Messages from Students
- Shosei Imai
- Biomolecular Chemistry M1
I was drawn to chemistry in junior high school because of the joy of conducting experiments. This interest led me to come to the department of chemistry. The greatest appeal of chemistry is to conduct experiments by hand. We can observe the sample in front of us, and be surprised by the results produced, and think about how to pursue further. Creating new chemistry with your own hands is a unique experience that cannot be achieved elsewhere.
Another appeal of chemistry is its ability to handle the substance, which is the foundation of this world. Therefore, all phenomena are subject to study, and the research can be directly related to our life. Chemistry is not just a world in a flask; it can handle all life and earth phenomena.
The department of chemistry was the perfect fit for me in both respects. In the second and third year, students learn widely from a chemical perspective, acquiring extensive and deep knowledge. The curriculum includes organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry, as well as biochemistry and geochemistry. In addition, students engage in various experimental and analytical techniques through student experiments. This period may not be easy, but it is an exciting and enjoyable time for those who love chemistry.
As a fourth-year student, you will be assigned to a laboratory and work on your graduation research. Regardless of which laboratory you choose, you will have access to excellent facilities, staff, seniors, and peers. This great environment allows you to focus on research.
No matter which you are interested in chemistry or not, I encourage you to consider the chemistry department. Chemistry is a broad subject that encompasses all phenomena, and I believe that you will find research that fits you.
(Posted on May 2023)
- Ekishin Yanagi
- Bioorganic Chemistry M1
I joined my current laboratory because I wanted to contribute to the drug discovery industry from the field of chemistry. I originally had a great interest in chemistry, but as I took classes in my freshman year of college, I also became interested in the mechanisms of life.
I think that one of the most attractive features of the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science is its curriculum. First, we learn basic chemistry in our second year. In the third year, students can acquire the basics of chemical experiments through student experiments. In the fourth year, there are almost no classes, so we can concentrate on our graduation research. Through such a curriculum, we can face chemistry with a solid foundation.
I think the good environment is another attraction of the Department of Chemistry. During the summer vacation of my junior year, I wanted to do an internship in the current laboratory and contacted the professor, who gladly accepted me. Besides, if you are accepted to the GSC (Global Science Course), you can study abroad for a month during your fourth grade. In this way, if you were proactive, others around you would respond to you, and you will be able to gain valuable experience.
For those who do not have a clear vision of their future yet, I think that it will be a big decision to decide your major. If you have even a little interest in chemistry, please consider the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science. I am sure that you will find what you want to do, and that you can realize it in wonderful surroundings.
(Posted on May 2023)
- Sota Uchida
- Bioorganic Chemistry M2
I have two main reasons why I applied to the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science. First the department has laboratories that deal with all areas of chemistry, so there is always something interesting when choosing a laboratory. For example, we not only have laboratories that deal with organic, inorganic, and physical chemistry, but also geochemistry and biochemistry. As the name "Faculty of Science" implies, of course you can do basic and theoretical research, but some laboratories also do applied research, and all of them are doing cutting-edge research. In my case, I was attracted to the Department of Chemistry because of its ability to create physical things, but I had not decided what specific field I wanted to go into. Then a COVID-19 occurred, and our peaceful daily life changed drastically. I thought that one of the ways to contribute to solving such a pandemic, from the viewpoint of chemistry, would be to develop vaccines and therapeutic drugs. Thus, I applied to my current laboratory, the Suga lab, which is conducting research that could lead to drug discovery.
Another reason is that I can develop a global perspective. I felt that in order to be a researcher in the future, I needed to be able to discuss things in English from early on in my career. As you know, the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science offers all classes in English, so you are constantly exposed to English. Not only that, but in the Global Science Course, a program unique to the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, I experimented and worked hard together with students from overseas. Although all scheduled study abroad programs were cancelled due to COVID-19, thanks to these programs, I was able to have discussions with foreign students in English and give presentations in English.
