Nissan Seminar: Family-Run Universities in Japan

Convener(s): Professor Hugh Whittaker, Dr Natalia Doan and Dr Giulio Pugliese

Speaker(s): Dr. Jeremy Breaden, Monash University, and Professor Roger Goodman, University of Oxford

These seminars will occur live and will not be recorded. Unauthorized recording is strictly prohibited.

Please click on the seminar title to register in advance and receive the meeting details.

Family-Run Universities in Japan


In Japan 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 paper 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. 


Jeremy Breaden is Senior Lecturer in Japanese Studies at Monash University. His previous books include The Organisational Dynamics of University Reform in Japan (2013) and Articulating Asia in Japanese Higher Education (2018)

Roger Goodman is Nissan Professor of Modern Japanese Studies and Warden of St Antony's College, University of Oxford. His previous books include Japan's 'International Youth' (1990), Children of the Japanese State (2000) and A Sociology of Japanese Youth (2011).