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What is KCJS?

Established in September 1989, the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies (KCJS, 京都アメリカ大学コンソーシアム) is a consortium of 13 American universities that sponsors a rigorous, two-semester program for undergraduates who wish to do advanced work in Japanese language and cultural studies during the academic year. In 2009, summer courses in classical and advanced Japanese were added, followed by the addition of a second-year Japanese course in 2014 and a third-year Japanese course in 2016.

2015 group photo

Participants of KCJS Summer Programs in 2015 with the instructors


Participating institutions are: Boston University, Brown University, University of Chicago, Columbia University/Barnard College, Cornell University, Emory University, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Stanford University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Yale University, in association with the University of Virginia.


Students at institutions outside of the consortium are also welcome and encouraged to apply.

KCJS is centrally located in Kyoto on the Imadegawa campus of Doshisha University (同志社大学), bounded on the south by the Imperial Palace grounds, and to the northeast by Shokokuji temple.

To read a brief description of the history of KCJS, please click here.

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Overview of Summer Programs

Our six-week (Classical Japanese) and eight-week (Modern Japanese) study abroad programs offer intensive language training in Kyoto. This is an excellent opportunity if you would like to:

  • – Live in Kyoto, one of the most beautiful and historical cities in the world;
  • – Raise your Japanese language proficiency to a higher level in a short period of time;
  • – Learn classical Japanese if such a course is not offered at your institution;
  • – Participate in a variety of hands-on cultural experiences in a city steeped in history and renowned for its traditional and modern artists, artisans, and musicians. A special highlight of our summer programs is the opportunity to participate in activities organized specifically for KCJS students in conjunction with the famous Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival).

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About Kyoto and Doshisha

Kyoto: Where Traditional Meets Modern

Since it was founded in 1989, KCJS has been based in Kyoto. KCJS offers students the unique opportunity to study and live in a culturally rich environment and to explore the heart of Japan.

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As the country’s old capital, Kyoto is brimming with historical monuments, temples and shrines that you may have read about in history textbooks or in works by distinguished authors such as Murasaki Shikibu, Kawabata Yasunari, Tanizaki Junichiro and Mishima Yukio. These places are embedded in everyday Kyoto life. Kyoto is also the center of traditional arts and crafts such as Nishijin brocade, Kyo ningyo (dolls) and Kiyomizu porcelain that reflect the beauty of Japanese culture and the highly refined skills of local artisans.

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While traditional styles remain strong, Kyoto also has a modern face. In department stores and specialized shops throughout the city, you can observe firsthand how traditional arts and crafts incorporate modern tastes. Kyoto cuisine also stems from traditional roots, but exhibits a contemporary flair. Cafés, bakeries, restaurants, and izakaya abound, so you will have a wealth of choices from which to sample local delicacies and also keep up with current food trends.

With its unique atmosphere in which the present and the past are interwoven, and where peaceful, serene sites of historical and religious significance are nestled amongst vibrant, contemporary shopping and dining districts, Kyoto is an exceptionally welcoming and comfortable place that you will come to call home.

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About Doshisha University

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Clarke Memorial Hall, one of the historic buildings on the Doshisha campus

Location. Doshisha University’s Imadegawa campus, where KCJS is located, is bounded on the south by the Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) and to the northeast by the renowned Shokoku-ji Temple. There is a subway station (Karasuma-Imadegawa) directly underneath the campus, which makes your commute and trips to the city center very easy. City buses regularly stop in front of the campus, too.

KCJS is located in the Fusokan building on the Imadegawa campus of Doshisha University. This building houses administrative and staff offices, classrooms, and a library, which was just moved in May 2013 to a newly renovated space and renamed the Doshisha Global Archives. Roughly four times the size of our previous site in the same building, there is now abundant space for individual and group study, and we encourage students to meet there with their KCJS classmates as well as conversation partners from Doshisha and Kyodai.

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(left) Fusokan building, where KCJS is located
(right) Doshisha Global Archives (interior)

KCJS students also have access to a wide range of on-campus facilities including the main library, Learning Commons, computer labs, cafeteria, university Co-op bookstore, stationery shop, travel agency, and convenience store.

