||iUniversity of Rochesterj
||iUniversity of Californiaj
||iUniversity of Hawaiij
||iUniversity of Marylandj
||iDirector of The Japan Association for Research
Professor Emertus, Rikkyo Universityj
||iUniversity of Tokyoj
|| iFuture University-Hakodatej
|¡Japan Mathematical Society,
Publication Prize 2005
|¡gBasic Morality and Social Success in Japan”, (with Junichi Hirata, Tadashi Yagi, and Junko Urasaka)
|Journal of Informatics and Data Mining,ol.1, No.1, 2016, Insight Medical Publishing, Delaware, USA.
|¡gImpact of High School Science Studies on Incomes of Japanese University Graduates”, (with Junichi Hirata, Junko Urasaka and Tadashi Yagi)
|US-China Education Review B, Vol3, no.9, 2013, 651-662.
|¡gMathematics & Science Education and Income: An Empirical Study in Japan”, (with Junichi Hirata, Junko Urasaka and Tadashi Yagi)
|Journal of Reviews on Global Economics,
Vol.2, pp.1-8, 2013
|¡gAnnual Incomes of University Graduates and their Science Studies during High School Periods”, (with Junichi Hirata, Junko Urasaka and Tadashi Yagi)
|Recent Advances in Modern Educational Technologies, edited by Hamido Fujita and Jun Sasaki, pp.42-45, WSEAS Press, April 2013.
|¡gParentsf Educational Background,
Subjects gGood-Ath in Schools affect Income: an Empirical Studyh,
(with Junichi Hirata, Junko Urasaka and Tadashi Yagi)
|The Japanese Economic
Vol.57, pp.533-546, 2006
|¡gDetection of Thinking in
Human by Magnetoencephalographyh, (with Mitsuo Tonoike and
|World Congress of Medical
Physics and Biomedical Engineering 2006, IFMBE Proceedings
Vol. 14, pp.2617-2621, 2006 September
|¡gWorking and Training: A
Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis of Human Capital Developmenth, (with
Tadashi Yagi and Makoto Yano)
|The Japanese Economic
Vol.55, No.2, pp.119-140, June 2004
|¡gWorking on the brain and
rationality in economic behaviorh, (with Yoshikazu Tobinaga)
|The Proceeding of the
IJCNN 2003 (The 2003 International Joint Conference on Neural Networks
by the International Neural Network Society and the IEEE Neural
Networks Society), 2604-2608, 2003
|¡gStudying Mathematics and
University Education, Labor Income and Career Promotion Empirical
Analysis on the gSurvey on the Effects of Education at Departments
of Economics in Japanese Universities on Career Formationh
(with Junichi Hirata, Junko Urasaka, Tadashi Yagi)
|Social System Studies, The
Institute of Social System Ritsumeikan University, September
2003, No.7, pp.1-24
|¡gThe Role of Mathematics
Education in the Humanities and Social Sciences
|Mathematics Education in
Japan, Japan Society in Mathematical Education, 38-41, 1998
Related Newspaper Articles
|¡The Japan Times, April 11,
Science crisis in the making
Last November I
delivered a lecture on complex-system economics at
a world-famous institute
in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I also attended a conference
on science education in the same city, along with a
physicist from Turkey who was visiting there at the
The conference, aimed at improving mathematics and
physics education in the United States, was organized
by David Pines, co-director of the Institute for
Complex Adaptive Matters, and attended by university
and high-school teachers, writers, directors of science
movies, computer engineers and many others. The subject
was how to prepare a teaching program on superconductivity
for junior-and high-school students.
I spoke of my experiences at the author of a math
textbook, gLetfs Study Mathh (not approved by Japanese
censors). The idea behind the book ? providing children
with a text for self-study - received a favorable
response from the audience.
The Turkish physicist Ali Alpar, a professor at
a newly established university in Istanbul, reported
on education there. According to him, Sabanci University
(named after a Turkish businessman) requires humanities
students to study math an physics as well. In the
case of sciences ? physics, chemistry, biology and
geology are organically combined. Generally, the
first three subjects are taught in that order over
a period of two years. Biology is taught last so
that students can learn some of the latest developments
in life science, as in genetic engineering and brain
All this illustrates that the universityfs founding
committee conducted exhaustive discussions to create
an educational institution in the true sense of the
term. It is eary to imagine that students at Sabanci
University are as excellent as those at prestigious
universities of long standing.
