Design education at Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku began with the Department of Design established in 1896 at the university’s predecessor, the Tokyo Fine Arts School (founded in 1887). For over a century since then, the department has played a continuing and important role as a driving force behind the creation of culture and ways of living suited to the times, amid various changes in social structures, cultural awareness, and production systems.
Ever since its founding, the department has followed its educational philosophy of pursuit of broad-ranging education and advanced design abilities built on tradition and developing a truly creative spirit to serve as a creative force in the times in which we live. Based on this philosophy, the department has continued to graduate large numbers of highly qualified designers.
Today, amid cultural diversification and advancing information technology, there is a need for fundamental questions and answers targeting the origins of the ways we live. The department plans to answer such questions based on recognizing anew its educational philosophy of pursuing functionality and beauty in everyday life and respecting both tradition and innovation.
Faculty: The goal is to nurture creative individuals with a comprehensive vision. Therefore, undergraduate education advances to a higher academic level each year and assumes a systemic form that enables one to gradually work toward a higher degree of specialization beginning from the basic course of design. The curriculum is not bound by the framework of existing specialized domains. Rather, it is organized in a way that the students are allowed to study shared elements of each specialized field, discover their potential, and align themselves to their future goals.
Master: Depending on the research themes, students are provided with separate studios (there are 10 studios); this enables them to conduct specialized research and creative work in their respective studios. While the students’ own research and creative work are the main components of the two-year program, in the first year, through a social collaboration program organized as a shared subject, students can work beyond their research themes and conduct complex and practical research and education. Thus, the curriculum content is structured in such a way so as to lend greater depth to the students’ research themes.
Doctor: Design research comprises a greatly enhanced and in-depth specialization informed by a comprehensive social perspective. The students build their own original design theory and pursue more advanced creative research and creative work over a period of three years. Each year the students enthusiastically participate in research activities, such as international exchange and social collaboration programs, planned by the department and the studios, thus broadening the scope of their research. The adopted research guidance program is designed to be useful in gaining practical experience.
Faculty: The Bachelor’s degree is awarded once the undergraduate curriculum policy is fulfilled and the final year of graduation work has been thoroughly assessed.
Master: The Master’s degree is awarded once the Master’s curriculum policy is fulfilled and the Thesis Review Committee comprising of a supervisor and several teaching staff from related fields of study has thoroughly assessed the completed work.
Doctor: The doctoral degree is awarded once the doctor curriculum policy has been fulfilled and once the Thesis Review Committee comprising all teachers within the department and a panel of examiners from outside the Department has conducted a thorough assessment of the creative work and has reviewed the dissertation.
The department’s educational and research structure consists of ten independent studios specializing in individual domains and organized into three groups addressing the common themes of visual, spatial, and functional design research. In addition, three studios in Environmental Design, Moving and Still Image Design, and Painting and Decorative Design have been established to provide common foundational courses. Both the undergraduate and post-graduate curriculum are tailored to allow each student to grow into his or her natural talent freely – without getting trapped in existing domains – by taking full advantage of the unique qualities of each studio and group.
To develop creators with comprehensive, integrated points of view, the undergraduate curriculum is designed to allow students to discover their own possibilities and choose future courses through shared learning in each specialized topic, unconfined to existing specialized domains.
This system lets students advance toward specialization by studying topics under all 10 themes of study in the first and second years of the program and choosing from the themes of visual, spatial, and functional design research as they advance through the years of the program. As students proceed through the curriculum, specialized lectures and focused lectures are assigned as appropriate, with consideration given to the unification of design creation and specialized knowledge. Student thesis projects are handled under a system whereby each studio provides individualized guidance to heighten the level of quality of the work.
Design fundamentals course: observation and expression; nature and humankind
Guidance is provided in three creative areas: basic practical techniques of sketching and modeling, four topics in practical design techniques, and design techniques. Under the educational guiding principles of observation and expression, the shared goal is to help students develop the necessary powers of expression, plastic arts skills, and observational skills as the foundations of design through contemplating motifs such as humankind and natural objects. This instruction is provided at the Toride Campus.
Specialized fundamentals course: conception and expression; lifestyle, apparel, diet, residence, leisure
Guidance is provided in six subjects of practical design techniques. Under the educational guiding principles for these subjects of conception and expression, the shared goal is to help students develop creative abilities, planning abilities, plastic arts skills, and communication abilities based on the main themes of apparel, diet, residence, and leisure connected to the ways in which people live. Also, under a system overseen by instructors in each domain, all students experience the plastic arts in specialized domains rooted in general knowledge. In addition, greater specialization is fostered through basic practical training and required courses.
Specialized courses: design and expression; society, urban environment, information
Guidance is provided in five subjects of practical design techniques in which the ten studios are involved. Under the educational guiding principles for these subjects of design and expression, the shared goal is to help students develop conceptual abilities, presentation skills, and planning abilities through experience with the plastic arts in processes ranging from identifying problems through conceptualization for the themes of society, the urban environment, and information. Students choose their own program of study from a wealth of specialized courses, allowing them to confirm their own aptitudes through specialization tailored to specific themes. Travel to study ancient art is included as part of coursework.
Specialized courses: design and expression; thesis project
Students design and create their own general knowledge by accumulating specialized skills through design themes based on their own identities. The first semester is made up of subjects based on shared themes and projects related to the upcoming thesis project. In the second semester, the period set aside for creating thesis projects, each studio works with the students based on their chosen themes. As a distillation of the student’s undergraduate studies, many thesis projects are created as design projects through efforts like developing large-scale projects and contracting work to outside specialists.
In the master’s degree program, each student is assigned to a specific studio to pursue his or her own research and creative work, based on the student’s research themes and studio specialization. Depending on the nature of the research, another studio will sometimes provide education and guidance. While each student’s own research and creative work are the main components of the two-year program, joint research is also done through a community-involvement program as a shared subject, mixing multiple research domains and involving joint planning and guidance in creative work, with the students and studios working as one.
Doctoral programs focus on design research with more in-depth specialization from a comprehensive perspective. In addition to studying his or her own original design theory, each student also pursues more advanced creative research and creative work. Participating proactively in research activities such as social-involvement activities and international exchange planned by the department and studios, students broaden the scope of their studies and gain practical experience.