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Tokyo: Representation and Reality
Tokyo, Japan (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
This program is currently not accepting applications.
Partner Institution/Organization Homepage: Click to visit
Restrictions: Princeton applicants only
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Study Abroad (summer)
Program Description:
Tokyo: Representation and Reality

A summer 2016 course for undergraduates at the University of Tokyo focusing on the city itself.  The program will interest students in urban studies and East Asian studies or anyone interested in exploring Tokyo from many different lenses.  Overview is below but for full information, click the program link above to go to the program website.

With a population of over thirteen million people in the city proper, Tokyo ranks with Shanghai, Lagos, and Mumbai among the ten largest cities in the world. When adjacent cities—Yokohama, Saitama, Chiba, and others—are included, the Tokyo metropolitan area is perhaps the world’s biggest, with over thirty-six million residents, nearly twice as many as in New York City and all its suburbs.

A city so vast inevitably encompasses contrasts and contradictions. Destroyed and rebuilt twice in the 20th century, the metropolis of Tokyo now appears to be a success story of modern urban development: the streets are safe, the air clean, the people seemingly content. But beneath its peacefully bustling facade lie many challenges: an aging native population, a widening gap between rich and poor, emptying suburbs, conflicts over immigration, the always-looming threat of crises both natural and man-made.

In this intensive course to be taught in June 2016, undergraduates from Princeton University, the University of Tokyo, and perhaps other universities will try to come to a deeper understanding of this complex, multifaceted city. How do media images and stereotypes of Tokyo correspond to the day-to-day reality? How do the people of Tokyo interact with the city in which they live? What does Tokyo’s role as the political, economic, and cultural capital of Japan mean for its status as a global city? And, perhaps most importantly, how can one even begin to comprehend a social phenomenon as huge and complicated as a great city, where directed planning and design inevitably interact with the diverse aspirations and actions of millions of people?

In this course, students will participate in lectures and workshops taught by UTokyo faculty, go on exploratory field trips within and around Tokyo, and conduct individual and group research projects in which they delve into particular aspects of this intriguing city. To maximize their exposure to urban life, international students will stay in student lodges in the heart of the city, and the course will be based on UTokyo’s Komaba Campus, which is just a few minutes away from Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s most dynamic and youthful areas.


As of January 2016, the following University of Tokyo faculty members have agreed be lecturers and advisors. Several more may be added later.

Hideki Koizumi
Professor, Department of Urban Engineering

Professor Koizumi received his Ph.D. in urban engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1993. A specialist in community design, cooperative city planning, and citizen-driven town development, he is author and coauthor of many books and references on urban planning and sustainable development.

Toby Slade
Associate Professor, Centre for Global Communication Strategies

Professor Slade teaches fashion theory and Japanese popular culture and is the author of Japanese Fashion: A Cultural History, the first comprehensive study in any language of Japanese fashion from the Edo period until today. He is also editor of Introducing Japanese Popular Culture, a 40-chapter volume on the many aspects of pop culture in Japan, to be published in early 2016. Professor Slade’s talk will explore the dynamics of Japanese sartorial modernity and the historical antecedents of today’s fashion. It will explore the different ways to conceptualise fashion and how these can be applied to the contemporary styles, the growth and decline of subcultural fashions, especially on the streets of Tokyo, and the institutional structures that govern trends and styles.

Brendan Wilson
Professor, Department of Language & Information Sciences

Professor Wilson born in Glasgow, Scotland, and studied English Literature and Philosophy at Glasgow University. He then went to Oxford, concentrating on Philosophy for his DPhil. After a period teaching in the UK, he came to Japan, joining the English Department at the University of Tokyo (Komaba) in 1991. He has published three books in philosophy (all with Edinburgh University Press) and a number of other books in Japan. His philosophical interests lie in the mainstream of Western analytical philosophy, with particular attention to Wittgenstein, philosophy of language and philosophy of mind.

Richard Shefferson
Associate Professor of Plant Ecology, Department of General Systems Studies

Richard Shefferson is an internationally renowned plant evolutionary ecologist particularly focused on evolutionary demography. He studies senescence, eco-evolutionary dynamics, trade-offs, life histories, and conservation management, and also conducts some research on the evolution of ecological interactions, particularly symbioses. He earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Katsuya Sugawara
Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Professor Sugawara has been on the faculty of the University of Tokyo since 1999, where he has been actively involved in research and teaching in the fields of comparative literature and English-language education. Among his works are the book Eigo to Nihongo no Aida (“Between English and Japanese,” 2011) and the paper “Great Bearer: Images of the US in the Writings of the Air Raids” (2004).

Akiko Shimizu
Associate Professor, Department of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

Professor Shimizu's research interests include feminist and queer theories, theories of bodies and (self-)representation, queer disability studies, and postcolonial feminist theories. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature at the University of Tokyo and a second MA at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory, University of Wales, Cardiff, where she also completed a PhD. Among her works is the book Lying Bodies: Survival and Subversion in the Field of Vision (2008). Her website is at

Tom Gally

Professor, Centre for Global Communication Strategies

Born in California in 1957, Professor Gally has lived in Tokyo and Yokohama since 1983. He worked as a translator and writer for many years before joining the faculty at Komaba in 2005. His research interests include language education policy and lexicography. His books include Eigo no Aya (“Figures of English,” 2011) and, as coeditor, Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary, 5th edition (2003). Professor Gally is organizing and coordinating this course.

Yujin Yaguchi

Professor, Department of Area Studies, and Director, Globalization Office

Born and raised in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Professor Yaguchi received his Ph.D. from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. A faculty member of the University of Tokyo since 1998, his research focuses on U.S.-Japan cultural relations, with a particular interest in cultural representation and memory. Much of his research has focused on Hawai‘i. He has authored four books and edited four books in Japanese and English. In addition to serving as the director of the Globalization Office, he is also deputy director of International Admissions. Professor Yaguchi is serving as an administrative advisor to this course.

Dates / Deadlines:
This program is not currently accepting applications. Please consult the sponsoring department's website for application open dates.
This program is currently not accepting applications.