Family-Run Universities in Japan: Sources of Inbuilt Resilience in the Face of Demographic Pressure, 1992-2030

ISBN : 9780198863496

Jeremy Breaden; Roger Goodman
256 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Jul 2020
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  • Provides an in-depth historical, sociological, and ethnographic analysis of Japanese higher education from the standpoint of the private sector which, despite being numerically dominant in Japan, is often overlooked
  • Sheds light on family owned and managed higher education institutions which are a rapidly-growing phenomenon across many parts of the world
  • Situates family-run universities within the wider context of family business studies

Globally, private universities enrol one in three of all higher education students. In Japan, which has the second largest higher education system in the world in terms of overall expenditure, almost 80% of all university students attend private institutions. According to some estimates up to 40% of these institutions are family businesses in the sense that members of a single family have substantive ownership or control over their operation. This book offers a detailed historical, sociological, and ethnographic analysis of this important, but largely under-studied, category of private universities as family business. It examines how such universities in Japan have negotiated a period of major demographic decline since the 1990s: their experiments in restructuring and reform, the diverse experiences of those who worked and studied within them and, above all, their unexpected resilience. It argues that this resilience derives from a number of 'inbuilt' strengths of family business which are often overlooked in conventional descriptions of higher education systems and in predictions regarding the capacity of universities to cope with dramatic changes in their operating environment. This book offers a new perspective on recent changes in the Japanese higher education sector and contributes to an emerging literature on private higher education and family business across the world.


Introduction: The 'Puzzle' of Japan's Resilient Private Universities
1: The Predicted Implosion of Japan's Private Higher Education System
2: Japanese Private Universities in Comparative Perspective
3: A University under Fire: A Short Ethnography of MGU 1992-2007
4: MGU 2008-2018: The Law School and Other Reforms
5: The Resilience of Japan's Private Universities
6: Private Universities as Family Business

About the author: 

Jeremy Breaden, Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies, Monash University, and Roger Goodman, Nissan Professor of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford
Jeremy Breaden lectures in Japanese and Asian Studies in the School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics at Monash University, Australia. His research focuses on education and employment systems in contemporary Japan and East Asia. His previous works include The Organisational Dynamics of University Reform in Japan (2013) and Articulating Asia in Japanese Higher Education (2018).
Roger Goodman is Nissan Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Oxford. His previous publications include Japan's 'International Youth' (1990), Children of the Japanese State (2000), Family and Social Policy in Japan (2002), and A Sociology of Japanese Youth (2011).

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