By contrast, science education in Japan seems approaching
a crisis. University students in the humanities have
little knowledge of high-school-level sciences. Even
some science students have no experience studying
physics and biology in high school or lack an ability
to make the grade. So universities are left to make
up for these shortcomings.
One reason for all this lies in the way that high-school
science education is provided. According to a survey
by Katsuhiro Arai, professor at Tohoku University,
only 12 percent of students complete physics studies
(category 2), less than the 16 percent of high-school
graduates who enter universitiesf science departments.
Those who similarly study math (category 3) represent
about 20 percent, about the same percentage as those
who enter natural-science departments.
What this means is that many high-school students
not good at math take up science and engineering
courses at universities. With a large number of students
failing to complete studies in physics (category
2) and math (category 3), those who do complete have
a relatively low level of scholastic ability.
The waning interest in math and physics is not a
new problem. The official responses to his has been
to alter the system so that students do not have
to study difficult subjects.
To raise Japanfs technological level it is necessary
not only to spend more time teaching science-related
subjects, but also to increase the number of high-school
students attending science classes. By doing so,
students interested in science should be motivated
to enter science departments. For this to happen,
systemic changes are needed so as to make high-school
science lessons easier to learn.
At present, the science curriculum is divided into
a variety of subjects, such as gbasic sciences,h
ggeneral sciences A,h ggeneral sciences B,h gbiology
Th and gbiology U.h Since the divisions are largely
artificial, study is made unnecessarily difficult.
Science studies in high school will become much
easier if only four subjects ? biology, chemistry,
physics and geology ? are taught. In face, that was
the case in the 1960s, when high-school students
learned most of the basics about these subjects.
At Sabanci University, physics, chemistry and biology
as well as geology are taught in an integrated manner,
incorporating their basic elements. Biology has a
fast-developing branch that requires knowledge of
physics an chemistry. By the same token, knowledge
of biology and geology is essential to an understanding
of global environmental problems. Basic to this are
chemistry and physics.
Physics should be studied first because it is a
more basic and logical branch of science. That should
make it easier to understand more applied subjects.
That is also an efficient way to study a number of
science subjects. At least high schools preparing
for university entrance exams, if not all high schools,
should provide such guidance.
In the past, as many as 80 percent of high-school
students studied gphysics T.h Now, however less than
30 percent complete the course. This is hardly the
way to build a technology-oriented nation.
(By KAZUO NISHIMURA)
|¡Japan Times, July 7, 2002
decline of academic standards across board
Academic Kazuo Nishimura is convinced
that Japan will face devastating consequences if the
government continues to dilute the academic curricula
of elementary and junior high school students.
Nishimura, a professor at Kyoto Universityfs Institute
of Economic Research, said in a recent interview with
The Japan Times that the level of understanding required
under the latest curricula, introduced in April, is 30
percent lower than under the previous system. This will
only lead to a deterioration in the already-low intellectual
capabilities of Japanese students, he warned.
A specialist in the field of complex economics, Nishimura
cited the dangers stemming from falling academic standards
among university students in his 1999 book gBunsu ga
dekinai daigakuseih (gUniversity Students Who Cannot
He claimed, however, that the situation has only worsened
since then. gThis can be attributed to the policy of
eeasing educationf put forward by the Education, Culture,
Sports, Science and Technology Ministry and to the introduction
of multiple choice exams for university entrance,h he
Beginning in 1980, the ministry has been reducing class
hours and study courses at elementary and secondary schools.
The multiple choice exam format was first introduced
at national universities in 1979. Since 1990, private
universities have also been allowed to use this exam
format, while students across the board have been allowed
to choose the subjects featured in their multiple choice
Nishimura noticed a decline in studentsf academic performance
around 1985.Moreover, the results of math tests conducted
by the professor at several universities in 1998 showed
that a considerable number of freshmen, particularly
those who did not take math as an entrance exam subject,
could not solve simple problems.
