The Department of Japanese Studies (DJS) is one of the newest disciplines of higher education under the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Dhaka. As it dates back, the department was previously known as Japan Study Centre (JSC). The DJS is a unique department at DU as well as in Bangladesh as it focuses only on a single country, Japan, the leading development partner of Bangladesh since 1971. The central goal of the department is to furnish a student with a broad spectrum of knowledge and deep understanding of Japanese politics, economy, culture and society, including fundamental concepts of various aspects of social sciences. The department, in due course, aspires to come up as a Department of Excellence on Japanese Studies in this part of the world.
Japan Study Centre (now transformed in to Department of Japanese Studies) was founded in 1994 to fill the gap in knowledge and understanding of Japan. It was fully integrated with the university in 2002 with the introduction of ‘Postgraduate Diploma in Japanese Studies’. The course was converted into a full-fledged ‘Master’s Programme in Japanese Studies’ in 2006. However, the centre gained momentum in 2013 after Professor Dr. Abul Barkat (of Department of Economics, University of Dhaka) had taken its charge as a new director. He generously patronised the centre with a hefty Tk 25 lakh (Tk 2.5 million) from Abul Barkat Peace and Progress Foundation (ABPPF). This foundation, the ABPPF, renovated the facility with equipment and learning materials in such a way that it got a new identity as ‘Mini Japan’ at Dhaka University. The well-stocked centre is also grateful to Marium Foundation Ltd for its invaluable contribution of Tk 20 lakh (Tk 2.0 million) to equip it with teaching and learning paraphernalia.
The department enrolled its first bachelor (honours) batch under the 2017-18 session. It offers a four-year bachelor degree and one-year master’s degree in Japanese studies under Social Science disciplines. From the same session, the department introduced the semester system and grade point-based course evaluation system in both bachelor and master’s programmes. Now, under the directives of Social Science Faculty, the DJS splits its four-year bachelor degree into eight semesters and one-year master’s degree into two semesters. The department also offers Master of Japanese Studies (MJS) degree split into four semesters in two years.