Japan's dramatic re-emergence as a world power in the '80s led a num­ber of U.S. colleges and universities to incorporate courses on Japanese history, politics, culture, management practices and language into their curricula. Simultaneously, there has been a flurry of activity to develop study abroad experiences in Japan to expose American students to Japa­nese culture and language. Chambers and Cummings (1990) document ap­proximately 90 programs involving a U.S. school and a Japanese partner. For a variety of reasons a number of these ambitious ventures have not been entirely successful.

One of the major impediments to launching a successful study abroad program in Japan has been the "language barrier" (Li, 1993). Most U.S. students do not speak Japanese and those who do may not speak it well. A second impediment has been incompatibility of curricula between U.S. and Japanese universities. A third stumbling block has been lack of faculty support and accompanying concern about the degree of academic rigor (Ll, 1993). Finally, financial concerns and constraints have prevented most small colleges and universities from developing programs in Japan.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1994

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 1994 Association of International Education Administrators. This article first appeared in International Education Forum 14, no. 1 (Spring 1994): 11-19.

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