• Uprizine

A Growing Community: SWU x TUJ (Interview)


Airin Ri, Angelyn Labadan, Anjyu Higo, Kyoko Kubono, Risa Kobayashi, Saki T.

Showa Women's Universiy contributors:

Maya Yoshie, Nana Kawakoya, Nagisa Iwamoto

Last semester, Temple University Japan Campus (TUJ) moved to its new campus in Sangenjaya. The move was time consuming and difficult, but it finally happened. With TUJ’s new location being directly across from Showa Women’s University (SWU), we at Uprizine wondered what kind of relationship TUJ and SWU would form from here onwards.

We had the chance to work with SWU’s magazine club and interview two SWU students, Nana Kawakoya and Nagisa Iwamoto, on how they felt about TUJ’s move and how this affects SWU.

Let’s have a look at what they have to say!

Nana Kawakoya (Department of History and Culture ; 4th Year)

1. How do you feel about TUJ moving to the SWU campus?

I’m more willing to learn English as we have more opportunities for international exchange in Japan.

2. Do you believe there will be challenges? What kind and how can those challenges be overcome?

I hesitate to attend events held in TUJ because I don’t think I have sufficient English skills for that.

3. What opportunities are created by having TUJ here?

It became easier to have international exchanges, as we are allowed to attend events because of their majors’ courses.

4. What do your fellow students say about TUJ and TUJ students?

Although some SWU students feel strange that foreigners (around the same age as us) suddenly come and walk around the school, others seem to be excited because it looks like a setting in American/Hollywood movies. Students who attend to Japanese universities are generally concerned about their attire, whereas TUJ students wear more casual clothes. So I felt our explicit cultural differences through wear.

5. Do you think having TUJ here changes SWU?

I’m glad that we have more chances to practice English as there are foreigners nearby, and we can hear their conversations in English. As for studying, I got curious about attending to foreign classes.Also, it’s good that we have more events than before.

6. Have you interacted with any TUJ students? What was your impression?

We haven’t really had the chance to interact with TUJ students. But sometimes see some TUJ students eating lunch at SWU’s cafeteria and it’s just nice to see that there are more people with different backgrounds around.

7. Did you change your image of foreigners after TUJ moved next to SWU? If so, did it become positive or negative?

Foreigners seem to me to be self-assured and strong-willed people who don’t give up easily. I wish I was like them and I feel I can strive to become like that too, especially since now I’ll constantly see them nearby.

8. Did your image of TUJ change compared to the previous TUJ campus located in Azabu?

Actually, I hadn’t known about TUJ until it moved nearby. It was interesting to find out that we can experience studying abroad without travelling to the US.

Nagisa Iwamoto (International Studies; 2nd Year)

1. How do you feel about TUJ moving to the SWU campus?

We don’t have many chances to interact with TUJ students, but I enjoyed participating in Nihongo-salon that was hosted by TUJ but held in SWU.

2. Do you believe there will be challenges? What kind and how can those challenges be overcome?

We can’t attend TUJ’s events at times because of our different timetables and semester systems, and vice versa. While we have a double-degree system that allows us to take TUJ’s classes, I think there are many challenges. For me I’m worried about things like fitting in at TUJ, if I can catch up with classes and if I can get used to TUJ’s studying style.

3. What opportunities are created by having TUJ here?

I feel it’s much easier to attend TUJ’s classes since it takes only 5 minutes to move.

4. What do your fellow students say about TUJ and TUJ students?

I had fun attending TUJ’s events and communicating with TUJ students. Almost no one has any negative image of TUJ students, but some students are a bit nervous about TUJ students with tattoos and/or those from the military.

5. Do you think having TUJ here changes SWU?

As of now, there are only a few events going on, so I don’t feel any big changes yet. But, at the same time, many students who don’t speak English that much want to make friends with TUJ students. So I hope that there will be more events for non-English speaking students that might make positive changes in our relationship.

6. Have you interacted with any TUJ students? What was your impression?

I saw a student from TUJ taking a class in SWU last semester and I was surprised with their attitude towards the class. For instance, they shared their opinions and gave presentations in a way totally different than ours.

7. Since TUJ’s move, has your image of foreigners changed?

I think some of the stereotypes about foreigners might have changed. For example, there was the stereotype that those that were in the military can be scary, but in reality, they’re not!

8. Did your image of TUJ change after TUJ moved closeby?

From the beginning, only the students in the international department knew about the relocation of TUJ. Other departments and even many faculty members didn’t know about it at all. But, since I’ve always had an interest in foreign countries and studying abroad, I had a good impression of TUJ. That, and I had a tutor from TUJ who taught me English and was really nice.

9. Did TUJ’s foreign students help make it easier to accept the idea of a multi-ethnic society?

I do think that it became easier to accept the idea because there are more opportunities to interact with people of various cultures and races. But other than us students, there may be some older people who have negative impressions.


Many Japanese university students, including me, can pass an English test but can’t actually speak English. Considering this, we’re worried about whether or not we can actually take classes at TUJ. But I’d be happy if there were more events where I could practice and improve my English speaking skills.

TUJ’s move has undoubtedly created a sudden change of environment for SWU students. For Nana and Nagisa, they both have become interested in taking classes as TUJ. They also express that increasing events where SWU students don’t have to worry about their English skills which could encourage interactions between SWU and TUJ students.

While there seems to be potential for exciting opportunities between both schools like events and language exchange, there are also challenges like different semester systems, language barriers, cultural differences and stereotypes. Hopefully this can be overcome in the future by, as they suggested, creating more events to encourage interactions, which may then in turn increase openness between students.

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UPRIZINE was founded in 2017, aiming to create conversation and raise awareness surrounding intersectional issues at Temple University Japan through opinion pieces, creative writing, and occasionally, informative journalism. It is run by students and for students, through the TUJ Zine Club. 

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