Careers After Graduation in Japanese Studies

Careers After Graduation in Japanese Studies

A large proportion of graduates proceed to further research and to careers in academia.

Some of our graduates have also gone on to successful careers in many different countries in diverse areas of employment such as international organisations, the media, government, business and finance.


JREC-IN Portal

JREC-IN Portal is an informative portal site that supports the career development and skills building of researchers, research assistants, technicians and other research-related human resources.


Our former students

Dr Michael Rivera King, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies 2011-2012

Michael has been appointed as the new chief executive of The Japan Society. You can read more about his appointment here. Michael starts in mid-June and is keen to engage a broader membership so please reach out to him if you would like to learn more or have any ideas to share.

Irene Milana, MPhil in Modern Japanese Studies  2013-15

Worked in PR in Tokyo for a Japanese food manufacturer.  Currently Coordinator for Japanese TV productions in Europe; I aid Japanese productions who plan to film in Italy (and other European countries) both in the research and in the filming.

Moyuan Zeng, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies 2015-2016

Studying at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, Oxford is an immensely rewarding experience that one cannot miss. The best part is undoubtedly the access to great minds. It is fulfilling not because of the brand and ranking, but the environment provides a strong impetus for students to think independently and challenge their limits both academically and mentally. Anyone who studies here can expect to leave with a set of skills and a mind-set that would be beneficial to whatever they pursue in the future.

Kay E. Makishi, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies 2015-2016

My time as an MSc student in Modern Japanese Studies at Oxford was phenomenal. It was a space where I could explore and challenge norms, concepts, concepts of concepts, and everything in between. For me, it had been six years since last being in an academic setting at the start of my program and I was quite nervous whether I could keep up with the rigour of my coursework. Yet my professors were genuinely supportive and always challenged me to keep pushing my intellectual boundaries in a non-pretentious manner which I very much appreciated. Not to mention the eclectic mix of people that make up the postgraduate demographic at Oxford. I was surrounded 24/7 by brilliant individuals and when you're placed in that sort of environment, you have no choice but to grow! If you're thinking about applying to this program, I highly recommend it. You'll be in for one academic adventure!.

Alyeska Robbins-Juarez, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies 2015-2016

Studying at the University of Oxford was a rewarding experience. The welcoming college environment along with the close proximity of the Institute for Japanese Studies made for quite a fulfilling setting. The ability to explore the college town, along with the unique rituals and friendships made, makes for the experience of a lifetime. To learn about my international region of focus while studying in a location with such a rich history is something I will not forget.

Natalia Doan, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies 2014-2015

Studying at the Nissan Institute was a wonderful experience that enriched my understanding of Japan and the world.

The faculty and the staff at the Nissan Institute are encouraging and supportive, but also challenge you to do your best. Students are able to enjoy intimate class sizes taught by leading experts in their fields, and also have access to weekly guest lecturers and the resources of the Bodleian Japanese Library, among others. The pace was demanding, but the work was intellectually exciting and worthwhile. The Nissan Institute faculty take their roles as both lecturers and supervisors seriously, and dissertation research comprises a major portion of the course. To have a world expert take time to provide thoughtful and insightful feedback on your work, especially in a 1-to-1 setting, is one of the many amazing opportunities the Nissan provides.

I think the Nissan Institute is also exemplary for its friendly, collegial atmosphere. My course mates came to Oxford with different experiences and different goals, but we shared a passion for Japan that energized all discussions, both inside the classroom and out. The teachers and coursework of the Japanese Studies course inspired me to take new approaches to the study of Japan. I will cherish the knowledge and experiences the Nissan Institute gave me for the rest of my life.

Warren Stanislaus, MPhil in Modern Japanese Studies, 2011-2013

After graduating from the Nissan Institute with a Master of Philosophy in 2013, I enjoyed a brief spell working in the Education department of the British Council in Tokyo, and from the summer of 2014 I joined the Rebuild Japan Initiative Foundation, a think tank based in Tokyo, as a research assistant.

My role is extremely varied; allowing me to build on the research skills gained during my Master's degree, as well as develops my capacity in the area of project work. While most of my time is spent preparing essays and reports on a vast number of topics, on a day to day basis I may be involved in anything from translating documents, providing logistical support for conferences, attending seminars or coming up with ideas for new projects.

I am particularly excited about the fact that my current role is helping me to place Japan in a wider context. I am constantly challenged to consider how seemingly unrelated events occurring in different parts of the world are all interconnected, and how they may also impact upon Japan. It is has certainly become clear to me that the effort to rebuild Japan is in no way purely a domestic effort.

I am very grateful to the Nissan Institute as it not only helped to develop my skills and knowledge, but also opened a whole new world of opportunities.

I still maintain my links with the Nissan Institute here in Tokyo, whether that is through meeting up with former students, or attending events organised by the Oxford office in Japan. I am very thankful that I can still play an active role in the Nissan Institute, and indeed the wider Oxford community.

Richard Banfield, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2012-2013

I had a fantastic time doing the MSc in Modern Japanese studies at the Nissan Institute. Both the faculty and our class have been made of absolutely impressive individuals making discussions in the class rooms a great learning experience. I took the Anthropology and Economics modules and enjoyed both very much.

Besides the course, Oxford offers unparalleled curricular activities. There are societies for pretty much everything and everyone. I myself joined several orchestras and chamber music groups as well as the rowing club of my college. Not to forget countless formal dinners in beautiful halls and college balls!

Since completing the MSc in Modern Japanese Studies I have returned to work with McKinsey where I consult clients across Europe and Asia, mostly in the Automotive and Consumer industries

Massimiliano Colonna, MPhil in Modern Japanese Studies 2011-2013

I graduated with a Master of Philosophy from the Nissan Institute in 2013. The focus of my research is the role of the Internet and new ICTs in the political debate, taking Japan as a case of study.

My experience has been extremely positive. The teachers are fantastic, the courses interesting, varied and well structured, the staff is helpful and welcoming... the building itself is a beautiful place!

I am now in Washington, D.C. working as a Communications Associate with Search for Common Ground, an international NGO in the field of conflict resolution, with offices in more than 30 countries.

Looking back at my two years at Oxford, I cannot overstate the importance that they had on my personal, academic and professional growth. If you are considering coming here, well, you're making a very good choice!

Adrian Haight, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2011-2012

I went from the MSc in Modern Japanese Studies to the Said Business School MBA as one of the first 1+1 students.  After working for Johnson & Johnson as a Product Manager Intern, Adrian is now an International Associate at a large Canadian financial institution.  "I found my time at the Nissan Institute hugely enjoyable.  The Professors were engaging, the course material was diverse and challenging, and the MSc Program was valuable to my personal and career development".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (, 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.

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.

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.

Anna Schrade, MSc in Modern Japanese Studies, 2009-2010

Seeing my dream come true, I’m back in Japan, working as Assistant Professor at the University of Kobe, Japan. While I devote most of my time to my own research, I also teach undergraduate classes.

After completing my MSc in Modern Japanese Studies I stayed on for a DPhil in History under the supervision of Dr Sho Konishi from the Nissan Institute, with financial support from Pembroke College. Between 2011 and 2013, I was Monbukagakusho scholar at the University of Tokyo, and did extensive field research on Japan’s anti-pollution movements in the 1950s and 1960s. Back in Oxford, I worked as a tutor in History, teaching Modern Japanese History to Oxford undergraduate students in HT 2013. As I love teaching, I also started my own company, LEOX summer school OXFORD.

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

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.