Message from the President on
Graduate Institute for Advanced Studies

Message from the President


The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, SOKENDAI, is made up of national research institutes and museums throughout Japan, along with our headquarters in Hayama. Although they are not all located on a single campus, each of these research institutes has its own large-scale equipment and extensive resources, and they are all engaged in cutting-edge research. The departments of SOKENDAI are based at these research institutes. Until now, our departments have been organised into six schools: the School of Cultural and Social Studies, the School of Physical Sciences, the School of High Energy Accelerator Science, the School of Multidisciplinary Sciences, the School of Life Science, and the School of Advanced Sciences. We are considering restructuring as of the 2023 academic year, to create a single institute and a single department.

In addition, the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature and the National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics, which have not been previously involved in our graduate school education, are also scheduled to join SOKENDAI as part of this restructuring.

A law governing graduate schools makes it a requirement to establish schools. It is also true that a certain amount of cohesion is beneficial for the management of a university. Which departments should, therefore, be combined to form a school? Previous classifications have been based on the characteristics of academic fields. The academic disciplines of the sciences and humanities differ greatly in terms of research goals and methods and the presentation of results. In addition, even within the discipline of science, physical sciences and life sciences have different objects of research, which means their background knowledge differs greatly. This is why universities have always organised schools by academic field.

However, are these old divisions still relevant? If different categories are created for whatever reason, the awareness of the connections between those categories fades over time, and we only focus on what is happening within each category. Nevertheless, the whole world is connected, and the ideas that we really want to investigate, or that should be investigated, may not fit within the existing categories. It is also certainly true that there are limits to the research that can be carried out by leveraging only traditional ways of thinking and research methods. Moving forward, we must embark on new endeavours without being bound by existing classifications.

We want to foster researchers with such vitality. In reality, it is quite difficult to develop new research that goes beyond existing frameworks. Nevertheless, we want to create an environment that enables more graduate students (and teachers!) to tackle such challenges, by underlining the message that the barriers between fields can be overcome. I hope that the transition to a single institute will help. It is my fervent hope that changing the structure and organisation of the university will accelerate the development of such researchers.

August, 2021

Graduate Institute for Advanced Studies

We have started to consider the transition from a system of twenty departments in six schools to a system of 20-program under the Graduate Institute for Advanced Studies.
This will enable us to establish a system that allows us to flexibly build educational resources from highly specialized inter-university research institutes (parent institutes) to foster the next generation of researchers who can tackle complex and interdisciplinary issues.

*The figure below is the plan as of April 1, 2022, and is subject to change.