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Our Educational Goals and Policies

Educational Goals

To foster in students the imagination necessary to consider others and the environment, the creativity to change society, and hope for their life in the world of the future.

  1. The will to understand the true nature of things and clarity of vision: Imagination
  2. The ability to give form to their thoughts and ideas: Creativity
  3. The drive to identify and resolve problems: Spirit
  4. The ability/intent to be socially and professionally independent: Sociality

Admission Policy

At Tohoku University of Art and Design, our motto is Geijutsu Rikkoku (Nation of Art) and we implement this idea through an education which seeks to “foster in students the imagination necessary to understand others and the environment, the creativity to change society, and the ability to forge their own future.” When selecting applicants for admission to our Art and Design Engineering departments, we consider the following traits, in order to accurately and comprehensively judge the candidate’s capacity in their chosen field.

  1. They are passionate about art and design
  2. They have basic knowledge, gained from high school education and experience, and are capable of self-study
  3. They are interested in society as a whole and are able to improve themselves by working in tandem with their companions

[ Art Department ]
Art stems from knowledge and the pure pursuit of beauty; it has the power to grant dreams and hope to others, as well as give birth to new forms of value. We are looking for students who are adaptable enough to learn a diverse range of ideas and possess the spirit to constantly polish their imagination and senses, all while seeking to use their artistic abilities for the betterment of society.

[ Design Engineering Department ]
Design is not just about aesthetics; “design thinking” has become an essential tool for the improvement and evolution of society. Without limiting their efforts to hobbies or mere self-expression, we ask students to imagine the ways they could use their designs to improve all of society. We are looking for candidates that want to learn about designing things both tangible and intangible, in order to become active participants in society.

Diploma Policy

At Tohoku University of Art and Design, our motto is “Nation of Art” and our goal for students is that, by completing our courses and gaining the required 124 credits, they will embody the objectives of our educational philosophy by fostering the imagination to consider others and the environment, the creativity to change society, the spirit to take on challenging problems, and the ability to use their artistic skills for the good of society.
To achieve this goal, we aim to provide students with the following four traits and 10 abilities.

  1. The will to understand the true nature of things and clarity of vision: Imagination
    Students will build a wide knowledge base, broad perspective, and rich sense of beauty, through which they can discover and explain the various issues which exist in the world.
  2. The ability to give form to their thoughts and ideas: Creativity
    Students will be able to express and share the mental images they imagine/feel.
  3. The drive to identify and resolve problems: Spirit
    [ Art Department ]
    Students will strive to develop an independent “self” and with this strong spirit and artistic ability, they can introduce a fresh new perspective to society.
    [ Design Engineering Department ]
    Students will gain the attitude and will to use their design ability for the good of society, developing solutions to challenging problems.
  4. The ability/intent to be socially and professionally independent: Sociality
    Students will develop a mature perspective on business and work, while acquiring the necessary traits and abilities to function well in society.
Strengths Abilities Skills Students Should Develop
The will to understand the true nature of things and clarity of vision:
Knowledge/Understanding Knowledge and understanding of natural and social systems
Thinking Ability The ability to use accurate information to think about things logically and systematically
Problem Finding Ability The ability to learn the history and true nature of the subject, while considering issues that arise
The ability to give form to thoughts and ideas:
Conceptual Ability The ability to use rich sensibility and instincts to create a concept/image
Expressive Ability The ability to take a concept/image and use the appropriate skills/techniques to visualize it in a variety of mediums
The drive to identify and resolve problems:
Ethics [ Art Department ] The practice of following your conscience and using your artistic skills for the betterment of society
[ Design Engineering Department ] The practice of following your conscience and using your design skills for the betterment of society
Ability to Perform [ Art Department ] The ability to independently persevere with tasks and influence your environment until they are completed
[ Design Engineering Department ] The ability to persevere when working on goals you’ve set for yourself and influence your environment until they are completed
The ability/intent to be socially and professionally independent:
Fundamental Academic Skills Writing, reading, arithmetic, computer literacy, information literacy
Self Discipline The ability to exhibit self-control and the initiative to proactively pursue one’s own growth through learning
Interpersonal Relationship Building Ability The ability to understand a diverse range of people, accurately communicate your thoughts to them, and work together to improve society

