The Center for Japanese Studies supports research on Japan and the Japanese American experience. CJS provides a forum for related academic activities and the free exchange of ideas. The Center is committed to preparing PSU students to become leaders in business, government, arts, and the academy by fostering cross-cultural understanding. It seeks to facilitate understanding of Japan as well as the Japanese American experience among students, faculty, and the greater Portland community through a variety of curricular and outreach programs.
A Word from the Center for Japanese Studies Director, Professor Ken Ruoff:
I am often asked what makes Japanese Studies at Portland State University (PSU) unique. In some ways, we are not unique, and in fact model ourselves after older programs in Japanese Studies at institutions such as Columbia University and Harvard University. But there are also some ways that our program is distinct. First, there is no other university in the United States with a profile similar to PSU (e.g., many of our students are the first in their families to attend college) that has such a strong program in Japanese Studies. Higher education already can be transformative, but add to the equation study abroad in a country like Japan, and one has a truly life transforming formula. Second, we have a particularly strong and popular Japanese language program, so much so that we are a rare university in the continental United States where Japanese has the second most number of majors (after Spanish)! Third, interest among PSU students in Japanese Studies, already unusually high, is remaining steady and even growing. Finally, in a way that distinguished guests such as Carol Gluck find admirable and unparalleled, the Center for Japanese Studies profoundly links Japanese Studies at PSU with individuals and organizations in the broader Portland community who share an interest in Japan in a manner that produces wonderful synergy. For more about how PSU fosters connections with and understanding of Japan, see link below.
Oregon and Beyond
Located in downtown Portland, PSU has the most comprehensive program in Japanese Studies in the greater Portland metropolitan area that includes Vancouver, Washington. Internationally-recognized faculty offer a variety of courses in Japanese language, art, economics, geography, history, international management, literature and theater, and politics.
PSU's special relationship with Waseda University, Japan's preeminent private university located in Tokyo Japan's capital, makes PSU an especially exciting center of Japanese studies. Waseda selected PSU as the location for its American branch. Numerous exchange programs are available for students from both universities. Likewise, faculty of the two universities have a variety of research options available for study outside their home cities.
PSU also maintains a longstanding relationship with Hokkaido University, one of Japan's premier public universities. Hokkaido University is located in Sapporo, a Portland Sister City in Japan. Summer exchange opportunities allow students to not only study Japanese in Japan but also to live with a Japanese host family during their time in Sapporo.
The Center for Japanese Studies facilitates student and faculty exchanges with Waseda University, Hokkaido University, and other Japanese institutions of higher learning through a series of scholarships and grants.