448901 AY2020 Application for "Post-master's Research Student & Doctoral Research Student"

We'd like to inform you about the application guideline for "Post-master's Research Student & Doctoral Research Student".

Application Period: 
1) Applying for spring semester enrollment/ the whole academic year: (Fri) Mar 6, 2020 – (Fri) Mar 13, 2020 10am-5pm
2) Applying for fall semester enrollment: (Mon) Sep 7, 2020 – (Mon) Sep 14, 2020 10am-5pm

Application Form:

AY 2020 Post-Master’s Research Student / Doctoral Research Student Application Guidelines

 "Post-master's Research Student & Doctoral Research Student"  System is a system for graduates of our graduate schools to continue doing research at our facilities.
 Post-master's Research Student and Doctoral research student cannot receive research instruction from faculty.

If you would like to apply, please submit application documents to IR office.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

Read more


Mon, July 6, Ms. PHAM THI PHUONG THAO The Final Doctoral Dissertation Defense

The Public Oral Examination of Doctoral Dissertation


For those who wish to attend “The Public Oral Examination of Doctoral Dissertation”


As part of the COVID-19 guidelines, please be advised that all attendees need to make reservations in advance this time.


Advance Reservation (by email only):

 Please provide your name, email address, mobile phone number by email at

 ir-adm@st, with the subject line, “The Public Oral Examination of Doctoral Dissertation”.(*If you are a student at Ritsumeikan University, also kindly provide your student ID #, faculty and Graduate school name ) 



Friday, July 3rd, 2020 11am (Japan time)


Confirmation (By email):

The confirmation email will be sent out from the GSIR office after July 3rd, 2020 afternoon.



We accept advance reservations only.

If the number of applications exceeds the spaces available for students, a random lottery will be held.

Since we need to continue to follow public health directives for gathering and social distancing, and also all attendees will be requested to wear a mask on campus, also hand sanitizer will be available at the entrance for attendees. 


Seat Assignments:

In order to allow people to keep their distance in the class room, we encourage to stay socially distant from others.




Ritsumeikan University

Graduate School of International Relations

Read more


Important Notice for GSIR Applicants (for Fall 2020 Entry)

Dear GSIR Applicants (for Fall 2020 Entry)

Given the “Declaration of a state of emergency” by a government, the Ritsumeikan Trust has decided to take the measure of prohibiting entry to the campuses from Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

Along with this measure, all faculties work from home and any call to the Office of Graduate Studies can’t be answered during the above period, thereby in-person application submission is not possible for the following three admissions (Fall 2020 Entry) at the Graduate School of International Relations. Please use postal mail for sending your application documents within the due date.

- Regular Admissions for English-based Programs (Document Only)   

Application Period; Wednesday, April 1, 2020–Wednesday, April 22, 2020

- Regular Admissions for Japanese-based Programs (Document Only)   

Application Period; Wednesday, April 1, 2020–Wednesday, April 22, 2020

- Regular Admissions for Master's Degree Holders   

Application Period; Wednesday, April 1, 2020–Wednesday, April 22, 2020

If you have any questions, please contact to us by email.


Administrative Office

Graduate School of International Relations

Read more


Wednesday, January 22, 2020 The Head, Korea and Mongolia Department, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Alexander V. Vorontsov gives a special workshop

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 The Head, Korea and Mongolia Department, Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Alexander V. Vorontsov gives a special workshop in the Kinugasa Campus, Kyoto. 

Dr. Vorontsov and participants discussed the topic of “The Current North Korea Issue”.

Dr. Vorontsov was asked a topic of North Korean Nuclear Issue, he mentioned that we need to discuss the North Korean Nuclear issue from historical background and discussed the US-North Korea relationship from the Korean War to the present. He referred to opinions from the North Korean point of view that North Korea has recognized the recent Korea Peninsula issue in a long term history, not just in recent years.

The Russian Academy of Sciences is the highest research institute of Russia and Dr. Vorontsov is a top of the Korean Studies researcher in Russia.   He writes for the Russian media “SPUTNIK”, and not only Russia, but also research paper and conference of the United States, South Korea and Japan.    He worked at the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang from 2000 to 2002, studied at the Kim Il-Sung University in Pyongyang and has visited Pyongyang a few times a year for research.

Graduate School of International Relations, Ritsumeikan University and the Ritsumeikan Center for East Asian Peace and Cooperation are to produce results that are higher international standards of the East Asia Studies, and offer a variety of conferences and workshops on a regular basis.

Read more


Special Lecture: “Is chess a fitting or a misleading metaphor/analogy/model for understanding strategic interactions in international relations?”

Special Lecture:

Is chess a fitting or a misleading metaphor/analogy/model
for understanding strategic interactions in international relations?


