The Open University of Japan


Higher Education for All

President’s Message


The Open University of Japan (OUJ) is a private university operated by the Open University of Japan Foundation, a special educational corporation institutionally established in accordance with national law. However, when it comes to the details behind the school’s founding or the extent to which the school receives assistance for operating costs from the government, it much more resembles that of a national university.

The origin of OUJ goes back to 1967 Ministry of Education advisory made at the time, “About the Manner of Broadcasting Specialized Education Using Video and FM Radio.” In the background of all this, there was firstly a range of different educational reforms being sought regarding problems with university education that had come to light during conflicts between schools and students; secondly, the possibilities of using the methods of radio wave-based TV and radio were being explored; and thirdly, around the world, prevailing trends were moving toward promoting lifelong education. In response to a report on this advisory, in 1969 the Ministry of Education announced “About the Establishment of ‘The Open University of Japan,’” which went on to form the starting point for the school’s founding.

It is because of this background that OUJ advocates university learning “whenever, wherever, and by whomever,” affording our school a multifaceted objective that some of the other legendary universities do not even boast. That objective is our mission to:

i) Provide a wide range of people with opportunities for obtaining higher education as a lifelong learning institution;

ii) Guarantee flexible university entrance opportunities for new high school graduates, and

iii) Disseminate broadcast teaching materials in cooperation with existing universities, thereby improving university education on the whole.

Currently, we can add “the promotion of recurrent education for occupations and qualifications” to our above-mentioned mission.

OUJ today is Japan's largest distance open university offering bachelor's degrees, graduate school master's degrees, and doctoral degrees. In addition to transmitting classes over a broadcast satellite channel, we offer about 400 classes each semester, including online courses over the Internet. Additionally, we hold more than 3,000 face-to-face classes annually at 57 Study Centers and Satellite Spaces nationwide.* Our undergraduate and graduate programs only include the Faculty of Liberal Arts and the School of Graduate Studies respectively, but their curriculums are wide-ranging, spanning from health science, life science, human developmental science, social science, the humanities, to natural science, putting us on par with any other standard university. Today, about 90,000 OUJ undergraduate and graduate students all over the country are diving into subjects they want to study at their own pace and convenience.

*During the 2020 and 2021 school year, many courses have been closed or switched to online classes due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof. Masaya Iwanaga, Ph.D.
President, The Open University of Japan

President's Message to Newly-Enrolled Students in Japan
(Translation from Japanese)

There are two major unique features of learning at the Open University of Japan (OUJ). The first is our method. The goals of people who study at OUJ are as varied as their occupations and ages. For example, someone who likes history may want to study the subject after retiring, another may want to study mathematics and data science as part of recurrent education in aiming to become a data scientist, and another person may want to qualify for university graduation, which they were unable to achieve in their twenties, in hopes for a promotion at the workplace.

However, the common method shared by all the diverse OUJ students is distance learning. Whether by BS broadcasts, the internet, or post, the benefits of this style of learning is fully used by students who study at any time and any place. This freedom from such methodological constraints is the first major unique feature of studying at OUJ.

Another major feature of learning at the University is the ability to fully utilize empirical knowledge and existing knowledge. According to psychologists Raymond Cattell and John Horn, short-term memory, such as memorizing personal names, vocabulary in a foreign language, memorization of mathematical formulas, and capabilities such as quick information processing, peaks around 20 years old for everyone, and then continues to decline. This is called “fluid intelligence,” and unfortunately it is difficult for adult learners to outperform students in their teens using such abilities. On the other hand, humans have intelligence that allows them to understand things linguistically and use experience to draw out the appropriate information from social environments—an ability that actually increases during adulthood. This is known as “crystallized intelligence.” Rather than innate intelligence, it is more deeply related to interests or richness of experience. This is the ideal type of ability for adult learners.

At OUJ, which is geared toward adult learners, neither speed nor rote memorization of a massive amount of knowledge are important. Rather than memorization and accumulation of facts, our students mobilize their own experience and existing knowledge in order to assemble explanations for understanding actual events, then efficiently acquire the areas they are currently lacking in order to complete their knowledge. OUJ is the ideal place for crystallized intelligence-based learning.