He sensed an even sharper drop in 1999, when freshmen
who were taught under the second set of revised curricula
(By KENZO MORIGUCHI, Staff writer)
|¡The Nikkei Weekly, March
education system has been under fire for years,
but with new, more lax curriculum guidelines, critics
worry students will fall behind their counterparts
a math teacher at a high school in Wakayama, southwest
of Osaka, has watched with growing dismay as his
studentsf math ability has plummeted. Especially
in the past five to six years, Deguchifs dismay has
turned to alarm as the problem has gotten progressively
gRecently we gave our 10th grade students a math test
meant for first- to third-graders, and two-thirds of
the 240 students couldnft multiply two-digit numbers.
Only half could calculate the area of a triangle using
the length of the base and the height,g Deguchi said.
However, the situation will probably get worse because
of revised government curriculum guidelines to be introduced
this April. The new guidelines continue the more lax
education policy, which started in 1977 as a reaction
to the cramming-centered system that was believed to
be stifling studentsf creativity, so many fundamental
skills were removed from textbooks, while 70 study hours,
nearly 7% of the annual total, were slashed from public
elementary and junior high school curricula.
The government has revised its curriculum guidelines
for the compulsory first through ninth grades, every
10 years or so since 1958. Until the mid-1970s, the guidelines
were adjusted to enrich the content of education. But
in the late 1970s, there was growing public consensus
that too much emphasis on passing exams was harmful to
childrenfs development and causing stress as a result
of the brutal competition for university entrance examinations.
Therefore, so-called gpressure-freeh education gained
favor and the government started simplifying the content
of textbooks to allow students the freedom to develop
gThe most important thing is to encourage students to
think for themselves, not to cram facts into their heads
just to get better scores. To motivate them to study,
we consider a fertile sensibility and a healthy body
to be crucial,h said Yusuru Imasato, head of curriculum
planning at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports,
Science and Technology.
Imasato explained that the major cuts in the textbooks
will help students who cannot keep up with the classes,
while enabling teachers to have closer contact with students.
In addition, under the new guidelines, despite a major
slashing of study hours devoted to existing subjects,
some 100 hours will be allocated to gcomprehensive learningh
aimed at enabling schoolchildren to have hands-on learning
about nature being apart from textbooks.
Even Japanfs top university professors are strongly criticizing
the government curriculum guidelines as gBureaucratic
gThe pressure-free education system is nothing more than
bureaucratic talk. The contradictory educational policy
has harmed many schoolchildrenfs future and possibility,
by taking away their opportunities and eagerness to learn,h
said Hirofumi Uzawa, professor emeritus in economics
at the University of Tokyo. Uzawa believes the recent
drop in the math ability of schoolchildren reflects an
educational policy that results in math textbooks that
are gless attractiveh for many students by merely showing
Similarly, Kazuo Nishimura, professor of economics at
Kyoto University, sighs over the severe deterioration
of math ability among economic majors, especially those
who did not take math classes at high school because
most top-class private universities do not include mathematics
in their entrance examinations.
gAmong those economic majors at top university who didnft
take math courses at high school and didnft take a math
test in the entrance examinations, more than 20% canft
do elementary school level arithmetic, such as addition
and subtraction of fractions,h Nishimura said.
The professor pointed out another problem \ Japanese
schoolchildren have the fewest study hours for math among
the Group of Seven major industrialized countries. For
instance, Japanese seventh graders take a total of 99
hours of math classes annually, while U.S. students in
the same grade take 146 hours, French students 129 and
U.K. students 117.
gIn terms of the volume of content and the difficulty
of questions, math textbook for Japanese schoolchildren
are two to three years behind the ones used in China,
South Korea and Singapore. As long as the government
keeps the current pressure-free education system, Japan
will inevitably lack the human resources to maintain
global competitiveness,h Nishimura said. He stressed
the importance of basic ability gained from repeated
practice, such as arithmetic and writing, not only for
mathematics but for other subjects too.