If you have even the slightest interest in the study of chemistry, the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science is sure to be the right place for you. Through the curriculum of the Department of Chemistry, you will be able to develop the skills to become a world-class researcher.
(Posted on May 2022)
- Ryohei Matsuno
- Inorganic Chemistry M2
I chose chemistry because I was attracted to the dual nature of it, which has the aspect of a science that theoretically explains the reasons for phenomena, and at the same time, it is closely related to our daily lives, supporting the world from the basic level in terms of materials for various things around us.
Because I had never studied chemistry on my own, when I entered the Department of Chemistry, I was concerned about the gap in knowledge level between myself and some of my classmates, but thanks to the detailed lesson, I was able to gradually improve my knowledge while encouraging with the excellent students around me. In my third year, we started student experiments, and we were given four days a week to learn basic experimental procedures and principles. As I am a clumsy person, there were many times when experiments took a long time and I had to stay until the very last minute or could not finish within the time limit, but I feel that the experience in the student experiments has helped me in my current research in the laboratory. In the fourth year, students are assigned to a laboratory, where we work on our own research themes, receiving advice from faculty members and senior students. Students are free to decide what we want to do, and we can pursue our own research independently. When I talk with my peers who are assigned to different laboratories, I feel their confidence and enthusiasm for their own research, and I receive good stimulation from them.
The Department of Chemistry has a wide range of laboratories in organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, and physical chemistry, all of which are conducting cutting-edge and interesting research. I encourage you to visit the websites of these laboratories, and I’m sure you will find research that interests you. If you find a laboratory that stimulates your curiosity, please visit it and see for yourself. We hope you enjoy your laboratory life in the Department of Chemistry!
(Posted on May 2022)
- Deng Yunjie
- Structural Chemistry D1
Choosing the right academic department to pursue your education could be a challenging decision, but I was lucky enough to have a professor who had firsthand experience with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo. Their high praise for the program sparked my interest, and after conducting thorough research, I found myself drawn to the excellent global environment offered by the Department.
The department's feature is that many classes are taught in English. This was a huge relief for me because I knew that language barriers could have been a significant obstacle to my academic pursuits. The faculty's diverse student body also caught my attention. Interacting with people from different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives can enrich academic and personal experiences, broaden horizons, and develop a more open-minded and culturally aware individual.
Moreover, as a biomedical engineering major, the Department of Chemistry's unique blend of biology and physics fascinated me. Understanding the molecular and cellular processes underlying diseases and developing innovative solutions to combat them require a deep understanding of chemistry, making this program an ideal fit for me. With interdisciplinary research opportunities and practical laboratory experience, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo provides an excellent learning environment for aspiring students.
In summary, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo offers an excellent global environment, interdisciplinary research opportunities, and practical laboratory experience that can help future students gain valuable knowledge and skills. Regardless of your major or language, the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo offers a special place for everyone. Studying here could be a fulfilling and rewarding experience that will be invaluable in your future career.
(Posted on May 2023)
- Yuka Sekine
- Analytical Chemistry D1
I entered the Analytical Chemistry (Ozawa) laboratory in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Tokyo after completing undergraduate at the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Ochanomizu University. Currently, I belong to the doctoral course in Ozawa laboratory and studying about protein enzymes by utilizing “optogenetics” approach, which enables artificial control of protein activity with external light stimulation.
Department of Chemistry is truly appealing environment to develop my ability as a global scientist. One of the factors is the English education, which is the characteristics of this department. Basically, the classes are held in English. Additionally, I had my research presentations and wrote my master’s thesis in English. The larger amount of vocabulary I learned, the more deeply I became to discuss and the more smoothly I became to read papers. My ability to have a discussion in question-and-answer sessions in research presentations have greatly developed thanks to the everyday practices and expertise.
