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Japanese universities are drawing foreign students by offering programs in manga, the Japanese form of comics, according to an article by Miki Tanikawa in the NY Times.
Japanese universities are working hard to attract students to fill their classrooms while the country’s birth rate declines. More and more are offering degrees in manga and animation.
Zack Wood, an American, is now studying at Kyoto Seika University in their manga program. He is a 25-year-old graduate of Stanford University.
He and many American students like him have gravitated toward modern Japanese arts programs, feeling they may help them in careers in animation, design, computer graphics and the like.
“I like it here because you get totally immersed in the skill training,” says Wood. “It has turned out to be a lot of fun.”
Many students want to get work experience after they have gained this unique technical and industry knowledge. So after graduation they find it in Japan, before they head back home.
The real trophy,, says Li Lin Lin, 28, from China, is getting job experience in the country of manga. Li is attending Digital Hollywood University, a school in Tokyo that specializes in animation and video games. She wants to work in a Japanese animation studio before going home.
Kison Chang, a training manager at Imagi Studios based in Hong Kong, says none of these animation-themed Japanese university programs seem to be on international radar yet.
But students studying in Japan end up with solid work experience, and could be prime candidates for international recruitment, he insists.
One possible reason that the programs haven’t received international attention is that the language of instruction, Japanese, is daunting. “If we had an English-based program at the graduate level we would be inundated with Western students almost instantly,” claims Tomoyuki Sugiyama, president of Digital Hollywood University.
But Kyoto Seika University, the first to establish a manga program, has seen its number of foreign enrollees rise from 19 in 2000, to 57 students today.
source: Miki Tanikawa’s article in the NY Times on December 28, 2010. Visit http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/27/business/global/27manga.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=Miki%20Tanikawa%20Degree%20in%20Comics&st=cse
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