Program Activities
Events Calendar
Our Alumni

Japan is changing, both in security and economic affairs, after a generation of drift. The Japan Studies Program, with accomplished scholars, policy-experienced professionals and real-world work opportunities for students, is catching the wave. Johns Hopkins SAIS is one of the few International Relations graduate programs to offer a concentration focused specifically on Japan. The Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies [2], closely affiliated to the program, supports these efforts by conducting policy-relevant research and providing links to Asian Studies in general. 

The Japan Studies Program gives students in-depth knowledge of many facets of Japan and familiarity with Japanese history, politics, society, and foreign policy relations. It designed to provide the students multi-disciplinary understanding of Japan through coursework, seminars and events at the Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies [2], working with the Reischauer Center Visiting Scholars, research opportunities including publishing, class trips, and internships. The curriculum helps prepare students for careers in business, government, journalism, research, and a variety of other professional fields.

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  • [3]
    Director of Asia Programs, Director of Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies
    Washington, D.C.
    Email [5]

Program Activities


Research Opportunities

The Japan Studies Program offers students the opportunity to work with experienced scholars and practitioners in small-group settings. One highlight is for students to undertake travel-study and publish their findings in the US-Japan Relations Yearbook, which has been published yearly for over a quarter-century and is unique in its field. The volume is circulated, in both English and Japanese, to various institutions including the US Congress, the Japanese Diet, as well as think tanks, universities and experts in both countries.


The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies

The Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS supports the research and study of transpacific and intra-Asian relations to advance mutual understanding between Northeast Asia and the United States. Among the Reischauer Center's diverse activities are the Northeast Asia Political Economy Seminar, the US-Japan Relations Yearbook, the Visiting scholar programs, the US-Japan policy dialogue, international conferences, Reischauer Memorial Lectures, student summer internship support in Japan, student scholarships, the Asia-Pacific Policy Papers Series, and the Tokyo-Reischauer Group (online transpacific discussion on US-Japan relations). Learn more about the Reischauer Center [6].

Videos of past events are available for viewing on the Reischauer Center's website [7].


Co-curricular Activities

Japan Studies offers field trips every year to destinations in the United States and Japan such as the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, business and media offices in Washington, DC, and visits with distinguished alumni.



Japan Studies students have the opportunity to travel to Japan under the auspices of the Reischauer Center Summer Internship Program. Since sending its first intern in 1984, the Center has sent over 100 students to Japan to work in Japanese and American organizations for 10 weeks during the summer. The program allows the interns to cultivate their language proficiency, develop working skills pertinent to their future careers, and enhance their cultural understanding.

Students who have sufficient Japanese language skills, a desire to be immersed in a Japanese work environment, and acceptable grades are encouraged to apply for a summer internship.

Successful applicants are given roundtrip tickets to and from Japan, housing, and, in many cases, stipends to defray local expenses. The Center makes all housing arrangements.

Examples of where the students have interned in the past:


  • Kyodo News
  • Mainichi Shimbun

Corporations and financial institutions:

  • American Chamber of Commerce
  • ING Barings
  • Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
  • Toyota
  • Daiwa Securities

Research organizations:

  • Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI)
  • The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ)
  • Japan Center for Economic Research (JCER)
  • Mitsubishi Research Institute
  • Mitsui Global Strategic Studies Institute (MGSSI)
  • Nomura Research

Government-related institutions:

  • US Embassy in Tokyo
  • Diet Members

    Xuan Wang '14, Interned at Daiwa Securities in summer 2013


Japan Studies provides at least some fellowship support to all students.


SAIS Japan Club

Johns Hopkins SAIS Japan Club, run by Japan Studies students, students at the school with an interest in Japan, and Reischauer Center Visiting Sholars, aims at helping students to learn about Japanese language and culture. 

The club holds a weekly language table and other cultural events such as happy hour at Japanese restaurants, a cherry blossom picnic, participation in the Johns Hopkins SAIS International Dinner, movie nights, and karaoke with Georgetown University's Japan Club. 




Japan Studies | MA Academic Requirements

Japan Studies Program Learning Goals and Objectives [8]

Entering Class 2017-2018

MA students must take the equivalent of 16 non-language courses (64 credits) in order to graduate. Those students who are approved for dual degree or advanced standing may only need to take 12 courses (48 credits) or 14 courses (56 credits) as approved by Academic Affairs.

Students concentrating in Japan Studies must take at least 4 courses within this program.
Japan Studies concentrators must also fulfill the requirements for the field of Asian Studies, which include 2 Asian Studies area courses outside of Japan Studies.
Students in Japan Studies also have the option of pursuing a specialization in the International Relations of Asia [11] (AsiaIR).



Students must complete 16 credits. The four required courses are:

  • Microeconomics
  • Macroeconomics (prerequisite or concurrent: Microeconomics)
  • International Trade Theory (prerequisite: Microeconomics)
  • International Monetary Theory (prerequisite: Macroeconomics)

If a student passes a waiver exam [12] in one of these areas, the student must take a replacement International Economics program course(s) to fulfill the concentration requirement.

Starting with the entering class of Fall 2017, students who pass Microeconomics in Pre-Term [13] will have the concentration reduced to 12 credits, but still must complete Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory (or a replacement course(s) if waiver exam(s) passed). The Pre-Term Microeconomics course is not for credit and is not factored into the GPA.

