About the Office of International Affairs

Office of International Affairs - Mission and Purpose

Kitasato University founder Shibasaburo Kitasato received intensive instruction from Dutch physician Constant George van Mansvelt in Kumamoto, Kitasato's hometown, leading him to the path of medicine. While studying in Germany under Dr. Robert Koch, Kitasato produced a tremendous amount of brilliant research results. As can be seen, Kitasato University clearly has its origins in international interaction.

Office of International Affairs - Mission and Purpose

Kitasato University's Office of International Affairs was established in April 2013 as a management organization to carry out the work of internationalizing the university's education and research. The office handles planning, drafting, surveys, analysis, liaisons, coordination and other work related to the entire university's international activities.
Director's message

Masataka Majima

Masataka Majima
Director, Office of International Affairs, Kitasato University

Kitasato University specializes in life sciences and actively promotes internationalization

Kitasato University is a comprehensive university possessing seven schools specializing in life sciences. We are making the most of our distinctive characteristics and strengths to promote unique educational and research activities, including Interprofessional Health Care Program, agromedicine, infection control, Oriental medicine and collaboration between medicine and engineering. We have also been promoting internationalization of education and research.
 
The circumstances surrounding higher education in Japan have been changing greatly in tandem with diverse kinds of internationalization that have evolved in society. As the mobility of students and researchers increases, it has become imperative to invite outstanding researchers and students from the entire world and to train people to play international roles. We also need to be tolerant of other cultures at such times, recognize and resolve urgent issues that are global in scale, and promote educational and research activities linked to creating the future.
 
Kitasato University’s Office of International Affairs takes a leading role in promoting intellectual interaction (such as academic symposiums) and interaction through educational programs and advanced medical care, as well as sending student overseas and hosting international students based on partnership agreements with overseas academic institutions. There are diverse ways of making international contributions and cooperating internationally. Kitasato University promotes internationalization in its own way, making use of the university’s strengths in specialized life sciences and its cluster of hospitals.

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The wonderful thing about science is the act of publishing one’s thesis and being able to ask the world about the results

The wonderful thing about science is the ability to disseminate the results in front of you to the world by publishing academic treatises. I believe that the most important thing in preparing one’s self for internationalization is to avoid the feeling that writing a paper in English is any kind of hurdle. This is the most fundamental part of internationalization. In fact, not a few graduate students have acquired their degrees after having theses selected by top academic journals.
 
We are working to create that kind of environment. Starting with support to boost individual language skills, we believe it is our mission to demonstrate our presence as a comprehensive life sciences university internationally by training people who can play roles on the global stage and are sought after in their respective fields, as well as supporting students studying abroad, among other things.

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It is essential to invite top overseas researchers, creating a campus milieu featuring many overseas researchers

In many instances during my visits to university facilities overseas, young undergraduates or graduate students accompanied me wherever I went, providing information about university activities. I would like to see us doing something similar when researchers and faculty in many fields invite researchers from overseas. There are also sessions at academic conferences at which young researchers gather in small groups to meet professors for intimate discussions. I think it is vital to create the kind of atmosphere and environment in which researchers invited from other countries and international students can interact with everyone all around campus.
 
Substantive support is needed from our many undergraduate and graduate schools, but I would love to see us host international symposiums on campus as the fruit of such international interaction. I hope that undergraduates and graduate students will proactively participate at such times.
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We provide diverse forms of assistance

There are shortages of personnel in many different fields with the advent of an aging society that has fewer children, and there are more opportunities to carry out programs with people from other countries. People who can vigorously promote international interaction are needed. Including our health science undergraduate and graduate schools, Kitasato University conducts overseas studies and training programs with schools with which it has cooperation agreements abroad. Experiences in other countries are very important in cultivating international sensibilities. We intend to establish credit exchange and double degree programs and set up educational programs with universities overseas. However, there are several outstanding issues, including the handling of credits and the school register during overseas studies and bringing the facilities and staff needed to host numerous people from other countries up to scratch. We plan to focus first on graduate schools, where it is relatively easy to host international students, to promote practical interaction based on cooperation agreements, steadily producing results.

Interactions with researchers are something to treasure one’s whole life

Ties among individual researchers can be described as the most fundamental area that influences international interaction. I would definitely like to see you make the acquaintance of researchers from other countries that you can eventually call your close peers. I went to Boston the other day for an international academic conference and met Professor Frank Austen from Harvard University. He does research on allergies, and he was also acquainted with my mentor. Considered a “professor’s professor” at Harvard, he attracts respect and has continued to lead the global field for more than fifty years in research into leukotriene, a bioactive lipid. Since I also specialize in bioactive lipid research, I was able to get to know him through the same research field, and have been in touch with him for over three decades. He has taught me many things as a guide in life and as a researcher. I can say that I have treasured this relationship my whole life.
 
The social world of science appears broad, but in the experience of many it can also be unexpectedly restrictive. You go through what is known as the peer review process when you contribute papers. This is done to examine and evaluate your thesis carefully. All papers—even from universities that may not be famous globally—are assessed through the peer review process to check whether they are credible. In not a few cases researchers who have relationships with each other become reviewers. Relationships of trust among researchers may even have a small impact on thesis evaluations at times.
 
I would definitely like to see you use Kitasato University’s internationalization efforts as stepping stones to making acquaintanceships with overseas researchers that you can treasure your whole life.

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Purpose
The Office of International Affairs seeks to train researchers, technicians and medical personnel who will be active on the world stage, and other global personnel with the necessary skills and mindset. We seek to fulfill the university's mission by creating a campus that radiates international sensibilities. We also focus on our development as an educational and research center that draws talented personnel from around the world, provides an internationally acceptable university education—and guarantees its quality—promotes abundantly creative research originating from Kitasato University. In addition, we seek to contribute to creative collaborations through international partnerships, solve global problems through joint international research, contribute to international society through life sciences education and research, and carry out medical care and promotional activities internationally.
Description of activities
  1. Creation of a global campus (credit acquisition systems, international exchange programs, etc.)
  2. Coordination and implementation of university-wide standards
  3. External negotiations as a representative of the entire university
  4. University-wide planning for international exchanges and other matters
  5. Coordination of interdepartmental planning and implementation
  6. Assessments of achievement levels within individual programs
  7. Coordination and implementation of policies to promote internationalization
  8. Other important matters related to internationalization
Organizational structure

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Office of International Affairs personnel

Director of the Office of International Affairs
Masataka Majima (vice president)

Vice Director of the Office of International Affairs
For education: Kazuro Shiomi (Professor, Kitasato Institute for Life Sciences and Graduate School of Infection Control Sciences)
For research: Masayoshi Shichiri (Professor, Graduate School of Medical Sciences)