Next Vision Japan

Expanding Art and Culture into Society
Helps Solve Local Issues and
Creates Innovative New Value from Traditional Culture.

Art: The Driving Force that Creates Appeal.

It is easy to get the impression that art is pursued only as a pastime, such as painting, sculpture, or music, and only by certain individuals. However, we believe that the aesthetics and new ideas that come of art are indispensable for everything from business activities to regional community-building, improving the quality of every facet of society, and serving as a driving force that creates appeal. Japan's postwar growth was built upon the technical skill and economic strength of the manufacturing industry; today, however, as rising nations rapidly catch up amid modern globalization, there is a need to create entirely new values, for products and services with ever-higher added value. It is art that provides that value.

Sharing Local Culture with the World.

Today, rural Japan faces a number of existential threats. Train stations are conspicuously surrounded by empty storefronts. Traditional industries have fewer and fewer successors to whom they can be passed on for another generation. Industrial accumulation and other phenomena cause the rural regions of Japan, which have long supported the country's traditional manufacturing and culture, to fall further behind major cities like Tokyo. And yet, these rural areas still retain their natural beauty, their communities with close ties to the region, and crafts developed over many years, as well as their local festivals and townscapes — all sources of wisdom, technique, and beauty that deserve to be sources of pride, shared with the world. Nowadays in particular, as this type of high-quality appeal is coming into demand, it is imperative to revive the culture that lies dormant in rural Japan, to create innovative new value from traditional culture. Indeed, it is Japan's duty to share this culture with the world.

A Message from the Dean

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University of Toyama School of Art and Design
Dean Takekazu Nagae

Our Philosophy

Neither Just Art
Nor Just Culture —
The Concept of “Art and Culture”

“Art” refers to endeavors that aspire to stimulate hearts and minds through creativity or beauty.
“Culture” is the accumulation of lifestyle and industry, built on a foundation of the natural environment.
Physical civilization, as symbolized through machines, permeates our everyday lives. However, it is only able to take root through the spiritual aspects we think of as “culture.” Indeed, art plays a major role in helping culture to take root faster and deeper. Though art has developed an air of inaccessibility, when it is combined with culture, its latent potential and the role it must accomplish within society become clear. “Art” is not a masterpiece languishing in a studio somewhere, but creating opportunities that can be experienced within everyday life. “Art” is creating a fond attachment to the items we use and the spaces we inhabit every day. The synergy of art and culture leads to the quality improvements sought by society.
It is neither just art, nor just culture. It is the unified concept of “art and culture.” At Geibun, we aim to cultivate leaders in art and culture.

Cultivating Leaders in Art and Culture: Integrated Education and Field EducationCreators + Users + Facilitators
Cultivating Human Resources with a Balance of Three Disciplines

In order for art and culture to play a useful role within society, it is not enough to simply be a creator, aiming to enrich society through creative activities. One must cultivate a balance of disciplines, by also being a user with a deep understanding of things that already exist and how to utilize them, and by being a facilitator who can connect diverse elements to produce new value. At the School of Art and Design, these three fundamental roles are positioned as the Geibun core. No matter which course students choose, our cross-disciplinary Integrated Education and our Field Education, which works in collaboration with the region, provides students with an education in sensibility, creativity, and responsibility, as well as study skills and practical skills from the region.