I have been able to focus on my research surrounded by excellent colleagues with diverse background in my laboratory. When I faced any difficulties on my research, my supervisor and seniors always gave me meaningful advice from different angles. I have always been encouraged by my labmates who are trying hard on their research. Because there are many foreign students, I have learned various other cultures from them. Although I am in Japan, I sometimes find myself experiencing studying abroad. This environment has provided very precious situation for me.
I believe that Department of Chemistry will be suitable for not only those who want to study basic sciences widely and deeply, but also those who are wondering which areas to specialize in. The research areas of the laboratories in this department have wide variety of interdisciplinarity. Furthermore, we have opportunities to listen to talks by researchers around the world in Zasshikai seminars. We also have chances to communicate with industrial researchers at private companies. Although these are my personal opinions and experiences, I believe that Department of Chemistry has a very nice environment to deepen your knowledge and skills. I would be happy if more and more students could get interests to study here.
(Posted on May 2023)
- Toshiaki Wayama
- Natural Products Chemistry D1
I want to be able to manipulate complex molecules at will! This is the reason why I decided to study chemistry at the Department of Chemistry.
For my undergraduate degree, I was enrolled in the Faculty of Agriculture and not in the Faculty of Science. This was because I wanted to study rice plants, based on my experience of tending rice fields in my childhood. However, as I studied organic chemistry, I became attracted to natural organic compounds (natural products), which have complex structures and express potent and diverse biological activities. Then I joined the Department of Chemistry after graduating, and I am currently doing research on the artificial chemical synthesis of natural products.
Just as I encountered organic chemistry and began to learn in the Faculty of Agriculture, chemistry can be studied not only in the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science, but also in many other departments, including the Faculty of Agriculture, the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the Faculty of Engineering. However, I believe that it is very important to study chemistry in the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science rather than in other departments. I believe that there are two main reasons to study "chemistry" in the Department of Chemistry.
First, the Department of Chemistry offers the most basic and in-depth exploration of chemistry. The Department of Chemistry has a tendency to respect not only the need-oriented research demanded by society, but also the seed-oriented basic research, and you can spread your wings and engage in research activities to your heart's content. In recent years, society has begun to reaffirm the importance of basic research. Your future research in the Department of Chemistry will be even more valuable in such a rapidly evolving society.
Second, the Department of Chemistry offers a world-class research environment. Not only are the facilities excellent, but the faculty and students are always full of enthusiasm. The Department of Chemistry has laboratories in physical chemistry, materials chemistry, inorganic chemistry, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry, all of which conduct world-leading research in their fields. Experiments using state-of-the-art equipment and high-level discussions on a daily basis are sure to satisfy your chemical curiosity. You will also be able to find an area of interest from a wide range of chemical disciplines.
If you are not comfortable communicating in Japanese, do not worry. Lectures in the Department of Chemistry are all given in English. In addition, communication in laboratories and seminars is also conducted in English.
We look forward to doing "chemistry" with you in the Department of Chemistry.
(Posted on May 2023)
- Misato Akiyoshi
- Physical Organic Chemistry D2
I was enrolled in a private university in Tokyo when I was an undergraduate student. After taking the entrance examinations, I registered in the Department of Chemistry at the Graduate School of Science here. From an outside student's point of view, I would like to send a message.
I mainly did analytical research using existing substances during undergraduate. I decided to apply to this department because I hoped to create new highly functional materials with my own hands, and I also wanted to do cutting-edge research in the field of chemistry, which has a wide range of applications.
First, I attended sessions to get information in accordance with the graduate school's guidance and actively visited laboratories where I was interested in. I think it is very important to talk directly to professors, staff, and research students to get the atmosphere of the laboratory. At that time, I tried to imagine whether I would be able to experiment every day there and keep a good company with members of the laboratory. Preparing for the entrance examination was the toughest part for me. Each subject required advanced answers, so I had to manage to find time to study as much as possible while continuing and finishing with my graduation research.
