Ryoko Tsuneyoshi

Vice President, Bunkyo Gakuin University
Professor Emeritus, The University of Tokyo

Ryoko Tsuneyoshi

I focus on the cross-cultural comparison of socialization in the family and school, taking into consideration the social and cultural contexts within which socialization takes place. My interest lies in comparatively exploring multicultural issues, globalization, and other factors that cut across societies and national borders. I analyze their relationship with the micro aspects of daily life in the classroom. I also do fieldwork on Japanese schooling, educational policy, and cultural diversity from a cross-cultural perspective. Areas of focus: cross-cultural comparisons of education, comparative education, sociology, and multicultural education.

Degree and Position

  • Ph.D.(Sociology), Princeton University, 1990
  • Presently, Vice President, Bunkyo Gakuin University, former Professor, Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo (Japan)

Selected Publications in English


  • Tsuneyoshi, R. The Japanese Model of Schooling: Comparisons with the United States. New York: Routledge,2001
  • Tsuneyoshi, R. Minorities and Education in Multicultural Japan: An Interactive Perspective, edited by Ryoko Tsuneyoshi, Kaori Okano, and Sarane Boocock. New York: Routledge, 2010.
  • Tsuneyoshi, R.(Ed.). Globalization and Japanese "Exceptionalism" in education:Insider's views into a changing system. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.
  • Tsuneyoshi, R., Sugita, H., Kusanagi, K., & Takahashi, F. (Eds.). The Japanese educational model of holistic education: Tokkatsu. Singapore: World Scientific,2019.


  • Tsuneyoshi, R. The Japanese model of classroom management. In W. George Scarlett (Eds.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Classroom Management, (pp. 443-444). Thousand Oaks, Cal. : Sage, 2015.
  • Tsuneyoshi, R.  Understanding Multicultural Japan: Four Frameworks. In Y-K. Cha, S-H. Ham, & M, Lee. (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Multicultural Education Research in Asia Pacific. Routledge,2018, ch.14.
  • Tsuneyoshi, R. Discussing the "Multicultural" in Japanese Society. In Kitamura, Y., Omomo, T., and Katsuno, M.(Eds),  Education in Japan: A Comprehensive Analysis of Education Reforms and Practices. Singapore: Springer, 2019, pp. 177-195 (Ch.11).


The Japanese Educational Model of  Holistic Education


International Conference on Educational Leadership and Management (1st ICELAM 2019) in Malaysia. 1-4th, Oct. 2019

The 1st International Conference on Educational Leadership and Management (1st ICELAM 2019) hosted by Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB) was held in Malaysia on the 1st to 4th of October, 2019. IAB is one of the pioneer educational institutions for educational leadership and management training in Malaysia. The theme for the 1st ICELAM 2019 was “Leading Schools in a VUCA World.” VUCA represents volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Ryoko Tsuneyoshi, professor of the University of Tokyo, was invited as a keynote speaker and a masterclass speaker. The Minister of Education, Malaysia, Dr. Maszlee Malik inaugurated the Opening Ceremony.

The first tokkatsu book has been published!  Oct. 2019

"Though there has been much discussion on the academic aspects of Japanese education abroad (e.g., high scores on international tests, lesson study), there has been little information on the non-academic aspects of Japanese schooling. This non-academic aspect is called Tokkatsu (tokubetsu katsudo)."

The first tokkatsu book “Tokkatsu: The Japanese Educational Model of Holistic Education” has been published by World Scientific. 


Actvities at Bunkyo Gakuin University

Graduate School of Education, 

The University of Tokyo Archives

Example of Research Themes

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  • Multiculturalism, internationalization, and national identity in education

  • The new views of competence in China and Japan

  • Cross-cultural comparisons of privatization and marketization

  • The sense of belonging (ibasho) in children and youth

  • Children of international marriages and schooling

  • The world seen from the eyes of Filipina students

  • The schooling of nonattendant students

  • Views of foreign students on their transition to the workplace, cross-cultural comparisons of internationalization of higher education 

  • Internationalizing the selection process, the views from returnee

  • The formation of peer groups in ethnic enclaves in Japan

  • The perception of gender in kindergarteners

  • Encourage school, challenge schools, and educational reform in Japan

  • Transnational Japanese families, global identities

  • English activities in Japanese elementary schools, international understanding education, multicultural education

  • Supervisor system /teacher's career plan

  • Community schools

  • School evaluation at the school site

  • "Fairness" in a universal age

  • The meaning of "lei" in the school clubs in the martial arts

  • Self-consciousness in children who have roots abroad

  • Relationship between the discourse of schools and students on nationalism

  • Comparative sociology of the integration of immigrants through citizenship test

  • Educational strategies of Japanese parents who are raising their children abroad