Curriculum Policy

  1. In our university-wide subjects that form the basis for learning art and design, students will study subjects such as “Peace Through Art,” which has the goal of teaching them the university’s ideals; “Nature, Society, and Art,” and “Regional Context,” in which they will learn how to use their art/design skills for the good of society; “Language and Expression” and “Social Literacy,” through which they will gain general linguistic ability, computer literacy, the ability to express themselves through digital means, and information that is needed to function in society.
  2. The important lectures held during each course will be made available as university-wide subjects, where students can learn about a broad variety of fields, irrespective of their own area of expertise.
  3. First-year education includes seminars on the Basics of Imagination, held with a mix of students from multiple classes, where students of every discipline will learn about the meaning behind higher learning and our goals. By thinking about and sharing these ideals, they will become able to study independently.
  4. Specialized education includes basic courses made up of lectures designed to give students specialized knowledge and skills, as well as hands-on training, along with specialized course work containing more practical PBL seminars. In the specialized course work, we will utilize the unique characteristics of each subject and hold collaborative seminars with local groups and businesses that teach students about how to build social relationships and encourage active participation.
  5. In keeping with the mission of social revolution embodied in the school’s motto, “Nation of Art,” the university considers career counseling, which takes students who have gained creative abilities and sends them out into the world, an important branch of our education. In addition to required subjects like the career building course in the second year, and the career design course in the third year, we also offer a comprehensive awareness-building program that includes guidance for new students, first-year education, conferences with each student’s primary teacher twice a year, and a variety of career support opportunities towards the end of the third year, to teach students how they can use the art/design skills they’ve learned to improve their own lives and society as a whole.

Overview of Subjects/Courses

Conservation for Cultural Property

In Conservation for Cultural Property, students will study images, objects, and preservation science, gaining specialized knowledge and skills. The goal is to train people who will be able to preserve objects of historical importance. Through our seminars, students can also see the restorations of an array of cultural properties and works of art sent to us from around the country. Specialized knowledge gained here can be used by museum curators and technicians that preserve and restore artifacts, but is also applicable in a range of other fields and businesses.

[ Fields Available ]
Image Restoration (Western/Oriental), 3D Object Restoration, Preservation

Historic Heritage

Our students will interact with the history and people close to them, in order to change the future. In the field work portion of the course, they will travel all around the Tohoku region and discover the unique culture and meaning which underlies life in the region. Students will learn about hunting culture, occupational technology, archaeology, castle history, and local culture from our highly knowledgeable professors and will learn how to compile the results of their research into a booklet. Through field work and seminars with small groups, they will understand the real issues affecting society and will acquire the practical skills to find solutions to these issues.

[ Fields Available ]
History, Archaeology, Folklore Studies/Anthropology, Historic Heritage Management


By using artistic thought as a basis to think logically and systematically, and by acquiring a diverse range of expressive abilities, students will learn to use their skills to solve problems. There are courses in Japanese and Western art; two-dimensional mediums such as printmaking; three-dimensional mediums such as sculpture, crafts,and textiles; and courses focued on artistic activities such as social education through art. To gain a unique perspective and expressive ability, students will venture outside of their own area of expertise, studying different materials and ways of expression to find new expressive possibilities. The skills they gain here will help them to use artistic thinking to find solutions to social issues in Japan and the world, as well as put these solutions into practice.