Our Objectives

The former Toyama University, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, and Takaoka National College were integrated into a new University of Toyama, founded under mutual agreement under this fundamental philosophy:
“This new university, open to the regional community and to the world, shall offer world-class education and research characterized by its integration of life sciences, natural sciences, and arts and social sciences. We shall nurture a strong sense of mission and creativity in our students and contribute to the local, regional, and international community, while simultaneously contributing to harmonious developments in science, art and culture, and human society.”
Based on this agreement, the Takaoka Campus of this new university (the School of Art and Design) was to serve to “integrate various areas of study such as the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and information technology, with art and culture at the core, to promote art and culture. By promoting these, we cultivate members of society ready to provide international academic information, and to carry forward art and culture.”
In the 21st century, art will play a very important role in various realms of society, due to people's increasing desire for spiritual contentment and personal enrichment. To meet these societal demands, the School of Art and Design aims to cultivate human resources capable of playing central roles in regional society, capable of moving onward into international society, and capable of creating new forms of art and culture in the 21st century.
One distinctive feature of the School of Art and Design is that it consists of a single faculty with a single department (the Department of Art and Design).
In addition to education specializing in specific fields for each course, it forges ahead with Integrated Education, which works to flexibly address changes in the social environment or the broad needs of the region. We aim to contribute to society by establishing the School of Art and Design in this way, to include these new, heretofore unseen fields.
To that end, the School of Art and Design's single department comprises four courses; all students are considered to belong not to a course, but to a single department, ensuring an educational system that provides all students with equivalent classes. Additionally, by reducing required classes to the absolute minimum, students have a wider range of classes available to choose from. As a result, students are free to transcend the boundaries between courses in the classes they take, enabling Integrated Education across various areas of study.

Integrated Education & Field Education

Integrated Education Lets Students Make the Driving Forces and Diversity of Art and Culture Their Own

In order to create anything, one must first interact with others who have different ways of thinking, study to gain knowledge and skills from across different fields, and recompose these into something new. At the School of Art and Design, we have introduced efforts to bring together students from diverse backgrounds to study together, allowing them to understand one another's ways of thinking and display their creativity. These efforts include:
• Prospective students choose between practical examination (pencil sketching) and short essay for their entrance examination. • A curriculum that allows for cross-disciplinary study. • A mentoring system where students can freely consult with teachers, transcending course boundaries. • Local related classes and project classes that incorporate active learning (active classes that include group discussions) and PBL (project-based learning). • A system that designates instructors from across the entire teaching staff for graduation projects and production, and more. These comprehensive efforts comprise the School of Art and Design's Integrated Education.

A Four-Course System with Minimal Boundaries

Starting with the 2018 academic year, we began to start a four - course system, which can be integrated more effectively. Each course has an established recommended list of classes to be taken in order to learn that course's specialties, but students are allowed to take classes from any course, based on their own personal objectives. (Please note that there are restrictions on some classes, due to limits on classroom facilities, etc.)

The Gofuku Campus Provides Liberal Arts Education with Students from Other Faculties

Starting with the 2018 academic year, the University of Toyama unified liberal arts education. As a result of this, during their first year, School of Art and Design students study liberal arts at the Gofuku Campus in Toyama City, alongside students from other faculties (some classes will be held at the Takaoka Campus). A free shuttle bus will be available to transport students between these campuses.

An Environment Where Students of Various Backgrounds Study Together

It is natural to expect an art college to require a demonstration of sketching or other practical skill as part of entrance examinations, but at the School of Art and Design, prospective students have the option to instead write short essays. Incorporating students who have never drawn a pencil sketch, yet who are nonetheless interested in pursuing creative work, helps build a diverse learning environment.

Field Education Connects the Toyama Campus with the Region

Toyama Prefecture, where the School of Art and Design is located, is known not only for the majestic Tateyama Mountain Range, which rises some 3,000 meters above sea level, but also for the Gokayama Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses (a UNESCO World Heritage site), and UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage recognition for “Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals.” In addition, the city of Takaoka boasts a history of traditional industries such as metal casting and lacquering extending back to Japan's feudal era, as well as cultural properties that include Zuiryuji Temple (a national treasure) and two old townscapes designated as Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Our Field Education system is designed to make the most of this rich setting, using the region as a campus. The School of Art and Design began life as Takaoka National College, and even back then we strove to take the lead nationwide in efforts like these. Over the past twenty-plus years, we have established an organizational system of cooperation with local governments, businesses, and municipalities. In addition to serving as an effective way to provide students with experiences, knowledge, and techniques that cannot easily be found in a textbook, Field Education also teaches a sense of responsibility and the ability to independently consider actions, which will help students develop their individuality.