Beyond the requirements, many students choose to pursue an International Economics Specialization [14] in one of four areas of economics. Students may also choose to specialize in Emerging Markets [15].

Concentration GPA Requirement
Students must achieve a combined GPA of at least 2.67 in four (or three if Microeconomics is passed in Pre-Term) required International Economics program courses or they must retake the course(s) until a 2.67 concentration GPA is achieved. In the standard case, the concentration GPA will be the average of the grades of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory, and International Monetary Theory.

If one or more of the four standard courses is waived, the school will use the highest grade(s) from any eligible replacement International Economics program course(s) to compute the International Economics concentration GPA.



Students must complete one course from the list below.

  • Statistical Methods for Business & Economics 
  • Econometrics (prerequisite Statistical Methods for Business & Economics)
  • Applied Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
  • Macro Econometrics (prerequisite Econometrics)
  • Risk Analysis and Modeling
  • Quantitative Global Economics (prerequisite International Monetary Theory)
  • Credit Markets & Credit Risk (prerequisite Corporate Finance)

Students may not double-count the same course toward the Quantitative Reasoning requirement and as an International Economics concentration course and vice-versa.

If a student passes the statistics waiver exam, the student must take an alternate course from the list above to fulfill the Quantitative Reasoning requirement.

Starting with the entering class of Fall 2017, students who pass Statistical Methods for Business & Economics in Pre-Term [13] will have fulfilled the Quantitative Reasoning requirement. The Pre-Term course is not for credit and is not factored into the GPA.



All students must pass 2 core courses and/or exams from the subjects below. Japan Studies concentrators must pass Comparative Politics as one of their core requirements prior to the start of their third semester. If the core courses/exams are not completed by the start of the final semester, the student no longer has the option of completing the exam and must enroll in the core course(s) for credit.

  • American Foreign Policy Since World War II
  • Comparative Politics
  • Evolution of the International Systems
  • Theories of International Relations


Japan Studies MA candidates must pass exams to demonstrate proficiency in Japanese. All non-native English speakers are required to pass an English placement exam upon entering the school. Native Japanese speakers must pass proficiency in a second language which can include English.



Japan Studies MA concentrators must complete ONE of the following capstones:

  • Japan Studies Oral Exam. The exam provides students with the opportunity to cap their academic experience at the school through discourse with their professors that highlights the findings of their studies and research, particularly the US-Japan Yearbook project. Students will be expected to suggest policy implications for Japan, the US, and the world of the issues discussed. At least two Japan Studies professors will administer the exam. Discussion will focus initially on the specific findings of the student in the Yearbook Project and then branch into broader policy areas. The exam will be graded on a pass-fail basis. Makeup oral exams for students who fail must be scheduled within three weeks of the exam, with the students preparing a three-page paper addressing the areas or issues deemed insufficient by the examiners. Those who fail the makeup exam will not graduate in that term.
  • MA Oral Exam (to compete for honors—if eligible)


Entering Class 2016-2017 [16]
Entering Class 2015-2016 [17]
Entering Class 2014-2015 [18]
Entering Class 2013-2014 [19]
Entering Class 2012-2013 [20]
Entering Class 2011-2012 [21]
Entering Class 2010-2011 [22]
Entering Class 2009-2010 [23]


Japan Studies Minor Requirements:

  • 3 Japan Studies (or cross-listed) courses (12 credits)
  • 2 semesters of Japanese language study or proficiency

General Minor Requirements:

  • MA students may pursue an optional minor in a policy or regional program. A student cannot pursue a minor in General IR or International Economics, but can pursue a Specialization in International Economics [24]
  • A student can have only one minor and can declare a minor at any time prior to graduation.
  • Students do not receive bidding priority for a minor.
  • All minors require three courses. Some minors require a specific course(s) and/or language proficiency.
  • A student may use a maximum of one applicable cross-listed course (4 credits) toward both a minor AND concentration requirements. In the IR or Asia concentrations, the cross-listed course must be from the primary concentration area and not from the 2 additional required courses in the other IR or Asia areas.

To add or change a minor, please click HERE [25].


Japan Studies, in collaboration with the Reischauer Center [6], holds a variety of public seminars and luncheons. The presentations at these events are given by Japan Studies professors, Reischauer Center Visiting Scholars, and outside guests (State Department representatives, current and former Ambassadors, University professors, researchers from think tanks, and more from the Washington, DC community). Events cover diverse topics related to Japan as well as other Asian countries. 

Our Alumni


Japan Studies alumni have pursued careers in various organizations and sectors including, but not limited to:

  • US State Department
  • US Department of Energy
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  • Federal Reserve Bank 
  • Goldman Sachs
  • JP Morgan 
  • Newedge, a global multi-asset brokerage
  • NHK, Japan's national public broadcasting organization
  • Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies


Contact Us

Kent E. Calder
Director, Asia Programs
kcalder@jhu.edu [33]
Rome 638

Alexander E. Evans
Research and Program Coordinator, Japan Studies Program and Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies
aevans46@jhu.edu [34]
Rome 617

Address & Phone

Japan Studies
Rome Building
1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC