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This is a field-based course for students who wish to learn about environmental issues in contemporary Japan. Through hands-on study of local initiatives in Tokyo and Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture, the course will examine the complex interaction between human society and the natural world.  The focus is on rivers and how they, as part of the hydrological cycle, interact with human and non-human communities.


This course is a case-driven, solution-centered practicum in which students are confronted with actual environmental problems that our society faces.  Through fieldwork and lectures, students will learn about how legal, economic, political, social, cultural institutions shape and are shaped by ecological systems — the interaction between the biotic (the living organisms) and the abiotic (water, atmosphere, minerals) components.  Students will meet government officials, scientists, community leaders, and industry experts who are at the frontlines of solving complex environmental problems.  

The course is divided into two parts

The first part, which will take place in Tokyo during the spring semester, will consists of lectures, group work, and field trips in Tokyo. It will introduce students to environmental studies and prepare them for the field study in Hokkaido.  

The second part will take place in Hokkaido for one week and consists of field-based learning and research. The language of instruction is English.  Japanese ability, while useful, is not necessary. 




Offered jointly by the Faculty of Liberal Arts and the Graduate Program in Global Studies

Course code: ANT302 & POL304 (Undergraduate) AG545 & AG546​ ​(Graduate) 

Instructors: Takeshi Ito and Tak Watanabe

Information on the 2022 HER:

UPDATE April 1, 2022--The syllabus and application form are ready! Submit your application by April 8, 2022! We will notify you the result via email by April 10, 2022. Look forward to seeing you in class!

For more information:

Syllabus HER 2022

Application Form

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