Macquarie University
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The evaluation of Japanese universities through online English president messages

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posted on 2022-10-18, 01:37 authored by Lyndell NagashimaLyndell Nagashima

This research thesis examines Japanese university online messages written by university presidents (hereafter ‘president messages’). The dataset comprises four English-language messages selected from elite institutions within the Top Global Project (a project of the Japanese Government that identifies the ‘top’ universities in Japan), and organised according to QS University Ranking: 1. University of Tokyo, 2. Kyoto University, 3. Hokkaido University, and 4. University of Tsukuba. The president messages encapsulate the universities’ English-language online presence, and face, to the international community. The appraisal resource of ATTITUDE (Martin & White, 2005) from Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is used to analyse the dataset in order to understand how the messages function in the Japanese social context. The three types of ATTITUDE are incorporated in this study: judgement to assess behavioural standards; appreciation to determine item values; and affect which are emotional reactions. The dataset predominantly exhibits judgement and appreciation resources, and affect with limited frequency. The findings reveal how these elite Japanese universities are positively construed according to appraisal types within each category. While not widespread in Japanese public discourse, international concepts of innovative academia, diversity, and an international focus on contributing to the well-being of humankind beyond Japan are pervasive in the president messages. It is proposed that the messages are possibly appealing to an international audience as opposed to a Japanese audience by excluding traditional educational values in Japan. It is found that, following the discourse trends of universities worldwide, internationalisation, globalisation and marketisation discourse is evident in these Japanese universities’ president messages.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction -- Chapter 2: Literature Review -- Chapter 3: Methodology -- Chapter 4: Findings and Discussion -- Chapter 5: Conclusion -- Reference List -- Appendices


A thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, Macquarie University

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

John Knox


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:






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