  • Communication between teachers and learners in remote education using ICT

  • Children’s awareness of the sociocultural context in a preschool institution

  • Research about subjective and dialogic attitudes in the “active learning”

Message from a graduate student 1

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Study Abroad in Stockholm      

Graduate Student    Satsuki Kubodera

  I was fortunate to spend a year (January 2016 to January 2017) at Stockholm University (International Comparative Education) in Sweden as an exchange student from the Graduate School of Education.  
  I learned a lot from the diverse classes in which students from many different countries gathered to share ideas. Students from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, as well as the western countries contributed to the class, drawing on their diverse perspectives and culture. Students actively participated in the discussions, and there were a lot of opportunities for group work and presentations. Though I struggled to master the language, I enjoyed the classes, which helped me widen my horizon. 
During my year as an exchange student, I engaged in volunteer activities as well, such as teaching supplementary Japanese school in Stockholm and teaching Japanese to students at Stockholm University who were learning Japanese at the Language Café. Such opportunities helped me acquire a comparative perspective.
I really liked and admired the Swedish lifestyle, such as cherishing their time with family and friends, not rushing, enjoying their nature and so on. I learned many things that I cannot learn unless I had not lived there. I was very lucky to be given this opportunity.

Message from a graduate student2

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Yuki Nagae

Master’s Student at Graduate school of Education, University of Tokyo
Major: Social science in education, Comparative education

 Engaging in research activities and studying with scholars and students in my school gives me inspiration. I am pleased to have this opportunity to spend a part of my life as a master's student (continuing to Ph.D. program) here and will tell you why.
I loved simply to play around in meadows in my early childhood. The memory continues to live in my heart. Despite being “socialized” through school education (because I spent most of my life in a school setting) and growing up, I still love to play like kids and with them. This is my primary motivation to study in the field of early childhood. On the other hand, society surrounding children is not as simple to understand. I found myself mesmerized by the complexity of society, and  I went on to graduate school to further pursue the questions. 
For example, I did fieldwork research at preschools besides taking lectures in college. I can say this is the most fascinate and the hardest event in my MA program. Getting involved in the field as an outsider requires lots of consideration and work, and I am often exhausted. Sometimes, I honestly regretted choosing to use qualitative methods for my thesis, because of its difficulty to achieve the research. On the other hand, however, moments of happiness are scattered too. The preschools’ support to conduct my research is most encouraging, and I get most inspired while playing with kids in the field. In addition, support from my professors and colleagues always encourages me to overcome the problems that I faced and could not solve by only myself. 
To step forwards in my study and career, I am thankful for my current environment and will explore as much as possible! 

Message from a Ph.D. student 

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Tan, Chun-Yi
Graduated from the University of Tokyo, Ph.D.

 I studied in Professor Tsuneyoshi’s lab for my master and doctoral studies (1). After my graduation in 2017, I came back to Taiwan and started to work on international education affairs in the Ministry of Education, Taiwan. 

 Studying in this lab was the most fulfilling and exciting part of my academic journey in Japan. Academic rigor and intellectual challenging seminars were wonderful. I especially admired the members of this lab. People were nice, open-minded, and embraced diversity. They are all passionate and excellent researchers. That makes the atmosphere of the lab always joyful, warm and inspiring.

 Research training in the lab has prepared us with the ability to think globally. That helps me to deal with educational issues always with an international and comparative perspective. I am also encouraged to be international, to engage in international academic activities, such as presenting my research in international academic conferences, conducting fieldwork overseas, and visiting other prestigious research institutions around the world.

 To qualitative researchers, including me, this lab is like home where we can easily exchange ideas with experienced fieldworkers whenever we encounter problems with our research. I am grateful for having plenty of valuable and constructive advice from the members, as well as their understanding and continuous emotional support. They were indispensable for my research journey.

 Studying in this lab is not only the preparation of core competencies, skills, and knowledge for my career in the field of international education but also an amazing treasure enriching my life.

(1)    Though the term “lab” is usually used for the sciences, I use it here because the students studying under Professor Tsuneyoshi form an integrated learning community which is best expressed by the word “lab”.

Special BB  Workshop

July 10th, 2019.
Tate and Kazuaki, who are currently studying in doctoral programs in the United States, presented their current research projects.  After the presentation, the participants not only asked questions about research, but also questions about studying abroad, job-hunting, etc., and both of them spoke based on their real experiences.

Kazuaki Iwabuchi: Columbia University Graduate School of Education Ph.D. Course
“Polarization or Division of Labor? Social Network Analysis of Research Papers on Comparative and International Education”

Tate Kihara: Brown University Graduate School of Sociology Ph.D.Course
“Narrowing of the Achievement Gaps among Children of Immigrants?: A Life Course Approach”