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Social Work Education in Japan


I wanted to visit Japan for a number of years as I had very good friends whom I met originally in 2012 at the social work conference in Stockholm and wanted to learn from them about social work in the country of raising sun.

Thanks to ANA airlines I was able to accomplish my dream and even fly in business class to both Australia and Japan during my winter grading retreat. Because of the very cheap flight (thanks to the ANA error) I was able to buy Japan Rail Pass and explore the country from Sapporo to Kagoshima by train.

I want to thank Dr. Mai Yamaguchi and her family as well as Social Work faculty of Japan Lutheran College for sharing with me information about social work education in Tokyo, Dr. Minori Utsunomiya for the tour of Nagoya and explaining the Mental Health Social Work in Japan,  Yuichi Shinada for a tour of Tokyo Medical University Hospital and the role of social worker in health care system of Japan, and Professor Shin Yamada for a visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial and detailed explanation about Burakumin discrimination and social security law in Japan. I am extremely grateful for such a wonderful welcome in Japan and definitely will be back as there is so much to learn.

Here is the list of 65 social work programs I mapped during my visit:

Name of University Website
JPN Aichi Prefectural University http://www.aichi-pu.ac.jp/eng/undergraduate/education_and_welfare/welfare_science/index.html
JPN Bunkyo Gakuin University https://www.u-bunkyo.ac.jp/en/faculty/hs.html#welfare
JPN Chubugakuin University https://www.chubu-gu.ac.jp/university/wellbeing/index.html
JPN Doho University http://www.doho.ac.jp/departmental
JPN Dohto University http://www1.dohto.ac.jp/faculty/social-welfare/
JPN Doshisha University http://www.doshisha.ac.jp/en/academics/undergrad/social_studies/index.html
JPN Fukuoka Prefectural University http://www.fukuoka-pu.ac.jp/english/human.html
JPN Hokkaido Iryo University http://www.hoku-iryo-u.ac.jp/eng/nurs.html
JPN Hirosakigakuin University http://www.hirogaku-u.ac.jp/faculty/shakaihukushi/
JPN Hokusei Gakuen University http://en.hokusei.ac.jp/school_of_social_welfare/social_work/
JPN Hokusho University http://www.hokusho-u.ac.jp/school/lifesport/healthwelfare/index.html
JPN International University of Health and Welfare https://www.iuhw.ac.jp/gakubu/shm/index.html
JPN Iwate Prefectural University http://www-welf.iwate-pu.ac.jp/
JPN Japan College of Social Work http://www.jcsw.ac.jp/
JPN Japan Lutheran College http://www.luther.ac.jp/education/graduate/syakai/
JPN Japan Women’s University Mejiro Campus https://www.jwu.ac.jp/eng/g_profile/social_welfare.html
JPN Josai International University https://www.jiu.ac.jp/englishsite/u_program/fs_welfare.html
JPN Kagoshima Kokusai University http://www.iuk.ac.jp/~fukushi/
JPN Kanagawa University of Human Services http://www.kuhs.ac.jp/gakubu/2013072300013/
JPN Kansai University of Social Welfare https://www.kusw.ac.jp/general/introduction/course/welfare
JPN Kansai University of Welfare Sciences http://www.fuksi-kagk-u.ac.jp/faculty/social.html
JPN Kawasaki University of Medical Welfare https://w.kawasaki-m.ac.jp/dept/welfare_sw/
JPN Kibi International University http://kiui.jp/pc/gakka/hoken/sfukushi/
JPN Kobe Women’s Univ. Suma Campus http://www.yg.kobe-wu.ac.jp/wu/course/f-health/social-welfare.html
JPN Kumamoto Gakuen University http://www.s.kumagaku.ac.jp/
JPN Kwansei Gakuin University Nishinomiya Seiwa Campus https://www.kwansei.ac.jp/s_hws/index.html
JPN Kyoto Prefectural University http://www.kpu.ac.jp/contents_detail.php?co=cat&frmId=5572&frmCd=24-4-0-0-0
JPN Kyoto Women’s University http://www.kyoto-wu.ac.jp/gakubu/kasei/fukushi/index.html
JPN Meiji Gakuin University https://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/academics/faculty/sociology/social_work.html
JPN Nagasaki Wesleyan University http://www.wesleyan.ac.jp/faculty/social/
JPN Nihon Fukushi University http://www.n-fukushi.ac.jp/english/faculties/fukushi/index.html
JPN Niigata Seiryo University http://www.n-seiryo.ac.jp/faculty/nsu/welfare/
JPN Nishikyushu University http://www.nisikyu-u.ac.jp/faculty/social/
JPN Obihiro Otani Junior College http://www.oojc.ac.jp/?page_id=6978
JPN Oita University http://www.oita-u.ac.jp/english/education1.html
JPN Osaka City University http://www.osaka-cu.ac.jp/ja/academics/faculty/humanlife
JPN Osaka Prefecture University http://www.osakafu-u.ac.jp/academics/college/chhs/sswe/
JPN Ōtsuma Women’s University http://www.otsuma.ac.jp/academics/university/hum-care
JPN Prefectural University of Hiroshima http://www.pu-hiroshima.ac.jp/soshiki/welfare/
JPN Rikkyo University http://www.rikkyo.ac.jp/undergraduate/chs/
JPN Rissho University http://www.ris.ac.jp/faculty_graduate_school/social_welfare_faculty/index.html
JPN Ryukoku University http://www.ryukoku.ac.jp/english2/prog/faculty/soc.html
JPN Saga University http://it3.pd.saga-u.ac.jp/eg/human/idea.php
JPN Saint Catherine University http://www.catherine.ac.jp/course/shafuku/
JPN Seigakuin University http://www.seigakuin.jp/english/ac_hw_hw.html
JPN Seinan Jo Gakuin University http://www.seinan-gu.ac.jp/eng/academics/human_sciences.html
JPN Sendai Shirayuri Women’s College http://sendai-shirayuri.ac.jp/english/index.html
JPN Shikoku Gakuin University http://www.sg-u.ac.jp/academics/major/social_welfare/
JPN Shukutoku University http://www.shukutoku.ac.jp/academics/sougou/
JPN Showa Women’s University https://univ.swu.ac.jp/faculty/university/social/fukushi/
JPN Sophia University https://www.sophia.ac.jp/eng/program/undergraduate_c/UG_HS.html
JPN St. Andrew’s University http://www.andrew.ac.jp/faculty/welfare/
JPN Taisho University https://www.tais.ac.jp/faculty/department/social_welfare/
JPN Teikyo Heisei University http://www.thu.ac.jp/univ/modern_life/hc_sw_index.html
JPN Tenri University http://www.tenri-u.ac.jp/en/ariirh000000050n.html
JPN The International University of Kagoshima http://www.iuk.ac.jp/english/Faculty_Department.html
JPN Tohoku Fukushi University https://www.tfu.ac.jp/education/dsw/index.html
JPN Tokai University http://www.u-tokai.ac.jp/academics/undergraduate/health_science/social_work/
JPN Tokiwa University http://www.tokiwa.ac.jp/en/undergraduate/university/community/human/index.html
JPN Tokyo College of Welfare http://www.tcw.ac.jp/
JPN Tokyo University of Social Welfare http://www.tokyo-fukushi.ac.jp/jukennavi/academic/socialwork.html
JPN Tokyo Metropolitan University https://www.tmu.ac.jp/english/academics/graduate/hum/bss.html
JPN Toyama College of Welfare Science http://www.t-fukushi.urayama.ac.jp/subject/social_w/
JPN Toyo University http://www.toyo.ac.jp/site/english-faculty/soc.html
JPN University of Kochi http://www.u-kochi.ac.jp/site/english/social-walfare.html

