Kyushu University Academic Staff Educational and Research Activities Database
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Masa Higo Last modified date:2019.06.19

Co-edited volume - Ageing in Asia-Pacific: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives (Routledge) .
Edited Volume - Retirement in Japan and South Korea: The past, the present and the future of mandatory retirement (Routledge) .
Academic Degree
Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology, Master of Arts in Sociology
Country of degree conferring institution (Overseas)
Field of Specialization
Sociology, Gerontology, Social Policy
Total Priod of education and research career in the foreign country
Outline Activities
Research – as a sociologist I specialize in aging (gerontology) and social/public policy from a cross-national comparative perspective. From 1999 through 2014 I designed and conducted various international research projects as a member of the Center for Retirement Research and Global Institute, Sloan Center on Aging & Work, both of which are at Boston College (Massachusetts). I also helped to newly launch The Institute of Gerontology as an associate professor at the University of Central Missouri. My peer-reviewed journal articles are published in Journal of Population Ageing, Global Social Policy, and Journal of Aging & Social Policy, to name a few. Representative academic volumes include Retirement in Japan and South Korea: The Past, the Present, and the Future of Mandatory Retirement (2015, Routledge) and Ageing in Asia-Pacific: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives (2018, Routledge). I am affiliated with various professional academic organizations including American Sociological Association and The Gerontological Society of America.

Teaching – Prior to joining Kyushu University I taught a number of courses at Boston College (Massachusetts), Emerson College (Massachusetts), Anderson University (South Carolina), and the University of Central Missouri, among other institutions in the United States. Most of the courses I have taught to date – including those at Kyushu University – are in social sciences including sociology, social policy, and social gerontology with an explicit focus on a global perspective. Especially since joining Kyushu University, I have worked closely and extensively with international students who study on the campus through a variety of study abroad programs including the Japan in Today’s World (JTW) Program. My courses at Kyushu University focuse largely on social problems, including population aging, of contemporary Japan and some other East Asian countries from a critical, global/cross-national comparative perspective.

Research Interests
  • The Future of Public Pension Schemes: A Comparative Policy Analysis of Sweden, The United States, and Japan
    keyword : Public Pension, Population Aging, Sustainability, Social Policy, Social Welfare
  • Population Aging and Its Impacts in Southeast Asia: Lessons for Policymakers
    keyword : Population Aging, Southeast Asia, Social Policy
  • Aging Society & The Future of Contractual Mandatory Retirement: A Sociological Analysis of the Present and the Future
    keyword : Aging Society, Social Policy, Cross-National Comparison
  • Decision-Making Factors for Study Abroad: A Preliminary Case Study in Japan
    keyword : Study Abroad, Decision-Making Factor, International Education, Education Policy
Current and Past Project
  • In the midst of global trends of population aging and delaying workers’ retirement, will Japan soon follow the emerging global trend of abolishing mandatory retirement in the labor market? Using interviews and surveys, this research will explore workers’ attitudes toward mandatory retirement in Japan, which has largely been understudied in the corpus of retirement research to date. This research will also include the cases of Korea and Canada both as points of cross-national comparison and also as a pilot study for a future, larger-scale international survey project aiming to predict the future of mandatory retirement, which still powerfully affects the economic and social well-being of older workers and their families in many countries around the world today.
Academic Activities
1. Thomas R. Klassen Masa Higo Nopraenue S. Dhirathiti Theresa W. Devasahayam, Ageing in Asia-Pacific: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives, Routledge, 2018.06, In the coming decades, challenges and risks associated with rapid population ageing will be paramount in Asia-Pacific. Examining key trends, dilemmas and developments with reference to specific nations, the book draws conclusions and policy recommendations that apply to Asia-Pacific as a whole. Individual chapters focus on the impact of population ageing, along with urbanization and industrialization, on the lives of people in the region. The book shows how leaders in Asia-Pacific – political, community and others – need to respond to changes in family and social structures, disease pathology, gender roles, income security, the care of older citizens and the provision of social and health welfare..
