.Shinshu UniversityMatsumotoJapan

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