||Dean, College of Asia Pacific Studies
Ph.D. (Geography) Seoul National University
|Research areas :
||Geography, geographical studies, human geography
||Korean 90s music, travelling (by trains and cars)
|Favorite food :
||Chige, Samgyeopsal (Both are common Korean dishes)
In this edition of “Professor Close-Up”, we introduce Professor TODOROKI Hiroshi, Dean of College of Asia Pacific Studies (APS) from this April. He shares with us his encounter with APU and outlook for APU in the future.
Dean TODOROKI gave SPA his books.
【Please tell us about your encounter with APU】
After graduating from Geography Department of Ritsumeikan University, I worked at a travelling company because I loved travelling. However, driven by the desire to do more research activities, I decided to quit my job and went to Graduate School of Seoul National University where I focused on research about “old road” in South Korea. During my time researching there and working as a part-time lecturer, I observed the launch of APU through connection with Ritsumeikan University Alumni Association Seoul Chapter in Korea and experiences working in APU Seoul office. That was my encounter with APU.
【What do you think that makes APU special?】
Firstly, professor interviews by student bodies like this is special about APU. Of course, the international environment is also APU characteristic. In graduate-level classes, I teach in English, but students come from different countries, so the class looks so much like United Nations. This also reminds me of my experience to study language abroad during my absence from university as a 3rd-year student. As a feature of APU Graduate School, there are international students that love either APU or Japan. I love this environment where those students and Japanese students collaborate and do multicultural week or circle activities together. I have also served as an advisor for APU samulnori circle Shinmyoung where I don’t feel any nationality barrier. I’d say APU is a melting pot of cultural exchange.
【Do you have any expectations for APU as the new Dean of APS?】
To accomplish APU 2020 Vision, APS raises “Inheritance of Opening Spirit”. In 1990s before the opening of the university, there were many things to consider in the framework of Asia Pacific, that was when “Asia Pacific Studies” was born. Through succeeding the mind of that time, we would like you to make the most of our various faculty members, which is one of APU strengths, and I want to emphasize the aspect of “mini general university”.
【What do you think are challenges for APU from now on?】
In other to differentiate APU from other universities of G5*1 and SGU*2, rather than settling down with the current position, we would like to aim at creating next standards, for which I currently have two ideas. Firstly, I want Beppu to become the “hub” for our university activities. In order words, I want to accept more hardworking students from other countries, as well as send our students to the universities overseas. For example, a student in their last year who is interested in Ho Chi Minh City can go to Vietnam, stay there in one year while discussing their undergraduate thesis about Vietnam with their supervisor in APU. In other words, students will be able to create their own campus, a “borderless” campus to be specific, in that country. Second, I want us to move from “competition” to “collaboration” with other universities. I expect APU to receive more students who would love to experience Japan.
【Finally do you have any messages for APU students?】
As APU can only provide infrastructures, I want all students to make the most of them. There are skill-up opportunities such as TOEFL and other tests, extracurricular activities like internship programs that are important, but please try to learn about academic research which can only be pursued in university. Originally university is the place for research, so the skills developed through doing research in university are important for the skills needed when going to live in the society after graduation. Therefore, for APS 1st and 2nd year students that are worried about what kind of curriculum they should create, I’d say please don’t hesitate to ask for advice from the professors. APS 2nd year students are allowed to take “Introduction to research methods”, “Research method” classes that can help students prepare for their seminar classes in 3rd year. In fact I want to encourage all students, regardless of your college, to proactively participate in seminar classes. Through seminar classes, students will be able to understand the specialized research area of the faculty, and learn from their professors in the way that a junior would learn from their senior. Such opportunities are only experienced in university, so please read more about APU faculty members’ research papers and books. This should be helpful to deepen your knowledge.
Passionate and devoted to research and teaching, Professor TODOROKI has encouraged us to make the most of our APU life and network. We wish Professor TODOROKI all the best, and look forward to the changes he is planning to create in APU.
*1G5: Global 5 Universities - Akita International University, International Christian University, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Faculty of Liberal Arts of Sophia University and School of International Liberal Studies of Waseda University
*2Universities which are selected to increase international competitiveness by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology