Industry and Researchers

Reflections on a year well spent at Tokyo Tech


Brian Woodall

Professor, School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology

Research interests: Comparative political economy, comparative politics and international relations with an emphasis on Japan and East Asia

It has been a few months since I left Tokyo Tech, and I find myself reflecting on the eleven months spent as a visiting scholar there. I was fortunate to have been selected to be a Fulbright Scholar, which offered the opportunity to conduct research in Japan. When it came time to establish an institutional affiliation with a Japanese university, I reached out to acquaintances in Tokyo Tech's Graduate School of Engineering. I could not have made a better decision. From my comfortable apartment in Tokyo Tech's International House, I could easily travel to central Tokyo to attend events and interview policymakers. Better yet, I was able to interact with some of Japan's leading technology experts in a range of relevant fields without leaving campus. I am particularly grateful to Dean Kikuo Kishimoto and Professor Jeffrey S. Cross for taking care of the arrangements to host me.

My "Fulbright year" at Tokyo Tech was filled with many memorable activities. Soon after arriving in July 2014, it was my pleasure to deliver an address to the closing ceremony for students in the Tokyo Tech International Research Opportunities Program. Later I helped prepare outbound TiROP students for what to expect in their overseas studies. My wife, Joyce, thoroughly enjoyed volunteer teaching English conversation to a bright group of Tokyo Tech students who made a study trip to the United States to visit Georgia Tech and MIT. I was delighted to witness — and, in a small way, assist in — the ambitious efforts underway at Tokyo Tech to promote "internationalization" through study abroad. Should the chance avail itself, I would look forward to assisting in future endeavors. In fact, I am hoping to establish a collaborative Georgia Tech/Tokyo Tech study abroad program. In my many years as a faculty member at Georgia Tech, I have always believed that Tokyo Tech is the perfect partner school in Japan. Having spent the past year at Tokyo Tech, I am able to see various areas for expanded collaboration between two of the world's leading "technological universities."

I could go on and on, but I will conclude with a few scattered reflections of my time at Tokyo Tech. For instance, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to instruct Tokyo Tech students in the "International Coexistence" course that I co-taught with Professor Sachio Hirose and Professor Hirofumi Hinode in the Department of International Development Engineering. In addition, I was pleased to be invited to guest lecture to an event organized by the lab of Professor Naoya Abe in that same department. Likewise, I had the chance to interview former Prime Minister Naoto Kan — a Tokyo Tech alumnus, and learned much through participating in the international forum held in Perth by Tokyo Tech's Academy for Co-creative Education of Environment and Energy Science (ACEEES). I will never forget the many people — including the staff at TiROP and in the International Affairs Department — who went out of their way to ensure that my wife and I had a pleasant and productive stay at Tokyo Tech. Going forward, I look forward to contributing in whatever way I can to Tokyo Tech's well-deserved distinction as a "Super Global" university with the mission of preparing graduates to "walk into positions of global leadership."

  • After lecture to International Coexistence course
  • Farewell dinner with colleagues
  • Lecture at event organized by Professor Naoya Abe

After lecture to "International Coexistence" course /
Farewell dinner with colleagues /
Lecture at event organized by Professor Naoya Abe

At the ACEEES International Forum in Perth
At the ACEEES International Forum in Perth

At an event organized by Professor Naoya Abe
At an event organized by Professor Naoya Abe


Public Relations Division, Tokyo Institute of Technology