UCL News


UCL strengthens links with Japan

10 December 2007


Yamaguchi University ucl.ac.uk/global/" target="_self">UCL Global
  • UCL Business
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  • A delegation of UCL staff attended a ceremony at Yamaguchi University (YU), Japan, to strengthen formal bonds between the two institutions.

    Mr Marco Federighi, UCL Sub-Dean of Engineering Sciences, and Dr Anna Clark, Director UCL Business Partnerships were welcomed by the university's leading academics including YU President, Professor Marumoto.

    UCL and Japan share strong historical connections, going back to 1863, when five young noblemen of the Choshu clan in feudal Japan secretly came to Britain to study at the university, at a time when travel abroad was still strictly forbidden. The young men endured a 130-day journey by sea to reach England and study at UCL, which at that time was the only English university open to all nationalities and religions.

    Yamaguchi University is located in the area where the Choshu Five lived. It has had connections with UCL for some time, and the partners have recently signed agreements concerning training Yamaguchi staff in English through the UCL Language Centre and their Faculties of Engineering, to exchange staff and students, and to set up industrial placements and events.

    The latest agreement encompasses the entire remit of both universities in order to stimulate a wider range of collaborations across all faculties, where possible in collaboration with Japanese companies. Mr Federighi presented the agreement to Professor Marumoto and Dr Anna Clark gave a presentation to senior YU staff about UCL's commercial collaborations.

    The party also attended a ceremony where an oak tree, derived from a parent tree planted by the Queen during her visit to Japan in 1975, was planted on campus.

    The agreement covers ongoing and future collaborations, including the establishment of The Choshu Five Memorial Lecture, to be held alternately in London and Yamaguchi from 2009; The Choshu Five Symposium, which will be held in Yamaguchi in January 2008 and the following year in London; the training of Yamaguchi University academic staff in English, and in teaching in English, which started last summer and will continue; and participation of Yamaguchi students in industrial placements in the UK and in the Engineering Summer Programme from 2008.

    To find out more, use the links at the top of this article.

    Image 1 (left to right): Professor Marumoto, Mr Federighi and Dr Clark in front of the Choshu Five memorial

    Image 2: The signing ceremony

    UCL and Japan

    The Choshu Five returned to Japan and used their learning to help the nation reap the benefits of the industrial age. Shunsuke Ito, later Prince Hirobumi Ito, became the first and four-times Prime Minister of modern Japan; Bunta Inoue, later Marquis Kaoru Inoue, became Japan's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Endo Kinsuke became founding Master of the Japanese Mint Bureau; Nomura Yakichi, later Viscount Masaru Inoue became founding President of the Japanese Board of Railways; and Yozo Yamao, later Viscount Yozo Yamao became Secretary of State in Japan's Ministry of Industries, and established Japan's first Institute of Technology.

    Mr Junichiro Koizumi studied Economics at UCL in the 1960s, before returning to Japan in 1969 and later serving as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006.

    There are more than 180 Japanese students enrolled at UCL, making it one of the most popular UK destinations for Japanese students

    UCL has formal ties with numerous institutions in Japan, including Osaka University and the National Institute for Materials Science

    UCL has built the EUV imaging spectrometer onboard the 'Hinode' satellite observatory, a Japan/US/ UK mission to observe the Sun's behaviour

    The London research centre of the Eisai Pharmaceutical Company is located in the heart of the UCL campus. Eisai is one of the leading Japanese companies in its field, and the centre conducts long-term neuroscience research. At the time of its establishment in 1993, it was the largest single investment in a British university.

    The UCL Japan Society, run purely by students, offers members free weekly Japanese lessons