Associate Professor KIM Rebecca ChungHee, College of International Management


Professor TAKEKAWA Shunichi, College of Asia Pacific Studies


Assistant Professor KOJIMA Shinji, College of Asia Pacific Studies


KORENAGA Shun, President of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University


Center for Language Education Professor UMEDA Chisako


Associate Professor HIRAI Tatsuya

Position : Associate Professor, Education Development and Learning Support Center
Degree : Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, University of Minnesota
Nationality : Japan (Fukuoka Prefecture)
Main teaching areas : Career Design, First Year Student Workshop, Peer Leader Training.
Research interests : cross-cultural counseling, career counseling, group approach, positive psychology.
Recommended book : “Tuesdays with Morrie” by Mitch Albom
Hobbies and pastimes : Onsen, diving, tasting local foods and specialties, travel.


In this edition of Professor Close-Up we spoke with Associate Professor HIRAI Tatsuya of the Education Development and Learning Support Center. Following the completion of his Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, Associate Professor HIRAI taught clinical psychology at Kyushu Sangyo University to undergrad and grad students aiming to become counselors. He took up his current position at APU in April 2011 and currently teaches career design, first year student workshops, and peer leader training.

“He shared his impressions of APU students: “Students here are very active, get involved in so many different projects, and are interested to see how far they can expand their possibilities. It’s for these great students at APU that I aim to apply my background in psychology and help them to develop even further”. He spoke of how the many students at APU who are sincere, prepared to make the first step and enjoy doing things for others are a great source of motivation and inspiration for him. These students, he said, help him realize that he fulfills a very meaningful role at APU.

Some of his hobbies include experiencing the local Beppu hot-springs, diving in Okinawa once or twice a year, and enjoying the local specialties of the places he visits. He is also fond of a dip in a hot-spring on his way home from work, about 2 or 3 times a week. Another of his interests is enjoying the different foods of the countries he travels to. He recently visited Singapore and enjoyed the mixture of Chinese, Malay, Indian and other cultures and the resulting wealth of foods to choose from.

““Tuesdays with Morrie” is a book he highly recommends that shares the real story and lessons to be learnt from the conversations between a Morrie, a terminally ill college professor, and Mitch Albom, the author of the book and one of the professor’s former students. Assoc Prof. HIRAI spoke of how reading this book provides us with heart-warming words about how we lead our lives.

At the end of the interview, Assoc Prof. HIRAI offered a few words of encouragement to APU students: “APU is a unique place that offers you many opportunities to challenge your dreams and potential such as getting involved with peer leadership, TA, RA, GASS and FLAG organizations, taking part in Multicultural Weeks, field studies, FIRST, and other projects. I encourage you to put your dreams into action. If you are ever unsure about what you want to do, first think about what you want to do for others. Working to make people around you happier will ultimately help you discover what it is that you value and want to achieve. Don’t be afraid to fail; there will always be someone there to support you. You are sure to gain something meaningful through these experiences. So challenge yourself and go beyond your comfort zone!” Thank you Assoc Prof. HIRAI for your warm words of encouragement!

Note :Position given is accurate at the time of publication.