I had a notion, "Will I be able to keep up with everyone academically?" There are differences in knowledge arising from differences in the curricula and elective subjects at each university. However, I don't think there is much to worry about it, although you will need to try to fill the deficient or missing part carefully. I changed the field from inorganic analytical chemistry to structural organic chemistry, and I have been struggling with my ignorance. However, with the generous support of the laboratory professor, staff, my seniors, and my peers, I was able to successfully complete my master's degree and continue my research in a doctoral program.
The department also focuses on English education. Lectures, laboratory seminars and master's thesis presentations are in English. I have always wanted to study English, but always put it off. Therefore, being in an environment where I must use it all the time has helped me to develop my English skills compared to when I first entered here, I hope.
I assume that it is not easy to a new theme in a new environment for you. However, I am sure if you study under this department, you will learn a lot.
I hope that many students will read this message and challenge enrolling in this school.
(Posted on May 2022)
- Yuto Ohno
- Bioorganic Chemistry D2
My enthusiasm for “science” developed from a young age through my interaction with living creatures. At that time, catching insects or reading encyclopedia fulfilled my curiosity. Then, it changed into an academic passion.
A textbook said,
–Living creatures consist of cells. –
Then led me to a question, what contains in a cell?
–There are biomolecules, such as proteins and nucleic acids in a cell. –
What makes up a molecule?
–Atoms form a molecule. –
What is an atom?
–Electrons and a nucleus constitute an atom. –
A single question can raise some new questions sequentially. It is commonly said that science is a method which describes nature. “Biology” can explain phenomenon in a cell. “Chemistry” handles molecules and atoms. To reveal the behavior of an atom, “physics” would be the best way. I love the simple and clear way of chemistry, in which nature is deciphered by the bond rearrangements originating from atomic characteristics and its outer environments.
In the Department of Chemistry, students will be exposed to “chemistry” as a “science”, not just its application. That is because everyone in this community is motivated by curiosity. Furthermore, you can take courses from other fields of the sciences and find friends sharing the same enthusiasm for science. If you were to major in chemistry in other schools, you wouldn’t find such friends.
I personally experienced the above through the chemistry curriculum. You’ll take lab courses every day during your third year and start your research during your fourth year. The research is not just a training under senior students nor following protocols. You can study the frontier of science through discussion with staffs and senior students. Most labs in this department are large-scale and fully equipped with facilities and faculties. We can say with confidence, this department satisfies all criteria required for science. Through your academic and research journey in the Department of Chemistry in the School of Science, you will discover the excitement of chemistry research as well as sharing those special experiences with fellow community. Come enjoy chemistry with us!!
(Posted on May 2020)
- Ryuji Nakao
- Structural Chemistry D2
The Department of Chemistry is waiting for you with wonderful opportunities and environments.
No matter which department you go on to, you will be expected to join a laboratory by your 4th year. Perhaps you will have no idea what you want to do or what your daily research life will be like until you actually experience it. At the Department of Chemistry, however, you can explore your interests through various lectures and student experiments that cover a wide range of chemistry and will have a chance to experience each laboratory through internships and other opportunities, so I’m sure that you will find a laboratory that best fits your interests.
The department offers most lectures in English and most students need to make some efforts on reading English textbooks. But through the experience, they come to acquire academic English. In addition, the Global Science Course provides the opportunity to study for two months in a foreign laboratory with financial support. I applied for this program by chance and stayed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for two months. It was a very valuable experience for me to recognize firsthand not only the diversity of foreign students' ways of thinking but also foreign lifestyles different from that in Japan.
Furthermore, the Department of Chemistry holds an annual inter-laboratory softball and soccer tournament, which is a great opportunity for friendly exchanges and a good change of pace.
In this way, I believe that you will have more exciting experiences once you enroll in the Department of Chemistry than you would initially have imagine. I’m looking forward to you joining the Department of Chemistry.
