Megumi Yuki, Professor
University Education Center, Educational Sociology and Ethnography/Multicultural Community Education and Research Project Office
Graduated from University of Illinois, College of Education/Completed master's degree and doctoral degree (earned Ph.D. in Education) at The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Education/Full-time Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor at Gunma University, Faculty of Education/Present post/Visiting Professor at The University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Education, Faculty of Education/Multicultural Community Education and Research Project Office
Q1: Could you briefly describe your research?
A1: My research concerns the establishment of environments that take advantage of the differences between individuals. I conduct sociological analysis and interpretation to determine whether, why, and how the differences between people are defined in a particular context, as well as what kind of cultural, social and ecological factors exist in the background. Then I consider how to establish an environment that takes advantage of the differences between people, with the intent of sharing the knowledge with the community.
Q2: What do you find most appealing about research?
A2: In investigative research, I am excited when an uncompromising research design is achieved, and the collected data leads to a hidden structure and theory deep inside, as if it were a living thing. In the actual implementation of educational research, I am excited that I can experience the moment when everyone involved, from the local people to the students, teachers, and government parties, spring to life and have all of their different aspirations come together as one.
Q3: What inspired you to pursue a career in research?
A3: After I entered the workforce, I was contacted by a former professor who told me that the methodology I wanted to apply was finally going to be introduced in Japan, and I was encouraged to return to the university. I remember that I had tears in my eyes when I sat in on a lecture by the visiting professor from America and could finally encounter the methodology that I wanted to apply.
Q4: What makes you feel glad to be a researcher?
A4: I appreciate that I have the freedom to think unconventionally about conventional things, and that I can take my time to think about things, without being bound to a particular time and space. I appreciate that I have the opportunity to meet people, learn from them, and create with them.
Q5: How do you balance your research with your private life?
A5: I achieve balance by improving the quality of time that I spend with my family, as well as the communication that I have with them. I appreciate my husband's advice for dealing with the busy periods when I have to travel a lot and work late, which is to focus more on the quality of time that I spend with my family rather than the quantity.
Q6: Do you have a book that changed your life, or any books that you have written?
A6: My doctoral thesis was published as "Youchien de Kodomo wa Dou Sodatsu ka - Shuudan Kyouiku no Esunogurafii" (How Children Develop in Kindergarten - Ethnography of Group Education) (Yushindo Kobunsha, 1998). I associate the book with many memories of my time at graduate school, and of my family around the time I gave birth. The drawings on the front and back covers were done by my daughter, who was one year old at the time.
Q7: What items do you need in your research?
A7: As a field worker, I always carry a four-color ballpoint pen, hardcover notebook, camera, and digital audio recorder.
Q8: What are your hobbies?
A8: My family, my students, the Gunma community, and my staff. Whether morning or night, I am always thinking of the people and places that are important to me, and thinking about what project to plan next. I just now realized that this has become my hobby.
Doctoral program for 3 years↓
Birth of child↓
Delayed doctoral thesis for 1 year to care for child, earned doctoral degree after 4th year in program↓
Assumed post at Gunma University↓
This photograph shows me at The University of Tokyo commencement ceremony. You can see my former teacher Ikuo Amano (far left) who was dean at the time, and my one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, husband, and parents (second row), as I received a diploma on behalf of the graduate students from Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, who was University President at the time. Five days later, I assumed my post as instructor at Gunma University. This picture makes me want to smile at myself, as I had no idea of the magnitude of learning I would later experience at Gunma.