Japanese Higher Education

The Need for STEAM in Society 5.0, an Era of Societal and Technological Fusion


  • Aki Yamada Tamagawa University




Education, STEM, STEAM, Interdisciplinary, Society 5.0, next generation competencies, global skills


In today’s information-driven society, the Japanese government envisions the next societal revolution as “Society 5.0,” where advanced technologies and service platforms integrate with and empower individuals in a human-based society. While Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education has traditionally focused on technical skills and knowledge in isolation, this paper will look at the potential role and benefits of incorporating liberal arts education into these technical studies. This concept of integrating the liberal arts into STEM education is known as STEAM. The purpose of the study is to create a foundation for clarifying the role of interdisciplinary education in overcoming the vertical division of academic disciplines and restoring the “integrated nature” of scholarship. This study seeks to show how the humanities, social sciences, and arts can be used to enhance STEM education, and, furthermore, how this STEAM approach to education is key to enabling Japan’s vision for Society 5.0.


Download data is not yet available.


Augustine, Norman. “One Cannot Live by Equations Alone: Education for Life and Work in the Twenty-First Century.” Liberal Education Spring 99, no. 2 (2013).

Australian Government, Chief Scientist. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future. 2014. https://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/STEM_AustraliasFuture_Sept2014_Web.pdf

Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI) (2016) The 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan. https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/basic/5thbasicplan.pdf

---. “Integrated Innovation Strategy.” CSTI, 2017. https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/doc/integrated_main.pdf

---. “Comprehensive Strategy on Science, Technology and Innovation for 2017.” CSTI, 2017. https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/english/doc/2017stistrategy_main.pdf

Daniel, Alice. “Academic Toolbox: Full Steam Ahead.” ASEE Prism 24, no. 7 (2015): 34-36.

Downey, Gary, Juan Lucena, Barbara Moskal, Rosamond Parkhurst, Thomas Bigly, Chris Hays, Brent Jesiek, Liam Kelly, Jonson Miller, Sharon Ruff, Jane Lehr, Amy Nichols-Belo. “The Globally Competent Engineer: Working Effectively with People Who Define Problems Differently.” Journal of Engineering Education 95 (2006): 1-16.

Intelligence on Global Japan. “Interview: Imagining Year 2034 With Japan’s Minister of Education.” Intelligence on Global Japan, 2017. https://www.globaljapan.world/education/yoshimasa-hayashi-minister-of-education-culture-sports-science-and-technology/

Hawkins, John. “Myth or reality? Assessing the Validity of the Asian Model of Education.” Harvard International Review 30, no. 3 (2008): 52-56.

House of Lords. “Higher Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Subjects.” 2012. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldselect/ldsctech/37/37.pdf

JapanGov. “Realizing Society 5.0.” 2018. https://www.japan.go.jp/abenomics/_userdata/abenomics/pdf/society_5.0.pdf

Japan Science and Technology Agency, Center for Research and Development Strategy Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). “Future services & societal systems in society 5.0.” JST, 2016. https://www.jst.go.jp/crds/pdf/en/CRDS-FY2016-WR-13.pdf

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). “Program for Leading Graduate Schools.” JSPS, 2018. https://www.jsps.go.jp/j-hakasekatei/data/Program_for_Leading_Graduate_Schools_Leaflet_Eng.pdf

Keidanren. “Basic Thinking on Education Reform – Formulating the Third Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education-.” Keidanren, 2016. https://www.keidanren.or.jp/en/policy/2016/030_overview.pdf

Mitsubishi Research Institute. “Mitsubishi Research Institute Group Report 2017.” Mitsubishi Research Institute, 2017. https://www.mri.co.jp/english/uploadfiles/Report2017_e_all.pdf

Morita, Liang. Japanese University Students’ Attitudes Towards Globalisation, Intercultural Contexts and English. World Journal of English Language 3, no. 4 (2013): 31-41.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “Educational policy outlook: Japan.” OECD, 2015. http://www.oecd.org/education/Japan-country-profile.pdf

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). “Report to the President, Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.” PCAST, 2012. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-engage-to-excel-final_2-25-12.pdf

Ragusa, Gisele, Cheryl Mathery, and Cheryl, Sarah Phillips. 2014 IEEE Frontiers in Education (FIE): Comparison of the Impact of Two Research Experiences for Undergraduate Programs on Preparing Students for Global Workforces, Madrid, Spain, 22-25 October, 2014. IEEE.

Yamada, Aki. “Developing Global Competencies Through Interdisciplinary Studies: Why Collaboration is Important Between STEM and Non-STEM Students.” In New Directions of STEM research and Learning in the World Ranking Movement a Comparative Perspective Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.




How to Cite

Yamada, A. (2021). Japanese Higher Education: The Need for STEAM in Society 5.0, an Era of Societal and Technological Fusion. Journal of Comparative & International Higher Education, 13(1), 44–65. https://doi.org/10.32674/jcihe.v13i1.1980



Empirical Article