Local Related Classes and Project Classes

Starting with the 2014 academic year, we began to offer local related classes, which are classes taught by local writers, artisans, designers, and more, as well as classes taught in cooperation with those involved in these endeavors, focusing on the theme of realistic issues that are affecting the region. We also strive to provide practical learning opportunities through our project classes: students look into a specific issue, with a process extending from problem discovery to development of a solution, as a practical way to learn these techniques.

The Geibun Gallery: A Place to Display Student Works

The Geibun Gallery, located in downtown Takaoka, serves as a venue to show off the results of classes, as well as for students' independent expression. For example, for a class on museum training, holding rotating exhibits at the Gallery is a great way to learn and practice the knowledge and skills involved. There is also a student club-run shop, Tommy Dining, where every aspect of the business, from production to package design, pricing, merchandising management, and customer service, is handled by students working together.

Graduation Exhibitions at a Public Art Museum

The Takaoka Art Museum hosts graduation exhibitions for students of both the School of Art and Design and the Graduate School of Art and Design, which are organized with the cooperation of individuals from the region. Graduates of both the faculty and the graduate school strive to rise to this challenge, meeting the responsibilities required of them to exhibit their works. Current students are also assigned roles, performing PR or working on event-related activities.

Educational Policies

At the School of Art and Design, our educational philosophy is to cultivate human resources who can actively and independently work to find solutions. They do so by engaging their sensibility toward art and culture, applying knowledge and skills from a wide variety of fields, and investigating the connections between humans, nature, and society, in order to discover and solve various problems.
To this end, we do not consider it enough for students to simply acquire this practical sensibility, knowledge, and technique related to art and culture. Rather, we focus on forming these talents comprehensively through our Integrated Education program, which provides a cross-disciplinary education in specialized knowledge. Additionally, our classes are held with the following points kept in mind:

  1. Building Problem-Solving Skills
    Students look into the connections between humans, nature, and society, discovering the various problems that exist therein, and, through independent investigation, learning, consideration, and subjective judgment, develop the integrated knowledge and skills from a wide variety of fields necessary to solve these problems.
  2. Addressing Internationalization and Computerization
    As students improve their English for use as a communication tool, they become more able to understand other cultures and work internationally. Above all else, students develop the skills to respond to the rapid development of telecommunications technology.
  3. Contributing to Society
    It is not enough to simply acquire skills and knowledge; we train students in how to apply their skills and knowledge, and to think about how they can use them to contribute to people's lives or to society as a whole. To that end, students coordinate with others, developing compassion and an enriched sense of humanity.
  4. Promoting Art and Culture
    Human resources who can share the fields of art and culture with many people by providing education and instruction, as well as human resources who can influence 21st century industry with artistic properties, are indispensable in helping to create lifestyles with artistic harmony and a society with a truly rich culture. In order to cultivate these human resources, we work to expose students to diverse forms of artistic expression and pragmatic manufacturing techniques, to develop flexible ways of thinking and aesthetic sensibility.
  5. Addressing Environmental Problems
    Today, there is no issue more pressing to every member of humanity than environmental problems. Even within the fields of art and culture, it is necessary to consider the effects of our activities on the environment. As a result, we provide students with the fundamental knowledge needed to understand the effects the techniques and materials they use will have on the environment, and the ability to make careful judgments when looking into multifaceted issues.

International Exchange and Study Abroad

The University of Toyama conducts a wide variety of international exchange activities with many universities and research institutions.

Bunditpatanasilpa Institute, Ministry of Culture (Thailand)

The Institute provides a broad range of education with its three faculties (Fine Arts, Music, and Arts Education). In addition to traditional Thai painting, lacquer crafts, and architecture, students can learn through a dynamic flow of art and design by combining tradition with modern sensitivities.

Lahti University of Applied Sciences (Finland)

Provides education centered on practical science, which includes participation in industrial-academic projects.

Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague (Czech Republic)

Established in 1885, the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague is the oldest national arts university in the Czech Republic where students can learn about the outstanding arts of Eastern Europe.

Capellagarden School of Craft and Design (Sweden)

This school asks what it means to create an enriched life by aiming to provide outstanding Scandinavian education to both creators and users.