Henna Valkama, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2009-2010

After completing my MSc in Modern Japanese Studies at the Nissan Institute I got a job in Japan at the Tokyo headquarter of IHI, a large Japanese manufacturing company. I was a buyer and did business with major Japanese companies on a daily basis, using Japanese.

I left Japan after a year and relocated to Helsinki, Finland where I currently work as the Marketing Manager of a tourism-related company which organises tours, specialist visits etc targeted at Japanese customers. I mainly use Japanese in my job.

Justin Fitzpatrick, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2009-2010

After graduating from Oxford I completed my Masters in Finance at the London Business School (LBS), during which time I worked for a London-based venture capital fund. After graduating from LBS I founded the London office for a US company that provides real-time foreign news analysis, and launched its product in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Currently, I'm the COO/CFO of Duedil (www.duedil.com), the best source of information on UK and Irish businesses, where I'm responsible for all commercial, operational and financial aspects of the company.

Justin also earned the award of Distinction for his MSc and was the winner of the Arthur Stockwin Best Dissertation Prize.

Sam Copley, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2010-2011

After completing my studies in Oxford, I moved to Paris to work as a journalist and editor for a number of publications and a translator (Japanese/French/English) for a luxury goods company. In April 2013, on behalf of the Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l'Océanie in Marseille, I will travel to a remote region of the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, where I will live for a year with a tribe as a research assistant to an anthropologist. I hope to be the first Brit to enter this particular region. My time at Oxford armed me with both the language and research skills necessary to succeed in my chosen professional fields.

Brett Clancy, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2010-2011

After graduating from the MSc in Modern Japanese Studies course I returned to Tokyo to run a real estate and venture capital investment fund. In addition, I am the professor of corporate finance on the Rikkyo University MBA program.

At the Nissan Institute I took the politics and economics modules and, through them, increased substantially my knowledge of Japan’s political structure and economic history. Such knowledge is of considerable help both in providing depth to my own financial teaching and also in deciphering some of the idiosyncrasies of Japanese business life. I highly recommend the course to anyone who has an interest in Japan or Japanese business.

As part of the MSc degree I wrote a dissertation examining a recent case of bank failure in Japan. A couple of years later, after much editing and revising, the dissertation was published as an academic article in the Social Science Japan Journal, Volume 17, Number 2, Summer 2014 under the title 'Lending to Lemons'. Having not been published before, I found the process of getting from dissertation to article both challenging and fascinating and, finally, very rewarding. This too I recommend to students who would like to do something constructive with their dissertations after graduating.

Brett also earned the award of Distinction for his MSc and was the winner of the Arthur Stockwin Best Dissertation Prize.


Yuuki Shigemoto, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2011-2012

I am currently a visiting Scholar at BKC Research Organization of Social Science / Research Associate at Design Management Lab, Ritsumeikan University (Japan): PhD in Engineering (2013-2016) at the Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge.

Learning at Oxford was challenging, but a greatly interesting and encouraging experience for me.  The course provided me with a wide range of knowledge concerning modern Japan, and I was particularly attracted by diversified views of people from all over the world to Japan where I come from.  The study at the university expanded my views to the world and pushed me to get on to a PhD course at Cambridge University.  I am sure that Oxford is a great place to try your best towards a brighter future.

Aleksandra Kaniewska, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2007-2008

I am now a Policy Analyst at the Civic Institute in Warsaw, a political think tank affiliated with the Polish centre-right party, the Civic Platform; journalist and editor.

The MSc in Modern Japanese Studies provided an ideal stepping stone in my aspiration to become an expert on Japan and its contemporary culture and society. Since my graduation in 2008, I have been working in the area of political analysis, mostly balancing research, analysis, and outreach. I retained my strong interest in Japan and have been providing commentaries on Japanese gender issues and the geopolitics of East Asia to various Polish media outlets (print and TV). Nissan Institute is a truly inspiring place to begin your academic journey, offering an opportunity to inter-relate on a very close basis with leading and prospective experts in all fields of academia. Since the University of Oxford ranks amongst the most reputable higher education institutions in the world, this degree will have proven crucial for my future career.

Ian Rapley, MPhil in Modern Japanese Studies, 2007-2009

After completing the MPhil in 2009, I went on to do a DPhil in modern Japanese history.  My doctoral work was a history of the planned language Esperanto in early twentieth century Japan, and my wider research interests include language and history, transnational movements especially across Asia, local histories, and alternative narratives of twentieth century Japan.  In Michaelmas term 2013 I taught the history course for the MSc/MPhil in Modern Japanese Studies.  I now work as a lecturer in history at Cardiff University.

My background was in maths and finance, but I found the modern Japanese studies programme, the faculty, and the broader resources available at Oxford both intellectually stimulating and really helpful in enabling me to get up to speed in working within the humanities and social sciences

Mike Maher-King, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2011-2012

I loved studying here at the Nissan Institute and felt very well supported from the moment I applied to the Modern Japanese Studies course.  I was fortunate to receive a Nissan Institute Bursary.  After 7 years away from education I had been nervous about coming back to studying but the entire academic and support staff were amazing, ensuring that I had no problems at all.

Prior to this course I had lived in Japan for five years, teaching on the JET programme, and doing charity work with child welfare institutions.  My research focus during the masters was on these child welfare institutions, focusing on educational outcomes of care-leavers.  Whilst I initially planned to only do the masters I fell in love with studying again and with the support of the Nissan Institute staff I successfully applied for a second masters and a doctorate in Social Policy, studying policy around children in care in Japan.  I was very fortunate that I received full ESRC funding for this further study, and know that I was only able to receive this thanks to the excellent Modern Japanese Studies Masters.

My masters and research at the Nissan Institute has formed the bedrock of all my further studies, as well as giving me very many happy memories. I cannot recommend this course highly enough.

In August 2014 I had an article published in the monthly newsletter CLAIR - The Council for Local Authorities and International Relations (Japanese central gov department) about his time in Japan on the JET programme which also touches on his time in Oxford.  It is in both Japanese and English.

In September 2014 I had my last thesis published in the Better Care Network newsletter.

Philipp Voulgaris, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2009-2010

Senior Manager - Head of Sales Planning, Order Management, Governance & Processes, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation/Daimler Trucks Asia

After graduating from the MSc Modern Japanese Studies Programme at the Nissan Institute in October 2010, I decided to work in Japan for a few years to utilize my Japanese as well as my business skills. In 2011, I joined a German/Japanese automotive company located in the Tokyo/Kanagawa area. Being able to converse fluently in Japanese and having an in-depth understanding of Japanese culture and practices has definitely supported my everyday work performance here in Japan. The language training as well as the "Oxford thinking" one adopts while studying at the Nissan Institute have become invaluable assets for me personally and in my career development; and both, I feel, are also highly appreciated by my co-workers.

As a next step, after a few years in Japan, I may opt for new opportunities/locations within the company and/or will aim towards an additional degree (PhD or MBA) in parallel to my employment. No matter what path I choose to take, Japanese and Japanese business relations will certainly continue to play a major role in my future, and I believe the skill-set & network acquired by having studied at the Nissan Institute in Oxford will help me along the way.

I can highly recommend the programme to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the field of Asia/Japan, whether in academia or elsewhere. I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to join the programme and the university; it was a great experience.


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