Talk by: Visiting Professor KOPPER Ákos from Eötvös Loránd University (Head of Department of International Relations and European Studies), Budapest (Hungary)


On November 13th 2019, Professor Kopper gave a special lecture at the College of International Relations of Ritsumeikan University about the potential and limitation of chess for serving as an explanatory model of international relations. International society is highly complex, and it needs a model to describe its various manifestations. Chess has been frequently used as a potential model for the illustration of international conditions, yet its limitation in doing so has not been sufficiently investigated yet. Professor Kopper in his lecture addressed this limitation by discussing the role of chess as a demonstrative tool for the study of international relations. In doing so, Professor Kopper first provided various examples of how chess, along with its diverse forms in history, had been used for the study of international relations. Thereafter he discussed its potential and limitation for international relation studies, by having recourse to three different approaches: chess as a metaphor, chess as an analogy, and chess as a model. As argued in the lecture, each of these three approaches has a different degree of explanatory power about, or in other words expressive modes of, reality: metaphors having the least and models having the strongest explanatory power. Through a careful consideration of the three approaches, Professor Kopper concluded that it was not possible to grasp the entire complexity of international society through chess moves, either as a metaphor or as an analogy or as a model. Yet, as also argued in the lecture, it is possible to throw light upon certain aspects of the actual conditions of international relations, by employing chess-pieces for, for instance, political cartoons.


Professor Kopper’s lecture contributed to the study of the core research subject of the College of International Relations to a great extent. This could be seen through both the large number of questions raised by the audience and their written comments collected after his lecture. Though a powerful explanatory model is yet to come, this special lecture provided an inspiring atmosphere for future research directions.


See a related article written by Professor Kopper for further details:

Akos, Kopper, What Image Does IR Project? Chess, A Visual Metaphor for IR (2017) International Studies Review, Vol. 19(3): 337–361

Read more


Special Lecture: “Managing Reputation for Organizational Survival: Cases of Initial Involvement by the UNHCR in Issues of Internally Displaced Persons”

On Thursday, November 21th, 2019, a special lecture by Prof. Sho Akahoshi was held at Kinugasa Campus, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, hosted by the University’s Graduate School of International Relations (GSIR). Professor Akahoshi is an Associate Professor at the School of Law and Politics at Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan. His main research interest is global governance, especially focusing on coordination mechanisms between various actors such as IGOs (intergovernmental organizations), NGOs and private corporations to solve global issues. His papers are published in the International Relations (国際政治), United Nations Studies (国連研究), CDR Quarterly and other academic journals.

Professor Akahoshi’s lecture presentation comprised three parts. First, he introduced his research on the UNCHR involvement in the IDP (internally displaced persons) issue in two cases: South Sudan and South Vietnam. Next, he explained his choice of multi-archival research as the main method of data collection. Finally, he invited students to ask him questions regarding his research.

He started with reminding the listeners of the UNCHR mandate to protect refugees and brought up international definitions of refugees and IDPs. Although both categories leave their places of residence and flee to avoid the armed conflict, the main difference between refugees and IDPs lies in crossing internationally recognized state borders. Originally, the UNCHR mandate protected only those who crossed the state borders but eventually, it was expanded to include IDPs. Therefore, Prof. Akahoshi’s main empirical question is ‘Why did the UNCHR decide to get involved in IDP case, beyond its mandate?’ Based on that, he developed a theoretical question: ‘Under what conditions does an IGO change its behavior?’ He attempted to answer both questions using two case studies in late 1960s. In case of South Sudan, the UNHCR chose to help IDPs while in case of South Vietnam, it didn’t get involved. He became curious why the UNCHR had such a different response to seemingly similar cases.

The previous research didn’t compare the two cases but treated each of them individually. To explore the factors that caused the IGO change its behavior, Prof. Akahoshi applied existing empirical literature to his case studies. Examining literature based on the realism tradition, he came up with factors as power, interest and idea. Based on liberalism theory, he looked into collective principals and proximate principals as possible explanations. Finally, he explored structural factors based on constructivism theory: e.g. functional approach, regime complexity and IGO’s characteristics. However, he found that none of the factors could answer his research questions.

Being interested in theory building through a case study, Prof. Akahoshi proceeded to heuristic/plausibility probe to theory-testing. As IDP assistance was out-of-mandate issue for the UNHCR, the organization had to justify its activity to member states in the Executive Committee and General Assembly. Therefore, Prof. Akahoshi further narrowed down his research question to the following: ‘How did the UNHCR interpret issues on IDPs? Especially, how did the UNHCR connect the issues to its mandate?’ To answer these questions, he started archival research in the UNHCR Records and Archives in Geneva, the US National Archives and the UK National Archives.