(Posted on May 2022)
- Shun Ito
- Catalytic Chemistry D3
As for the Department of Chemistry in Faculty of Science, many people firstly come up with “English”. There is an argument about the lectures in English, but I think that these lectures were good. Especially when I started the graduation research in the 4th grade, I had many opportunities to read English literatures and the chemical English I learned in the class was very useful. You may not get used to it at first, but you can make up for questions that you do not understand in English by asking questions in Japanese or reading Japanese reference books. An environment where students can get used to English slowly for one year in the third grade is a major feature of the Department of Chemistry. I think this is a great opportunity for people who are not good at English. As far as English is concerned, the student experiment gives each person a dedicated space, and can acquire the basic skills of a wide range of chemical experiments through the extensive equipment and curriculum. In addition to core fields such as organic chemistry and inorganic chemistry, lectures will cover a wide range of chemistry such as natural products chemistry and geochemistry.
In addition to the world-class research environment, the Department of Chemistry at the Faculty of Science offers extensive support for becoming a researcher in many aspects, such as student experiments, English classes, and global science courses. Those who are worried about going on to chemistry are welcome to the Department of Chemistry.
(Posted on May 2019)
- Jinxuan Zhao
- Bioorganic Chemistry D3
In Xici-zhuan, ancient Chinese philosophers described the mission of people who investigates natural science: When they see a natural phenomenon, they will extract the mechanism out and solidify it into a real device. Then people can benefit from this device through utilizing the natural phenomenon. In many myths, fire is the gift from kind god to poor human, despite the fire is everywhere in nature. But I think the real god is the person who created the method to make fire. Chemistry is exactly doing the same enterprise for the world and society. Starting from fire, chemistry has extracted countless methods including detecting, transforming and creating substances.
The department of Chemistry is a launchpad for the students who are interested in deciphering the nature and willing to sharing the knowledge with the world. In the bachelor course, department provides a wide range of curriculum from quantum chemistry to lab work on organic chemistry, introducing the basic knowledge about how previous researchers worked and what they get from the nature. All lectures are performed in English together with foreign students to lay the foundation of an international admitted researcher. Then students are encouraged to join the laboratory and take part in more specific lab work during the graduation research. When students enter the graduated school, department will focus on offering the latest information of chemistry research through the lectures, seminars and conferences. In this stage, students are treated as real scientific workers with the right to find their own themes. If you are searching for the place to let science as a vocation for your life and contribute to the human beings, here is a perfect place for your career. We should control and utilize the nature rather than just praising and it. The department of Chemistry always welcomes the thefts of fire.
(Posted on May 2021)
- Phillip McCann
- Structural Chemistry D3
From my own experience, the Department of Chemistry is one of the best places at the University of Tokyo to experience research in an international environment. Most of the lectures are conducted in English, and graduation from the department requires students to present and defend their research in English as well. As a foreigner, I know that it is not easy to present or take classes in a foreign language, however, this kind of opportunity is invaluable to those students who wish to work on the international stage. These types of requirements, along with the international outreach of the department, have led many foreigners (including myself) to join the department, creating a rich and diverse international atmosphere for students and professors to work in. I joined the department as a Masters student in 2018 because it was one of the only departments in Japan that I could apply to as a student living in the United States which did not require me to fly to Japan, take a test, and fly back home to wait for the results at my own expense. During these years, I have had a great time focusing on research and talking to my labmates in Japanese and English to mutually better our language skills.
That being said, student life at the Department of Chemistry is not necessarily easy and will take some effort to graduate. Once you become a 4th-year student, you will have to join a laboratory in the department and use all the knowledge you have acquired in your classes and labs to conduct a present an experiment of your own. However, you will never be alone and will have the opportunity to ask questions and learn from your fellow lab mates and professors. I have seen many Japanese students, Bachelors and Masters, graduate from the department with a much higher English level and scientific understanding than when they came in. In turn, many of them have used these new skills to fulfill their dreams of joining international companies and research facilities around the world. If you are looking for some challenge in your life and have big ambitions for your future, the Department of Chemistry here at the University of Tokyo is one of the best places to be!
(Posted on May 2021)