2. Masa Higo, Thomas R. Klassen, Retirement in Japan and South Korea: The Past, the Present and the Future of Mandatory Retirement, Routledge (New York), 2015.05, [URL], This book analyses reforms to retirement policies and practices in Japan and South Korea, especially in the context of rapid population ageing. A defining feature of the labour markets and workplaces in these two nations, and the lives of workers and families, is involuntary retirement at relatively young ages. The book explains past developments and recent reforms of retirement policies both in the two countries, as well as in a cross-national comparative manner. At the core of the book is an examination of the social, economic, and political conflicts around retirement, such as between young and old workers, and between employers and workers. The policy recommendations offered apply not only to Japan and South Korea, but also to other nations with rapidly ageing populations, such as China. The volume mainly targets those interested in labor markets and workplaces, population ageing and contemporary East Asian, in addition to those studying retirement and pensions. Policymakers, business leaders, worker organizations, researchers and students will benefit from the insights about the past, present and future of retirement..
1. Masa Higo Atsuhiro Yamada, Japan - Public Policy, Global Institute, Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, 2012.11.
1. Masa Higo, Ageing and Old Age in Modern Society, Ageing in Asia-Pacific: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives (Routledge, 2018), 2018.05.
2. Thomas R. Klassen Masa Higo Nopraenue S. Dhirathiti Theresa W. Devasahayam, The Impacts of the Demographic Transition in Asia Pacific, Ageing in Asia-Pacific: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives (Routledge, 2018), 2018.05.
3. Masa Higo, Thomas R. Klassen, Reforms of Retirement Policies: Three Common Paths in Aging Japan and Korea, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 29, 1, 70-83, 2017.01, Faced with an unparalleled rate of population aging, Japan and Korea have been reforming their retirement policies. To date, however, while the age of mandatory retirement has increased, employees continue to face significant decreases in compensation and other working conditions, typically at age 60 in Japan and age 55 in Korea. Three factors have contributed to shaping the path of the policy reforms in both the countries, including (1) the productivist welfare regimes, (2) the structure of the labor market for young workers, and (3) seniority-based wage and compensation systems..
4. Masa Higo, Global Ageing and Its Challenges, The Routledge Handbook of Global Public Policy and Administration, 2016.03.
5. Masa Higo Heike S. Schröder Atsuhiro Yamada, Japan: Determinants of Retirement in a Hyper-Aged Society, Delaying Retirement: Progress and Challenges of Active Ageing in Europe, the United States and Japan, 2015.12.
6. Masa Higo, Experiencing Retirement: The Perspective of Older Workers in Japan, Retirement in Japan and Korea: The Past, the Present, and the Future of Mandatory Retirement (2015, Routledge), 2015.02.
7. Masa Higo Thomas R. Klassen, Introduction: Retirement in Aging Japan and Korea, Retirement in Japan and Korea: The Past, the Present, and the Future of Mandatory Retirement (2015, Routledge), 2015.02.
8. Masa Higo Hafiz T. A. Khan, Global Population Aging: Unequal Distribution of Risks in Later Life between Developed and Developing Countries, Global Social Policy, 10.1177/1468018114543157, 2014.12, Much of the existing research on population aging has focused on its impact, including both opportunities and challenges, on developed countries, particularly those in Europe and North America. This article discusses how unequally population aging will distribute risks in securing socio-economic resources for the wellbeing of individuals in later life between developed and developing countries around the world. Based on a documentary analysis of relevant literature and findings from the survey data drawn from Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations (UN), and World Health Organization (WHO), this article discusses four main areas of the unequal distribution of risks in later life: (1) burden of disease in epidemiological transition, (2) financial security in retirement, (3) familial resources for elderly care, and (4) care workforce for elderly care. While population aging is a global trend, its impact is not equal; over the next decades, today’s developing countries will likely contend with double challenges at least in these areas..
9. Matthew Flynn Heike S. Schröder Masa Higo Atsuhiro Yamada, Government as Institutional Entrepreneur: Extending Working Life in the UK and Japan, Journal of Social Policy,, 43, 3, 2014.06.
