UQ and Japan

Collaborating to change the world

UQ has strong links with Japan. Through partnerships with some of the country's most influential institutions and organisations, including the University of Tokyo and the Riken Institute, UQ graduates are equipped with the linguistic, cultural, and research competencies needed to thrive in today’s global community.

Fast facts


Japanese students enrolled at UQ


Japan-UQ co-publications


academic staff born in Japan


research project collaborations


alumni in Japan


agreements with 32 official partners

Fast facts show full-year 2017 data.



Japan and UQ have partnered on more than 650 co-publications in the past 5 years, with key research areas including materials science; chemistry; public, environmental, and occupational health; genetics; and nanoscience. UQ's top co-publishing partners in this period are the University of Tokyo, the National Institute of Materials Science, Kyoto University, Osaka University, and Hokkaido University.

Research collaborations

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with 14 Japanese institutions on 18 research projects, backed by more than A$12.8 million (1.1 billion JPY) in funding and covering topics such as light emitting transistors and space exploration. Key collaborators include RIKEN, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the University of Tokyo.

Research funding

9 Japanese organisations, including the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development, Nihon Superior and the Nippon Foundation, have contributed more than A$6.4 million (5.7 billion JPY) towards 38 research projects in the past 5 years. Projects investigate a range of topics including destination marketing, human-robot interaction, and mimicking mantis shrimp vision to improve navigation.

Collaboration in action

UQ Business School putting Brisbane's sister city on the map

UQ Business School is helping shape Brisbane’s sister city Kobe into an attractive international sports and tourist destination.

Ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup, 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, and 2021 Kansai World Masters Games, UQ lecturer and tourism researcher Dr Monica Chien and former Master of Business Administration (MBA) director and senior lecturer Dr Sarah Kelly are assisting Kobe to capitalise on these major events.

Libraries of information hidden in DNA

UQ's involvement in the FANTOM (Functional Annotation of the Mammalian Genome) team has resulted in long-term collaboration with Japan’s largest research institute, the RIKEN Institute. The project, which involves scientists from more than 20 countries, is revealing what researchers have termed 'libraries' of new information on the role of previously unknown genes. The 5th iteration of the collaboration, known as FANTOM 5, has brought together stem cell biology, infection, and immunity researchers from RIKEN Institute and UQ's Diamantina Institute, the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, and the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Manufacturing alternative power

The Nihon Superior Centre for the Manufacture of Electronic Materials, part of the UQ School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering, was established in 2012 to bring world-class research capability to the manufacture of electronic materials. The Centre specialises in the development of lead-free soldering and brazing alloys, and the manufacture of materials for energy storage and transport materials including hydrogen storage and novel solid-state anode materials. Kyushu University (Fukuoka) alumnus Associate Professor Kazuhiro Nogita heads the Centre, bringing a strong background in the development of materials for alternative power industries and environmentally friendly applications.

Pushing the limits of imaging technology

Magnetica, a UQ start-up commercialised through UniQuest, is developing the next generation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technologies. Based on research by UQ’s Centre for Advanced Imaging and the Biomedical Engineering Group, Magnetica magnets are manufactured in Japan via a strategic partnership with Japan Superconductor Technology (Jastec), a subsidiary of multinational manufacturer Kobe Steel. Since its inception in 2005, Magnetica has remained at the forefront of extremity MRI systems technology, successfully designing and commercialising the 1.5T extremity MRI magnet that is now the heart of hundreds of MRI systems sold world-wide.

Developing the workforce of tomorrow

UQ’s Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education (ICTE-UQ) is working with government and industry partners in Japan to deliver a range of English language and professional development programs that will contribute to a more internationally engaged workforce. Programs have included English for International Business Communication courses, as well as ‘Go Global’ English language, workplace preparation, and professional internship placement programs for university students, recent graduates, and young professionals. In 2017, 2299 Japanese students were enrolled in ICTE-UQ programs.

English courses | 英語コース

Japanese students at UQ

More than 425 Japanese students have enrolled in UQ degrees in the past 5 years. Study Abroad, the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts in Japanese Interpreting and Translation and Bachelor of Business Management are the most popular program choices.

The UQ Japanese Society (Wasabi), UQ Japanese Taiko Drumming Team, and SMACK UQ (Super Manga Anime Culture Kingdom) are just some of the clubs and societies on campus that provide a platform for sharing cultures and welcoming Japanese students to UQ.

Video: Ryoko Yahagi, from Japan, recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts at UQ. She was chosen as a Brisbane International Student Ambassador in 2014.

Japanese culture at UQ


UQ students can study Japanese through the School of Languages and Cultures, which offers a wide range of courses from beginner to advanced language level. Students can take courses focusing on Japanese popular culture, literature, and interpreting and translation while developing spoken and written language skills. They also have access to one of the top interpreter training facilities in Australia, equipped with a simultaneous interpreting booth constructed to United Nations standards.

The Institute of Modern Languages (IML) at UQ also offers Japanese courses for the wider community.

Video: What to expect studying Japanese at UQ and where graduates can go.

Student mobility

Student exchange

Japan is the most popular exchange destination in Asia for UQ students and the 7th largest globally. UQ has student exchange agreements with 22 universities in Japan, including the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, and Osaka University. Under these agreements, 147 UQ students studied in Japan and 136 Japanese students studied at UQ in the past 5 years.

New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program

In 2017, Bachelor of International Studies student Kate Goodfruit studied at Kyushu University as a New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholar and undertook internships the Australian Embassy in Tokyo, Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce and Mitsubishi Group. She followed Bachelor of International Studies student Lachlan Kenway, who studied at Waseda University and undertook an internship in the banking sector in 2016, and Bachelor of Engineering and Economics student Kristie Higginson who studied international business and economics at Waseda University in 2015 as part of the NCP pilot program.


KOMSTUDY is a short-term study program that enables UQ Japanese language students to participate in courses at Komazawa University during the Australian summer vacation and gain academic credit for their studies. It also provides them with the opportunity to form friendships with Komazawa students and experience Japanese hospitality in a homestay. More than 500 UQ students have participated in the program since in began in 1989.

Creating opportunities for future engineers

In July 2017, with funding from the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, Mechanical and Mining Engineering undergraduates will experience Japan's manufacturing sector first-hand. Students will travel to Japan for a series of lectures on manufacturing and Japanese language, and a hands-on tour of manufacturing facilities in Fukuoka, including Toyota, Nissan, and Panasonic. The study tour is being facilitated by the Kyushu Economic Federation.


More than 1050 alumni live in Japan. Alumni with significant links to Japan include:

Researcher and educator (Bachelor of Arts (Honours) 1994; PhD 1999; International Alumnus of the Year 2011)
Partner, King & Spalding (Bachelor of Arts 1998; Bachelor of Laws 1999)
Melanie Brock
Chair Emeritus of Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan (Bachelor of Arts 1989; Master of Literary Studies 1990)
Dr Yoshitaka Hosoi
Senior Advisor for Natural Resources, Japan International Cooperation Agency (PhD 2009)


UQ is privileged to have at least 11 academic staff members who were born in Japan. A few senior staff include: