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  • Locations: Tokyo, Virtual Japan
  • Program Terms: Winter Session
  • Restrictions: Babson applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Class Status: Undergraduate Program Type: Elective Abroad
Language(s) of Instruction: English Eligible Populations: First Year, Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Academic Highlights: Cultural Studies, Entrepreneurial Studies Program Advisor: Alexandra Nesbeda
Program Description:
[Explore Japan's institutional environment, focusing on its unique culture and advanced technology, and practice ET&A in Tokyo, Japan. Students will work in teams to conduct observations, identify problems and opportunities, design an entrepreneurial initiative, and assess its impact and feasibility.]

EPS3524 Made in Japan: Culture & Opportunities
(Virtual Program)

UG Japan 2019 - Enkai

Yasuhiro Yamakawa, Associate Professor

Winter Session 2021

WebEx Info Session Recording
Friday, October 9 @ 11:00 AM ET

Important Dates

Information Session

Information Session Dates

Info Session WebEx Recording
Friday, October 9, 2020 @ 11:00 AM ET via WebEx


Application Deadlines

Application Opens

Monday, October 5, 2020

Initial Application Deadline

Sunday, October 18, 2020 @ 11:59 PM ET 

Rolling Application Opens

Monday, October 19, 2020

Rolling Application Deadline

Wednesday, October 28, 2020 @ 11:59 PM ET

Course Schedule

Course Schedule Overview

The course will include 16 synchronous online sessions over the course of four weeks during the winter session. Classes will meet online Monday to Thursday from 19:00 - 20:30 (7 - 8:30 PM) EST. Exceptions to this are noted in red below:
  • Session 4 - Class on Thursday morning with option to participate in another gathering at a more suitable time
  • Session 15 - Presentation on Thursday morning
  • Session 16 - Class on Friday evening

Detailed Course Schedule

Session Day/Time (EST) Day/Time (JST) Session Topic (Tentative)
Session 1 Monday, December 7
19:00 - 20:30 
Tuesday, December 8
09:00 - 10:30
Introduction to the Course
Session 2 Tuesday, December 8
19:00 - 20:30 
Wednesday, December 9
09:00 - 10:30
Survival Japanese
Session 3 Wednesday, December 9
19:00 - 20:30 
Thursday, December 10
09:00 - 10:30
Japanese Cooking Workshop
Session 4a Thursday, December 10
06:00 - 07:30
Thursday, December 10
20:00 - 21:30
Thursday Gathering in Tokyo
Session 4b Thursday, December 10
19:00 - 20:30
  Students may opt to participate in a Thursday Gathering in another city that better suits their time zone
(e.g. Boston, St. Louis, Miami, Philadelphia, Bilbao, or Rotterdam)
Session 5 Monday, December 14
19:00 - 20:30 
Tuesday, December 15
09:00 - 10:30
Assigned Topic Presentations
Session 6 Tuesday, December 15
19:00 - 20:30 
Wednesday, December 16
09:00 - 10:30
Overview of Religion in Japan and Virtual Tour
Session 7 Wednesday, December 16
19:00 - 20:30 
Thursday, December 17
09:00 - 10:30
Waseda and Kyushu University Design Thinking Workshop #1
Session 8 Thursday, December 17
19:00 - 20:30 
Thursday, December 18
09:00 - 10:30
Waseda and Kyushu University Design Thinking Workshop #2
Session 9 Monday, January 4
19:00 - 20:30 
Tuesday, January 5
09:00 - 10:30
Japanese Cultural Demonstration such as Sado (tea ceremony) or Zazen (meditation)
Session 10 Tuesday, January 5
19:00 - 20:30 
Wednesday, January 6
09:00 - 10:30
Japanese Cultural Demonstration / Lessons such as shodo (calligraphy) or Oragami
Session 11 Wednesday, January 6
19:00 - 20:30 
Thursday, January 7
09:00 - 10:30
Alumni / Guest Speaker / Entrepreneur #1
Session 12 Thursday, January 7
19:00 - 20:30 
Friday, January 8
09:00 - 10:30
Alumni / Guest Speaker / Entrepreneur #2
Session 13 Monday, January 11
19:00 - 20:30 
Tuesday, January 12
09:00 - 10:30
Natural Disasters and Resilience in Japan
Session 14 Tuesday, January 12
19:00 - 20:30 
Wednesday, January 13
09:00 - 10:30
Japanese Cultural Demonstration such as martial arts
Session 15 Thursday, January 14
07:00 - 8:00
Thursday, January 14
21:00 - 22:30
Final Presentations at Thursday Gathering in Tokyo
Session 16 Friday, January 15
19:00 - 20:30
Saturday, January 16
09:00 - 10:30
Course Wrap Up

Course Description & Objectives

Course Description

This course is built on two major themes:

  1. Cultural excursion – hybrid (digital + real): Provide students to have an in-depth look and a chance to experience Japan’s culture, in other words, its institutional environment (i.e., formal and informal rules of the game).
  2. Entrepreneurial opportunities: Encourage students to practice Entrepreneurial Thought and Action (ET&A) within the cultural/institutional environment in Japan.

The entire course is designed on the concept of learning by doing, through virtual, hands-on and interactive sessions, mini projects, and individual/group research.