Japanese Society for Study of Social Welfare website suggests that “Formal social welfare/work education in Japan originally developed as a field of higher education after the 1920s. The Japanese educational system was reformed after World War II and a modern higher educational system was established. The Japan Association of Schools of Social Work was founded as a voluntary organization in 1955 by 17 schools. In response to the aging society, the Certified Social Worker and Certified Care Worker Act became effective in 1987 and the Association became larger and larger. As of March 2010, it included 148 four-year universities, 13 two-year colleges, and 8 vocational schools. Other organizations, such as the Japanese Association of Schools of Certified Social Worker included 271 member schools. As for the output of all these education courses, there were 134,000 certified social workers in 2010”.

Another aarticlethat provides the history of social work profession in Japan is written by Ito, F. (2011). The Rise and fall of professional social work in Japan: Evolution, devolution and neo-liberal turn?. Journal of culture in our time123, 5-25 and is fully available online

Some comparison is provided betweek social work in South Africa and Japan in the following article: Sakaguchi, H., & Sewpaul, V. (2011). A comparison of social work education across South Africa and Japan in relation to the Global Standards for Social Work Education and TrainingInternational Journal of Social Welfare20(2), 192-202.

One can also learn about Japanese students perception on international social work practice from the following article: Saito, Y., & Johns, R. (2009). Japanese students’ perceptions of international perspectives in social work. International Social Work52(1), 60-71.

The future challenges of social work education in Japan is also well researched: Sasaki, A. (2010). Social work education in Japan: Future challengesSocial Work Education29(8), 855-868.

I will keep updating this post with new information on social work / social welfare in Japan.

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