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History. Originally established in 1875 as Doshisha Eigakko (Academy) by Joseph Hardy Neesima, Doshisha University has always been regarded as one of the top private universities in Japan. Neesima studied at Phillips Academy and Amherst College after defying an overseas travel ban and leaving for the United States in 1864. After graduating from college, he entered a seminary and learned the importance of conscience and liberty according to Christian values. With this experience, Neesima returned to Japan with a strong ambition to establish a Christian university. Neesima died in 1890, at the age of 46, without fulfilling his dream, but others who shared his ambition finally established Doshisha University in 1912.

Currently, Doshisha University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The university comprises 13 undergraduate programs, 31 departments, The Center for Japanese Language and Culture, and 14 graduate schools including two professional schools (the law school and graduate school of business), and has a student body of over 29,000 students.

(clockwise from top left) Ryoshinkan (view from Karasuma-dori), inside of Ryoshinkan, Multimedia Lounge in Learning Commons, one of the open plaza areas

(clockwise from top left) Cafeteria, beverage section of the convenience store, bookstore, snack section of the convenience store

With the opening in April 2013 of Doshisha’s “Learning Commons” in the new Ryoshinkan building adjacent to the Fusokan, KCJS students now have state-of-the-art areas for individual and group study with remarkable technological innovations, and it is possible to snack while studying in the “Info Diner” section of this new space. The Ryoshinkan also houses multiple student lounges, a new café/bakery, a large bookstore, a convenience store, travel agency, and a significantly expanded cafeteria with more abundant food choices (including a salad bar). In addition, there are two new open plaza areas just outside the Ryoshinkan building with some tables where students can sit and socialize. Aside from these sites on campus, there are also multiple places immediately nearby where one can sit or stroll on a nice day, for example on the grounds of the Imperial Palace.

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Open plaza area with Ryoshinkan (left) and chapel (right)

For more information about Doshisha University, please visit the official website.

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Access

Information on access to Kyoto, Doshisha University, and KCJS is available HERE in PDF format.

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Feedback from alumni about the KCJS Summer Programs

“I think this program was a great experience in every sense and I believe future participants should take full advantage of the opportunity.”

“Love the program! (I) would recommend to everyone interested!”

“The program has a strong focus on academics (more so than some other programs), and is more intense.”

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Comments from alumni about living and studying in Kyoto

“The past two months have been absolutely amazing, giving me greater insight into the Japanese language and Japanese culture. I would recommend the program to anyone who is looking to improve their Japanese and experience life in Japan’s ancient capital.”

“I had a very good experience in Kyoto both in the class and outside the class. Our professor is very nice and helpful. Even though the course is intensive, you will learn a lot.”

“It is a wonderful experience here. Living at a place full of tradition and history is not something you get everyday. It’s priceless. I loved the perfect mix of the old and new and I loved my bike ride to and from school everyday, blending myself with the people and the culture. You will love it here!”

“I liked learning classical Japanese at Kyoto, since it’s easy to go explore the historical sites mentioned in the texts we read in class, which deepens my appreciation/understanding of classical Japanese texts and Japanese history/literature in general.”

“This is one of very few Japan-based summer language programs open to graduate students. It is a good program that meets students at their current skills level and provides opportunities for improvement in all four language learning areas.”

“Everyone in the class, though we all had different strengths/weaknesses, were at a similar level, so it was a perfect fit.”

“Nakamura-sensei is a fantastic teacher and communicator who did an excellent job engaging the class.”

“Yamaoka-sensei’s teaching was very effective and stimulating.”

“My conversation partner was a lot of fun to be around. We met more often than the required hours and got to talk about a wide range of topics. I will keep in touch with him after the program ends.”

“It would be great to continue or even expand the individual sessions [in the advanced program]. They were definitely the strongest part of the course and it was what I needed to improve my skills. At this point, I know what I am interested in so being able to chose my own topics motivated me to work harder.”

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OFFICE OF GLOBAL PROGRAMS/COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Office of Global Programs

606 Kent Hall
Columbia University
1140 Amsterdam, Mail Code 3948
New York, NY 10027 USA
Tel: 212-854-2559
Fax: 212-854-5164
Email: ogp@columbia.edu

Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies 京都アメリカ大学コンソーシアム

Doshisha University, 2F Fusokan
Karasuma Higashi-iru, Imadegawa-dori
Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8580 JAPAN

602-8580
京都市上京区今出川通烏丸東入
同志社大学 扶桑館2F

Tel: 075-251-4995
Tel: (+81-75-251-4995)
Fax: 075-229-6300
Fax: (+81-75-229-6300)
Email: fs2244@columbia.edu