Course Objectives

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Express an in-depth understanding of the workings of modern Japan’s cultural/institutional environment
  2. Identify entrepreneurial opportunities relevant to the Japanese context by appreciating cultural differences, thinking critically about the problems of others (with a particular focus on the institutional influences on the problem space)
  3. Design an entrepreneurial initiative (e.g., beyond a simple product/service idea – by developing a solution that involves social, political, cultural aspect of a country’s institutional environment), and assess its impact (e.g., aligning stakeholder interests) and feasibility, risks, and the steps to implement
  4. Apply to various contexts (e.g., other countries) the framework gained in Japan how the institutional environment affects entrepreneurship development
  5. Demonstrate leadership and teamwork skills gained from group work in an unfamiliar and challenging situation

Faculty Video

To learn more about the course, watch the faculty's Brainshark presentation (forthcoming).

Course Information

Course Type

Advanced Elective


4 credits


First Year, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior.

Student must be, and remain, in good academic standing with the college for duration of the course.

Student must be in good standing with the Office of Community Standards by time of travel.



Course Documents

EPS3524 Made in Japan Syllabus v2.pdf  |  Information Session Materials

Academic Accommodations

Students requesting accommodations due to a disability should visit the students with disabilities abroad page for more information.


Babson Tuition: 4-Credits

  • Winter Session tuition is paid directly to SFS and is billed at the 2020-2021 credit rate ($1,692 per credit). Each virtual Elective Abroad is 4 credits. Winter tuition is separate from fall and spring tuition charges, however, you may qualify for a tuition adjustment in a future year.
  • To discuss tuition or your financial situation or to learn about grant opportunities, contact Student Financial Services.

Program Fee: $0

  • There is no program fee for this course. Program costs are subsidized by the Glavin Office of International Education.
  • Included: Materials for cultural activities and demonstrations will be mailed to you
  • Not included: Tuition

Contact Information

Lead Faculty

Yasu Yamakawa  

Professor Yasu Yamakawa

Dr. Yamakawa is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. He received his Bachelor of Laws from Keio University (Tokyo, Japan), obtained his M.B.A. in Strategic Management from Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management (Claremont, CA), and completed his Ph.D. in Entrepreneurship at the School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas (Richardson, TX). Prior to beginning his doctoral studies, Dr. Yamakawa spent ten years working in Japan’s utility and telecommunication industries where he engaged in numerous corporate venturing activities and entrepreneurial start-ups. Dr. Yamakawa teaches in the areas/intersections of Entrepreneurship, Strategy, and International Business. He comes from a multi-cultural background, having lived in eight different countries around the world.

Dr. Yamakawa’s research explores the stimulants and constraints behind entrepreneurial learning and growth. His current research interests include: Learning from entrepreneurial failure, dilemmas inherent in corporate venturing activities, failure of industry emergence, and bankruptcy laws and entrepreneurship development around the world. Dr. Yamakawa has presented his research at leading academic conferences such as Academy of Management Conference, Academy of International Business Conference, and Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference. His paper, “Entrepreneurship and the barrier to exit: How does entrepreneur-friendly bankruptcy law affect entrepreneurship development at the societal level?” won the Best Paper Award from the Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration, for exploring the public issue of importance to the entrepreneurial community. His paper, “How does experience of previous entrepreneurial failure impact future entrepreneurship?” was selected Best Paper Proceedings and as Carolyn Dexter Award finalist. His paper, “Revitalizing and learning from failure for future entrepreneurial growth” won the Irene M. McCarthy Best Paper Award. Dr. Yamakawa’s work has been published in leading Entrepreneurship/Management journals such as Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Research Policy, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, Small Business Economics, and Management International Review.


Program Manager

Alex Nesbeda  

Alex Nesbeda 

Alex Nesbeda, Senior Program Manager for the Short-Term Programs team, manages the programming for Electives Abroad & Away, International Consulting Experience, and the Global Entrepreneurship Experience for the undergraduate and graduate student populations. She is the program manager for undergraduate Electives Abroad in Japan, Germany, Uruguay/Argentina, Ireland and Greece/Italy; the graduate Elective Abroad in Italy; and the MSEL Global Entrepreneurship Experience in Israel and Tanzania. She also handles the risk management for the Affordable Design and Entrepreneurship (ADE) program.





Waseda University created a video of Professor Yamakawa's "Design Thinking" class held for Babson College and Waseda University students in January 2018. Check out the video below or visit the website for more information and photos (in Japanese).




Professor Yamakawa loves 'failure' which is exactly why he makes us immerse ourselves in the Japanese culture and lets us learn through our failures. Today we got to experience Shodo, which is Japanese calligraphy and is a form of art here in Japan. We definitely 'failed' but the instructors assured us that even in the errors to perfect the small characters we were able to highlight our own personas. We also got a chance to make our own sushi and even though each roll we made wasn’t as great as our instructors, we learned a lot about the precision and the different aspects that go into creating one simple roll of sushi that we chowed down in seconds. Gotcha So Summer (this is the easy English phonetic way of saying: ‘that was a delicious and great meal’)! #Babson #BabsonAbroad #BabsonElectivesAbroad #BabsonGlavinOffice #Japan

A post shared by Babson Glavin Office: (@babsonglavinoffice) on

Student Quotes

This program is currently not accepting applications.