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Japan Studies

Contact Us

Japan Studies
Neave Denny, Administrative Coordinator
1619 Massachusetts Ave. NW
6th Floor
Washington, DC 20036
+1 (202) 663-5812


Develop a comprehensive understanding of Japan and its role in global affairs. Gain experience with real-world policy issues concerning Japan, including energy security, US-Japan cooperation, international trade, soft-power and public diplomacy, and the geopolitics of East Asia.

Become an Expert

Combine quantitative skills in economics and statistics, proficiency in the Japanese language, and deep knowledge of the political economy of this dynamic nation. Conduct field research, work under visiting scholars of the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, and undertake an internship in Japan.


Featured Courses

Gain an understanding of the significance, both economically and strategically, of Japanese political economy and the Japanese people, in the broader world, and the implications of the Japanese case beyond its own borders.


Public Diplomacy and US-Japan Cooperation

Public diplomacy is one of the most poorly understood instruments of foreign policy. This course aims to fill that knowledge gap by examining this important “soft-power” tool as a concept and how it is being put into practice, focusing on Japan, its successes and challenges.

The course covers such informational outreach and cultural exchange programs as “Cool Japan,” such cultural exports as manga, anime and traditional arts, the use of the media and the Internet, people-to-people diplomacy, language programs, and educational exchanges. In evaluating the efficacy of such programs, particularly in the US-Japan context, the course examines recent government campaigns to enhance Japan’s image and identity abroad. References also will be made to the public diplomacy programs of the United States, China, and South Korea.


Asian Energy Security

This course surveys the distinctive character of Asian energy security requirements, how they are changing over time, what political-economic forces are driving their transformation and what those requirements imply for broader economic and political-military relationships between Asia and the world. Special attention will be given to Asia’s growing energy dependence on the Middle East and the extent to which Russia and alternate sources, including nuclear power, provide a feasible and acceptable alternative.

The course will draw from cross-national comparisons among the energy security policies of China, India, Japan, Korea and Western paradigms to explore distinctive features of Asian approaches to energy security.


Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy

This course offers an introduction to modern Japanese politics and public policy, considering prospects for major changes in security and economic policy of global importance.

After a general introduction to Japanese political development since 1868, the course will explore a more detailed analysis of current political structure and processes as well as of domestic and foreign policy issues. Students will gain a better understanding on how domestic and international politics influence the functioning of the Japanese economy, especially in the current historic period of political economic change.


Post Proficiency Policy Japanese

This seminar-style language course, conducted entirely in Japanese, looks at current government policies and a wide variety of social issues.

Discussion topics include the Prime Minister's annual address to the nation; energy security; gender and class issues as well as Japan’s poignant relationships with neighboring countries based on history. Reading material included original sources such as government white papers, think tank reports, and historical archives. Class members have diverse backgrounds, both in concentrations of study and language experience, ranging from those who studied in Japanese universities to those who participated in the JET Program. At the end of the course, each student is required to produce a policy proposal presentation in Japanese examining a topic of their particular interest. To provide in-depth knowledge of the issues, the class also invites Reischauer Center Visiting Scholars to participate, including Japanese government officials, journalists and corporate representatives. While examining policy issues in this way, students work to build their proficiency in Japanese so they can use it in a professional setting in business, academia, NGOs, or government environment.

Learn From the Best

Study with world-class experts who are renowned for their scholarship, influence, and networks.

Kent Calder

Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation, Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies

Nao Matsukata

Adjunct Lecturer in Japan Studies

Arthur Alexander

Adjunct Lecturer

William Brooks

Adjunct Professor

In the News

India & China find 'mutual consensus to disengage'.

Kent E. Calder interviewed on CNBC India, 6/23

COVID-19 and national responses, part 1 of 2: Asia and Europe.

Kent E. Calder and Matthias Matthijs cited in MultiBriefs, 6/3

East Asia offers mixed lessons in COVID-19 response

Kent E. Calder interviewed in Johns Hopkins Hub, 5/13

Countries reopen after flattening coronavirus curve

Kent E. Calder quoted on Voice of America, 4/20

A new world order

Kent E. Calder’s book highlighted in Johns Hopkins HUB, 4/10

Donald Trump's puzzling teflon presidency.

Kent E. Calder wrote in Kyodo News, 12/20

Best books of 2019: Politics.

Kent E. Calder’s book cited in Financial Times, 11/22

Saudi Arabia, Japan, and the world beyond oil.

Kent E. Calder wrote in in Kyodo News, 9/17

Advance Your Career

Gain the intellectual framework and analytic skills necessary to enter a variety of roles across the public, private, multilateral, and nonprofit sectors.

Recent Internships

  • American Chamber of Commerce
  • Asian Development Bank Institute
  • Daiwa Securities
  • Japan Center for Economic Research
  • Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
  • US Embassy in Tokyo

Recent Employers

  • ConsenSys
  • Deloitte
  • Government of Japan
  • KPMG
  • McLarty Associates
  • Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan
  • Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
  • US Department of Energy

Build Your Network

Join a diverse, accomplished, influential community of scholars, practitioners, alumni, and students working across sectors in 140 countries around the world.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students

Students met with Johns Hopkins SAIS alumna Kathy Matsui, vice chair and chief Japan strategist for global investment bank Goldman Sachs, during a trip to Japan.

Johns Hopkins SAIS students in Japan

Students in the Japan Studies Program form lasting connections both inside and outside the classroom.

A Cross-Cultural Education

"Bologna was great because you get to know everybody in the program well, and for someone like me who had never studied European politics that closely, you’re exposed to a whole new history and political system that helps to give you an international perspective."

View Story

Gaining Expertise on the Political Economy

We sat down with Japan Studies PhD candidate Zongyuan Liu to talk about her research and teaching experience at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

View Story


Check back soon for upcoming events.

Beyond the Classroom

Explore Japan's international affairs up close through study treks, internships, and exciting research opportunities.

Japan Club

Bringing together classmates school-wide interested in Japan, this extracurricular club offers networking opportunities with alumni and professionals active in Japanese markets, culture, and policy.

Contact Us

World-Class Events

Hear groundbreaking research from leading scholars and practitioners at our weekly seminars. Recent sessions have explored topics including Asian energy security, Japanese soft power and public diplomacy, and US-Japan cooperation.

Study Treks

The program offers field trips every year to destinations in the United States and Japan such as the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, business and media offices in Washington DC, and visits with distinguished alumni.

Networking Events

During your studies, you will have many opportunities to network with alumni and professionals and organize student-led events exploring pressing issues in Japan outside the classroom.