10. Masa Higo, Older Worker in National Context: A Japan-US Comparison, Journal of Population Ageing,, 6, 4, 305-322, 2013.12, [URL].
11. Masa Higo, Surviving Death-Anxieties in Liquid Modern Times: Examining Zygmunt Bauman’s Social Theory of Death and Dying, OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying, 10.2190/OM.65.3.e, 65, 3, 221-238, 2012.06, [URL].
12. Masa Higo John B. Williamson, Global Aging, Handbook of Sociology of Aging (2011, Springer), 117-129, 2011.12, [URL].
13. Atsuhiro Yamada Masa Higo, Institutional Barriers to Work beyond Retirement: Evidence from a Recent Japanese Employee Survey, Contemporary Japan, 10.1515/cj.2011.009, 23, 1, 157-186, 2011.06, [URL].
14. John B. Williamson Masa Higo, Why Japanese Workers Remain in the Labor Force So Long: Lessons for the United States?, Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 24, 4, 321-337, 2009.09, [URL].
15. Masa Higo, Aging Workforce in Japan: Three Policy Dilemmas
, Hallym International Journal of Aging, 10.2190/HA.8.2.e, 8, 2, 149-173, 2006.04, [URL].
1. Masa Higo, Retirement Reforms in an Hyper-Aged Japan: Three Policy Challenges, Trends and Determinants of Retirement and Related Policies in Asia , 2018.03.
2. Masa Higo, Recent Retirement Trends: A US-Japan Comparison, AARP Public Policy Institute 2017 Regional Convention, Florida, 2017.12.
3. Masa Higo, Critical Overview of Global Aging, The Gerontological Society of America 2017 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, 2017.11.
4. Masa Higo, Why Do Japanese Workers Remain in the Labor Force So Long: A US-Japan Comparison, The Gerontological Society of America 2017 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, 2017.11.
5. Masa Higo, Older Worker & Retirement Policy: Recent Trends in an Aging Japan, The Third Annual International Symposium on Aging and Old-Age in Asia-Pacific, 2017.10.
6. Masa Higo, Older Workers and Retirement: Recent Policy Changes in Japan and Korea, American Sociological Association 112nd Annual Meeting 2017, 2017.08.
7. Masa Higo, Population Aging in Southeast Asia: Lessons from Developed Countries?, The Gerontological Society of America 2016 GSA Annual Scientific Meeting, 2016.11.
8. Masa Higo, Japan's Public Pension and Its Recent Reforms, The Second Annual International Symposium on Aging and Old-Age in Asia-Pacific, 2016.10.
9. Masa Higo, Retirement Policies in Japan: Recent Changes and Challenges, 2014 Korea Social Policy Annual Joint Conference, 2014.10.
10. Masa Higo, Growing Older in Japan: Experiences of the Hyper-Aged Society, Teaching About Contemporary Japan Workshop (Kansas City US-Japan Society), 2014.04.
Membership in Academic Society
  • Council Of International Student Advisors of National Universities (COISAN)
Educational Activities
My teaching and instructional activities are dedicated mostly to international education both for international and domestic students. I offer a wide range of sociology courses taught in English (e-courses) aiming to help students deepen their understanding of social trends, problems, and future prospects of contemporary Japan and other East Asian countries from a critical, global/cross-national comparative perspective (mainly referring to the United States as a point of comparison). My regular courses include, but are not limited to, Aging & the Life Course in Japan, Japan & Globalization, Ethnicity, Minority & Diversity in Japan, and Sociology of Japanese Daily Life Today. The main platform of my teaching and advising for international students is my role as the primary faculty coordinator of the Japan in Today’s World (JTW) Program, Kyushu University’s premier, one-year study program mainly for exchange students selected from the University’s leading partner institutions around the world. I also regularly offer Contemporary American Society: A Sociological Introduction and Current Affairs of ASEAN and East Asia. Effective international education requires continuous improvement of instructional skills and methods; I regularly revise the contents of my courses and update my pedagogy to meet my students’ ever-changing and diverse academic needs and interests.
Other Educational Activities
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