Site: The University of Tokyo
Graduate School of Engineering
Hongo 7-3-1, Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 113
Date Visited: 1 June 1997
Host: Fumihiko Kimura, Professor
Department of Precision Machinery Engineering
Tel: 81 3 3812 2111 x 6455 (FAX: 81 3 3812 8849)


The University of Tokyo is the oldest and most prestigious national university in Japan. It includes the College of Arts and Sciences and nine independent units. It is both an undergraduate and graduate degree granting institution. It has nine undergraduate major degrees. The Graduate School has 11 divisions, including Humanities, Education, Law and Politics, Sociology, Economics, International and Interdisciplinary Studies, Science, Agricultural Sciences, Medical Science, and Engineering.

Precision Machinery Engineering is one of 24 specialized units within the School of Engineering. This unit has ten full professors, eight associate professors, and six research associates. Masters degrees require two years to complete. Each year 40 students are admitted. PhD students are selected from those completing an MS program. About five students are admitted each year. Since the PhD is a three-year program, a total of 15 PhD students and 80 MS students are enrolled in the department.

There are approximately 24,000 students at the university with 4,700 in engineering. Of those, 2,500 are in the graduate program. There are nearly 1,800 foreign students studying at the university. Some have the status of research students while others are regular students.


The focus of the department is on "Human Engineering" (Hito-Kogaku). This is to instill human concerns and nature in technology. The ongoing projects at the time of this visited included the following:

The culture in the department is to encourage interdisciplinary research. All disciplines (mechanics, optics, electronics, material science, biology, medicine, and information science) are used to solve research problems. Undergraduate as well as all graduate students participate in programs. Undergraduate students are required to complete a research thesis to graduate.

More than 1,500 students have graduated from the Department of Precision Machinery Engineering since its creation in 1953. The department has kept track of the shifts in interest of its students. Interestingly, the service sector, almost insignificant from 1953 to 1988, has grown to be now the biggest source (38%) of job opportunities. The second largest, electrical machinery, is at 19%. Precision machinery is at 8%. In contrast, between 1983 and 1987, electrical machinery dominated at 36%, with precision machinery at 20%, and service sector at 9%.

The Department of Precision Machinery Engineering has a most active program of cooperation with industry. Currently it has relationships with over 50 companies. In 1976, it established an organization called Seikekai to hold regular meetings with industry to strengthen communications. Industry representatives are asked for their opinions of the education provided by the university. Students often make plant visits and become familiar with those companies. Member companies often have summer training workshops in their plants and familiarize the students with the opportunities they offer.

Published: September 1998; WTEC Hyper-Librarian