Assistance to South Vietnamese IDPs was requested by the Chief of the US Senate Subcommittee of Refugees Edward Kennedy who was concerned that without humanitarian assistance, those people might become active agents against the United States. He requested Sadruddhin Aga Khan, the High Commissioner for Refugees who was his classmate at Harvard University to get involved in the IDP issues in South Vietnam. However, the UNHCR clearly rejected the US request and their interpretation of IDPs as refugees. Instead, Khan offered to loan or second personnel to either US AID or South Vietnamese government seeing no problem of criticism as long as the personnel are not under the UNHCR label or control.

In case of South Sudanese IDPs, the assistance was requested by the Sudanese government that initiated the repatriation of refugees to Sudan, and the UNHCR provided Sudanese refugees in Uganda, Kenya, and Central African Republic with humanitarian assistance. In addition to refugees, there were 0.5 million IDPs in southern regions of Sudan, and the UNHCR committed to help them as well. Based on his analysis of archival documents. Prof. Akahoshi argues that Sudanese government and the UNHCR had agreed interpretations for IDP assistance: they both considered IDP assistance as a part of refugee protection.

According to Prof. Akahoshi, the theoretical implications of those two case studies lie in managing reputation for organizational survival. Most prior studies have focused on state reputation and its use by NGOs in ‘naming and shaming’ strategies to influence the state behavior. However, relatively few studies (Carpenter 2010; Barnett and Finnemore 2004) explored the role of reputation for international organizations. Prof. Akahoshi found that the UNHCR justified its involvement or non-involvement in IDP issues using principles of organizational neutrality, and ‘guilt by association’. The UNHCR attempted to hide its label in South Vietnamese case, while the situation in Sudan was seen as an opportunity for the UNCHR to expand its activities into Africa and prove its efficiency to African member states. Prof. Akahoshi concluded that the driver of the UNHCR change was its reputational management, i.e. organizational attempts to enhance or not to undermine its reputation.

Regarding his method of data collection, Prof. Akahoshi stressed the lack of studies based on archival materials of the UNHCR. The UNHCR Archives were opened for the public in 1996 by the High Commissioner Sadako Ogata who used to be a diplomatic historian and understood the importance of archival study. However, they observe a 20-year rule meaning that current issues cannot be researched in the archives. Prof. Akahoshi explained about the structure of the UNHCR Archives and types of documents to be found there. He encouraged students to go to archives as a treasure hunt: not only the UNHCR but also other international organizations (WFP, ILO, IOM, etc.). By combining research in national archives and IGO archives, Prof. Akahoshi was able to cross-check the information and enhance validity of his findings.

The Q&A session involved questions regarding his experience conducting archival research, the role of the main donors to the UNHCR during 1960s, the role of the Cold War confrontation in explaining the UNHCR behavior in providing IDP assistance, relation between IDP protection and refugee issue.

Read more


Exploring Future Careers in International Organizations: College of IR Hosted “OECD Career Fair”

On Nov 28th, the College of International Relations and Career Center at Ritsumeikan University hosted the “OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Career Fair” on Kinugasa campus.


Executive Director Josée Touchette and Sam Holland, Talent Management Analyst at the OECD traveled from Paris, the hometown of their organization and gave a special career guidance session for Ritsumeikan students. 


Over 30 students from the Graduate School and College of International Relations, including Japanese and international students from various countries, joined the seminar. Students learned about the history and structure of the OECD, as well as the various opportunities for getting a position in the organization, like the Young Professional Programme, Young Associate Programme, and internship. After the lecture, students lined up to ask many questions and to request advice on their future career. 


Many graduates from Ritsumeikan University are now working in international organizations, and Kinugasa campus has hosted various sessions on organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations. 

Read more


Special Lecture: "Do We Really Know Trump? This is How Japanese Mainstream Media Spread Untrue Stories"

On Thursday, November 14th, 2019, a special lecture by Mr. Yoichiro Tateiwa was held at Kinugasa Campus, Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, hosted by the University’s Asia Japan Institute, Graduate School of International Relations (GSIR), and Institute of International Relations and Area Studies (IIRAS). Mr. Yoichiro Tateiwa is the founder and executive editor for Seeds for News Japan (SNJ), an Osaka-based nonprofit news organization focusing on investigative reporting. Mr. Tateiwa had led the Panama Papers investigative reporting unit of NHK, Japan’s public news and broadcasting bureau, before leaving in 2016 to start SNJ.

