Study Abroad in Japan

  • UH LIS students in 2012 at the University of Tsukuba

The UH LIS Program encourages students to add international experience to their studies by taking a semester or year abroad as part of our exchange agreement with the University of Tsukuba Graduate School of Library, Information and Media Studies. Courses are offered in English as part of their international program. They offer different courses each academic year, which are listed at their website. This will be of interest especially for those studying Asian Librarianship or Asian Informatics. Students with Japanese fluency can take even more courses.

The University of Tsukuba has Japan’s largest graduate program in LIS, and one of the largest iSchools worldwide. In fact the program began as an independent university, University of Library and Information Science (ULIS, 図書館情報大学 Toshokan jōhō daigaku). Which merged with the University of Tsukuba. Some of their other exchange partners include iSchools at Pusan National University, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, University of Copenhagen, Stuttgart Media University and the Russian State University for the Humanities.

The school is located a 10-minute walk from the Tsukuba Station, which is a 45-minute express train ride to Akihabara (Tokyo’s otaku and tech neighborhood). Tsukuba is called Japan’s Science City, and is home to JAXA — Japan’s NASA — and around 300 national research institutes. The university is located on a beautiful large campus, which is very green and bike friendly. The university is in the top 10 of Japanese public universities, and is home to three Nobel prize winners. One can easily survive in town as there many international researchers. The city even has a “Hawaii Restaurant HANAUMA” and a Rainbow Cafe if you get homesick.

History of the Exchange

UHM Professors Asato, Harada, and Wertheimer visited the University of Tsukuba in Spring 2009 to attend the third Asia-Pacific Conference on Library & Information Education and Practice (A-LIEP) conference. We were very impressed with their faculty and students. Over time we developed a relationship — starting with an informal exchange of students. Dr. Asato and Wertheimer took two cohorts of UHM students for one to two week visits of Japanese libraries and archives. Tsukuba professors Mizoue and Donkai brought Tsukuba students for observation in Honolulu libraries. We’ve also been visited by other Tsukuba faculty and staff over the years. In 2014, we were able to make this a campus-wide agreement for formal exchange of students. This is being renewed in 2019.

Advice for Students

Students in LIS should contact their adviser early on to plan on taking core courses early in their program. Although LIS is the home base for the exchange, students should plan early for the program and be aware of the deadlines. Students should work with their adviser and Dr. Wertheimer to coordinate classes to make sure they will transfer to their LIS degree.  Classes taken at Tsukuba will count as “Transfer Credit” meaning they will “transfer in and appear on your Transfer Report. The grades you earn abroad do not affect your cumulative UHM GPA.” The preferred GPA requirement is 3.0.

Application is made via the UH MIX Office.

Academic Year Exchanges:

  • Application Opens: August 1st
  • Application Deadline: December 1st

Spring Exchanges:

  • Application Opens: January 1st
  • Application Deadline: May 1st

For more information: