M.A. Program of Interpreting Studies, Graduate School of Economics,
Daito Bunka University


 Welcome to our M.A. Program of Interpreting Studies, the Graduate School of Economics (GSE), Daito Bunka University (DBU), Tokyo, established in April, 1995 as the first graduate school interpreter training program in the country.  We are proud of the tenacious efforts its graduates have made:  as of the year 2008 at the 10th anniversary of its first commencement, nearly 40 percent of its graduates are now practicing professional interpreters.  Given the high initial level of skills and continuing hard work this particularly competitive and demanding profession requires, the result has been both encouraging and promising.  Furthermore, none of our graduates had been in the interpreting market before their admission to this program.  Some had had difficulties during their previous training at private interpreting schools in Japan and sought a new opportunity at DBU, while still others began interpreting training in our program for the first time.

 The founding professor in charge of the program was Prof. Masaomi KONDO, Faculty of Economics, DBU.  While he has been teaching economics of developing countries in the Faculty of Economics, he has been one of the leading conference interpreters (English-Japanese) in Japan since the 1960s, an AIIC member up to 2003, serving numerous international conferences and seminars in the field of politico-economic and financial affairs, trade union activities, and media areas, specifically including the International Labour Conference for over a decade, being the official interpreter for the President of PTTI (Post, Telegraph and Telephone International) for five years while a Japanese trade unionist occupied the position, and the Japan-US Legislators’ Committee.

 In Japan interpreter training had been carried out at private interpreting training schools for a long time, mostly emphasizing technical skills at lexicographical transposition.  Prof. Kondo’s vision was that Japan should have a systematic interpreter education, both theoretical as well as practical.  He felt that European experiences had a lot to offer on this front also in producing highly qualified conference interpreters. 

 The Program had been dedicated to English-Japanese interpreting until April 2006, when Chinese interpreting was added.  Prof. Motoki NAKAJIMA is responsible for the Chinese interpreting program.

■Daito Bunka University and Interpretation

    A History of Interpreting and Daito Bunka University

      A relief of David Akira Itami in the Practicum Room.


David Akira Itami was one of four Kibei Nisei (see below) monitors assigned to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (Tokyo Trial).  This relief is of Itami with a head phone at the trial.  The Tokyo Trial was the first occasion in Japan using a simultaneous interpreting machine and booth.  Actually consecutive interpreting service was provided through the booth.  From 1928 to 1931 Itami was a student at Daito Bunka Gakuin, a predecessor of the present Daito Bunka University.  He studied Chinese classics and Indian philosophy (Katsumi Murata (2000): Itami Akira no Hito to Shiso, Daito Forum Vol 13, Public Relations Department, Daito Bunka University, p52).  Itam's life, dedicated to two home countries Japan and America became a model for a best-selling novel Futatsu no Sokoku <Two Home Lands> (written by Toyoko Yamasaki, 1981) and later Sanga Moyu <Mountains and Rivers Burning>, a year-long popular TV drama broadcast every Sunday evening by NHK, Japan’s publicl network in 1984.

 This relief which was the work of Mr. Rokuro Hoga, an old friend of Itami’s, was installed in this room on September 21, 1999, as a tribute to our great alumnus, David Akira Itami.

 It might be more than coincidence that Itami’s alma mater started the first Japanese postgraduate program of interpreting in 1995.  Nearly 50 years have passed since the end of the Tokyo Trial where Itami worked hard to maintain the best possible interpreting service.

 (Kibei Nisei is a second generation Japanese resident in the U.S. who was bone in America, raised and educated in Japan, and then sent back to the U.S. before WW U.) 

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