By the same token, many parents send their children to
private schools with unique educational curricula to
improve their academic ability, rather than to public
schools that have to follow guidelines provided by the
(By MINA HASEGAWA, Staff writer)
|¡The Daily Yomiuri, January
Students poor at math
About 25 percent of first year
students enrolled in humanities courses at leading
national and public universities are unable to solve
basic mathematical problems involving the four rules
of arithmetic and decimal fractions, according to the
findings of a survey.
These findings demonstrate that poor mathematical ability
among university students is not limited the economics
departments of private universities, which do not require
candidates to take math for their entrance examinations.
Rather, it is becoming common in all departments.
The survey was conducted in April by Kazuo Nishimura,
an economic of complexity professor at Kyoto University,
and Prof. Nobuyuki Tose, who teaches mathematics at Keio
University. It covered the humanities divisions of 11
national and public universities, most of which have
their origins as Imperial universities.
About 1,300 first year university students were asked
to solve 22 middle-to high-school-level math problems.
They were chosen from basic-level questions in the daiken
test\a scholastic aptitude test that enables students
that pass to sit university entrance examinations without
graduating from high school.
To even out and randomize the test subjects, the survey
was conducted during classes that are compulsory for
At the top national university in eastern Japan, 73 percent
of students solved Question 1 (see chart), a first-year-middle-school-level
problem that involves all four fundamental rules of arithmetic
and decimal fractions. However, the percentage of correct
answers dropped to 33 percent among students who had
not taken math in entrance exams.
Question 2, a second-year-middle-school problem that
involved a linear equation, was answered correctly by
86 percent of students. Question 3, a third-year-middle-school
problem that involves square roots, was solved by 83
However, the students fared considerably worse on high-school-level
While, 87 percent of the students overall solved Question
4, which involved a quadratic inequality, the ratio dropped
to 22 percent among students who had not taken math in
the entrance exam.
Results at this university proved that there is a large
gap in scores between students who did not take math
in the entrance exam and the student body overall. The
former group scored only 32 percent on average, while
the average for students as a whole was 83 percent.
The same trend has been observed in other national and
At western Japanfs premier university, 75 percent of
students solved Question 1.
Average scores among the 11 schools ranged between 60
to 92 percent at that university.
Nishimura and Tose conducted a similar survey on economic
students at private universities in 1998, and concluded
that students who had not taken math in entrance exams
were generally not strong in the subject.
gThe survey results show that poor mathematical ability
is also a problem at national and public universities.
Some say that math is not necessary for students in humanities
divisions, but I doubt how much logical thinking students
can do if they do not a have basic grounding in arithmetic.
I think that the three foundation subject: math, Japanese
and English, should be made compulsory components of
entrance exams.h Nishimura said.
|¡The Daily Yomiuri, November
students failing in basic mathematics
out of 5 pupils unable to solve simple problems
One out of five
students at private universities cannot solve questions
on mathematics at the primary school level despite
being enrolled in courses that require some knowledge
of the subject, a survey released Saturday revealed.
The survey results underscored a report issued last month
by the University Council, an advisory body to the education
minister, that called for entrance examinations to test
potential university students on high school subjects
relevant to their further education.
The survey covered about 5,000 first-and second-year
students, mostly at economics department, of eight state-run
universities and 11 private institutions. It was conducted
in April by Kyoto University Prof. Kazuo Nishimura.
The students, who encounter math in lectures every day,
were asked to solve 25 basic questions on areas of the
subject that they had studied before high school.
Of students at one private universityfs economic department,
82 percent of the respondents were able to answer one
primary school-level question correctly. The entrance
exam for the department does not include a mathematics
The students at the second private university did only
slightly better, registering a pass rate of 86 percent.
The figure fell for questions at the middle school level,
with the two universities registering success rates of
56 percent and 77 percent, respectively.
When tested on quadratic equations taught in the third
year of middle school, only 13 percent of students at
the former university and 28 percent at the latter could
give the correct answer.
gStudents who want to study economics at the university
level should at least be tested in mathematics in entrance
exams,h Nishimura said.