The door to learning at the Open University of Japan is open to all who aim to crystallize their knowledge.



在日本放送大学学习的另一大特点是最大限度地活用既往知识和现有知识。根据心理学家雷蒙德·卡特尔(Raymond Cattell)等人的研究,人对于人名、外语单词、数学公式的短期记忆以及快速处理信息等的能力在20岁左右达到顶峰,然后持续下降。这种智力叫做“流动性智力”,遗憾的是成年学员的流动性智力难以战胜十几岁的学生。另一方面,人类还具有从语言上理解事物、利用经验从环境中提取适当信息的智力,这种智力成年期后反而会提高。这就是“结晶性智力”,与先天智能相比,它与关注、兴趣或丰富经验更具有密切关系。是适合成人学习的能力。



방송대학 학장님으로부터의 메시지 (원문 일본어)
수업은 일본국내가 대상이며 교수 언어는 일본어입니다.

방송대학교을 통한 배움의 큰 특징은 그 방법에 있습니다. 방송대학교에 입학하는 사람들의 목적을 보면, 예를 들어 정년퇴직 후 좋아하는 역사 공부를 하고 싶다거나, 순환 교육(recurrent education)의 일환으로 수리과학 및 데이터 사이언스를 배워서 데이터 사이언티스트가 되고 싶다, 20대 때 취득하지 못했던 대학 졸업 자격을 취득하여 직장에서 승진의 도움을 갖고 싶다 등 실로 다양하며, 다채로운 분야의 직업인과 연령층이 광범위하게 보함되어 있습니다. 이렇듯 다양한 학생층으로 구성된 방송대학교이지만, 배움은 원격 학습을 통해서 이루어진다는 공통점을 가지고 있습니다. BS 위성방송이나 인터넷 또는 우편을 이용하여 여유 시간에 원하는 장소에서 자유롭게 배울 수 있다는 장점을 충분히 살린 학습입니다. 이처럼 학습상의 방법적인 제약에서 벗어나 자유롭다는 점이 방송대학을 통한 배움의 첫 번째 특징입니다.

방송대학교을 통한 배움의 또 다른 중요한 특징은 경험을 통한 지식과 기존의 지식을 최대한 활용한다는 점입니다. 심리학자 레이몬드 카텔에 따르면 인명이나 외국어 단어, 수학 공식 암기 등과 같은 단기 기억과 빠른 정보 처리 등의 능력은 누구나 20세 전후를 절정기로 이후에는 감퇴 일로를 걷는다고 합니다. 이러한 지능을 ‘유동성 지능’(流動性知能)이라 하는데, 안타깝게도 이 지능은 성인 학습자가 10대 학생들을 능가하기 어렵습니다. 한편, 인간은 사물을 언어적으로 이해하고 경험을 이용하여 환경에서 적절한 정보를 추출하는 지능도 있는데, 이러한 지능은 성년기를 통해 오히려 높아지게 됩니다. 이를 ‘결정성 지능’(結晶性知能)이라고 하며 이 지능에는 타고난 지능보다도 관심이나 흥미 또는 경험의 풍부함이 더욱 깊게 관여합니다. 그야말로 성인 학습에 적합한 능력이라고 할 수 있겠습니다.

성인 학습자가 주체인 방송대학교에서는, 학습속도나 지식의 기계적인 암기도 중요하지 않습니다. 암호 같은 기억의 축척이 아니라, 현실에서 발생하는 현상을 이해하기 위한 설명을 자신의 경험을 통해 얻은 지식과 기존의 지식을 총동원해서 조합하고, 이를 완결짓기 위해 부족한 부분의 지식을 효율적으로 겨냥하여 획득하는 것. 이러한 결정성 지능을 활용하는 학습이야말로 방송대학을 통한 수학(修學)에 가장 적합합니다.

방송대학교이 제공하는 배움의 문은 지식의 결정(結晶)을 목표로 하는 여러분 모두에게 활짝 열려 있습니다.

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