[ Fields (Courses) Available ]
Japanese Painting (Traditional Techniques, Material Research, Sketching), Oil Painting (Oil and Acrylic Painting, Contemporary Expression, Traditional Techniques), Printmaking (Woodblock Printing, Copper Printing, Screen Printing), Sculpture (Wood Carving, Stone Carving, Metalworking), Crafts (Metalworking, Pottery, Wood Carving), Textiles (Dyeing, Fabrics, Fiber Art), General Arts (Lifelong Learning, Event Management, Communication Workshops, Art Workshops, Performance Planning)

Literary Arts

Students of Literary Arts department will use language to pursue a unique expressive ability that refuses to be drowned out in the chaotic mass of information already available. They will start with basic compositions and gradually build in complexity to gain the ability to write novels and essays. They will also gain editing skills, such as magazine/book design, collection of data inside and outside the university, draft creation, proofreading, and page design using professional DTP software. The skills they gain in the Literary Arts department will help them in every line of work and this department has produced competent individuals in a variety of fields.

[ Fields Available ]
Writing, Editing, Design/Publishing

Product Design

Students will learn to design products such as appliances, vehicles, interior decorations, furniture, and stationery — creating new ways of life in the process. They will start from the basics, so as not just to make aesthetically pleasing designs, but to truly understand the functions and meaning behind things, enabling them to find the most ergonomic forms and user-friendly designs. There is a range of opportunities to attend seminars by leading developers in the industry and students will gain abilities highly sought after in society, such as creativity, ability to make suggestions, and problem-solving. We have an array of programs for students to gain experience working for companies in product development and local manufacturing, preparing them for their future endeavors.

[ Fields Available ]
Product Design, Furniture Design, Interior Design, Interface Design

Architecture and Environmental Design

We will cover artistic/industrial architecture and urban design, with a focus on the latest fields like Renovation and “Eco-Houses”. Students will learn hands-on, from the basics to practical application, by restoring existing buildings, designing eco-houses, and more. Renovation will contribute to solving issues like the empty housing problem and the decline of shopping districts, while the well-insulated eco-houses will not just reduce energy costs, but also prevent blood pressure decline due to sudden temperature changes inside the house, contributing to health and welfare.

[ Fields Available ]
Architecture, Interior Design, Renovation, Ecology, Landscaping

Graphic Design

By working with businesses to design product packages, logos, and websites , as well as by creating art projects and hosting events in collaboration with local groups (particularly around Yamagata), students will learn by experiencing practical graphic design in the real world. They will also learn from scratch how to gather, compile, and edit the information necessary to transmit ideas, regardless of country, age, or disability. In addition to our substantial equipment and facilities, students will be taught by leading designers and artists, enabling them to discover new possibilities in the realm of graphic design. Our graduates are active not just in graphic design, but in a variety of fields, including manufacturing and advertising.

[ Fields Available ]
Graphic Design, Advertising, Editorial Design, Web Design, Illustration

Film & Media

Students will learn about a range of media, such as film, documentaries, commercials, photography, animation, and CG. They will learn how to come up with concepts and create screenplays, while their filming/audio recording/editing skills will be polished through the use of professional-grade equipment. With a recording studio, animation workshop with a private photography studio, CG studio with the latest software and multiple computers, photography studio, and screening room, we have a substantial range of facilities and equipment. Students can also participate in collaborative projects with local groups and businesses.

[ Fields Available ]
Animation, Narrative film/CM, CG, Photography, Documentaries

Project Design

Students will acquire the planning and practical abilities to improve local communities and wider society in a range of fields including advertising, content creation (film, online, etc.), and brand strategies for businesses and products. They will also work on their presentation ability, helping them become able to accurately communicate ideas and gain people’s understanding.

[ Fields Available ]
Entertainment Content Planning, Product Development/Branding Strategies, Advertising/PR/Marketing, Local Production

Community Design

Students will acquire an adaptable way of thinking through a variety of perspectives, such as urban planning, group development, design thinking, and social design. They will also develop a strong desire to use their expressive/creative abilities for the good of society. They will become community designers capable of putting these ideas and skills to use in the community, analyzing social problems, and finding solutions with their design abilities.

[ Fields Available ]
Local Production & Coordination, Workshop Design, Communication Design, Administrative Planning