The Year in Japan Program was established in 1976 on the campus of Konan University and has served over 600 students from a number of different American universities. The program is administrated by the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for a consortium of American universities that includes the University of Arizona, the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and the University of Pittsburgh.
The program offers advanced undergraduates the opportunity to spend an academic year developing Japanese language skills and expanding their knowledge of Japan through a variety of courses. Classroom learning is enhanced through living with host families. The program has an on-site Resident Director who teaches on course each semester as well as overseeing academic, student, and administrative matters for the consortium. The Resident Director is a faculty member from one of the American consortium universities.
The program is housed in the Konan International Exchange Center (KIEC) of Konan University, a small liberal arts university of 10,000 students in a suburban district of Kobe. Kobe is located in the Kansai area, the middle part of Japan which includes Kyoto, Nara, and Osaka. It is the sixth largest city in Japan with a population of 1.5 million and is an international port city.
The campus of Konan University is 20 minutes from downtown Kobe, 40 minutes from downtown Osaka, and less than an hour and a half from Kyoto. Combining the new and the old, this area of Japan provides a stimulating backdrop for the study of Japan.