Mr. Tateiwa’s lecture chronicled his experience and intimate knowledge of the inner workings of investigative journalism and his search for truth as he delved deeper into Japanese mainstream media coverage of headlining topics such as United States President Donald Trump’s ascendancy into office and his involvements in the Korean Peninsula issue. During the process, he noted the propensity of Japanese mainstream media outlets for painting out-of-context and incomplete pictures of speeches and statements, as well as a notorious lack of clarity regarding sources. Mr. Tateiwa’s episodes and anecdotes from his stay at Trump Hotel in Washington DC and Pyongyang illustrates the need to go beyond the smoke screen and look closer to gain a more complete grasp of the situation on the field. He also lamented the fact that Japanese mainstream media often leans towards reporting international news only when it is directly connected to Japanese interests. All of these factors contribute to the misleading tendencies of Japanese mainstream media coverage, which brought about the demand for fact-checking mechanisms such as The Washington Post’s fact checker as well as PolitiFact. However, adapting such fact-checking mechanism to Japan comes with its own set of challenges, which necessitates the modification of truth-or-false scale to make it more “polite” to avoid offending people implicated in the news and hence more suitable to Japanese journalistic culture.

Lastly, Mr. Tateiwa reinforced the importance of cooperation and networking with an international cadre of fellow investigative journalists, not only to exchange information or discuss how other journalists might approach a particular news, but also to share best practices to ensure a more impartial and accurate news coverage. He then proceeded to field several questions from several students in the audience before wrapping up the lecture amidst boisterous applause from the crowd.

Read more


The Symposium on State-building efforts in Afghanistan, October 25, 2019

Summary of the Symposium on State-building efforts in Afghanistan, October 25, 2019 (578 words)

The symposium started with a welcome note by Prof. Adachi saying that 2019 was a historically important year for Afghanistan that held a presidential election in September 2019. Peace and democracy are a core educational philosophy at Ritsumeikan University that hosted the event.

The first keynote speaker H.E. Mrs. Adela Raz, Afghanistan ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations thanked Japan for its generous humanitarian assistance. She mentioned that 2015-2024 was termed a “transformation decade” in Afghanistan as the country aimed to achieve a level of self-reliance to stop depending on foreign aid and transform into an equal member of international community. Mrs. Raz emphasized the importance of regional cooperation platforms in enhancing connectivity of Afghanistan and stated major progress in providing essential healthcare service and reducing child mortality.

Next, H. E. Mr. Tadamichi Yamamoto, a special representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and the head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) mentioned progress achieved in the areas of electoral transparency, police reform, access to healthcare services, education of girls and women. The diplomat stressed the need for concluding a peace agreement with the Taliban to ensure respect for human rights and achieve sustainable socioeconomic growth. Other points emphasized by H.E. Mr. Yamamoto were the need for coordination among donor countries and inclusive participation in discussing issues of transitional justice and reintegration of former combatants to the society.

The first session was concluded by a brief Q&A with the keynote speakers and Mr. Shohei Hara, director of the South Asia department of the JICA who reiterated the importance of the triple nexus for the success of the transformation decade in Afghanistan. The questions related to the role of China in the peacebuilding and development process in Afghanistan and the “lost five years” for women’s education in Afghanistan during the Taliban rule.

The second session involved a panel discussion with Dr. Haruyuki Shimada, Mr. Shohei Hara, Ms. Sahar Hamdard, Dr. Masanori Naito and Dr. Shinichi Mizuta. Prof. Shimada worked for JICA for over 20 years, including several years in Kabul. Now a professor at Ritsumeikan, he continues his research on Afghanistan. Ms. Hamdard studied in Japan for two years under the PEACE scholarship and is now a head of Engineering and architectural design authority in Kabul. She is grateful for the opportunity to study in Japan. Ms. Hamdard emphasized the importance of securing women’s rights, freedom of speech and media to build a pluralistic society. Prof. Naito shared his experience of inviting the Taliban representatives to the peace conference at Doshisha University. Dr. Mizuta argued there should be no gap between humanitarian aid and development efforts. Waiting for the peace agreement to be reached, the UN and other international organizations are actively preparing for that time and developing post-peace assistance plans. Mr. Hara talked about JICA’s involvement in Afghanistan and mentioned Dr. Nakamura from JICA who recently received an honor citizenship of Afghanistan for his irrigation project.

The Q&A session included questions about the internal process within the Taliban to end the war, parallels with Islamist groups in Somalia and ways to reach agreement without mediation of foreign countries, the role of Afghani women in the household and broader society.

The event was concluded by the closing remarks from H.E. Dr. Bashir Mohabbat, the Ambassador of Afghanistan in Japan saying that 2019 is also the 100th anniversary of restoration of Afghani independence. Once again, he thanked Japan for showing true friendship and belief in Afghani people.

Read more