88-year-old becomes oldest person to earn doctoral degree in Japan


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Very motivational, an extremely determined person, [random virtues] etc etc, was there any point in getting it? You do not get scientific degrees to boast and boost your self-esteem (I am afraid some do though, the world is bewildering), but to help propagate the science and unveil the mysteries of the world. Can she do that? Does she want to do that? If so, my congratulations, and best regards in the endeavours.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Great story! Universities should not be mere schools for 18 to 22 year olds.

I'm sure this forum is read by lots of people who learnt Japanese, a difficult language, in their twenties or thirties. Lots of people start new sports or musical instruments as adults and get really really good. It may be easier to learn things as a child, but it's never too late. Sitting in a juku because "children's minds are like sponges" sounds like a perfect waste of childhood.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Would actually be helpful if JT listed what the doctoral degree was in.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I do not want to put a damper on this, but I have experience. Most doctoral programs are 6 years at most. Sometimes with extenuating circumstances an extension can be forthcoming. Very rare. 30 years of research would make the examiners wonder what was going on with the selected topic for the research and dissertation.

I think they bestowed on her an honorary doctorate.

People during the Jomon period did not have high fashion walks for modeling the newest and latest. I don't think 30 years of research on Jomon cloth warrants a doctorate. It might make a nice coffee table memento especially if it had pictures of the clothing as well.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"I do not want to put a damper on this," she says--before proceeding to do just that...

According to Japanese-language sources, Prof. Ozeki did indeed "earn" the degree. She spent 30 years researching Jomon-era fabric, and how it influenced the development of fabrics in later periods; this is not to say it took her 30 years to summarize her work in the thesis that earned her the degree. None of the sources I saw mention anything about the degree being an "honorary" doctorate.

Arcane fields of study are no less legitimate for being abstruse.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Wonderful! とてもいい^_^

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Congratulations but Ph.D. is supposed to be education to become a researcher. Starting point, not the ending point.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@Stephen: There is not one doctoral program in the world that will allow someone to take 30 years to do their thesis.

Your Japanese sources might be writing what they were told. I would laugh at anyone that told me that they just got their PhD. after working on research for 30 years. I would totally think they were goofing on me.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Congratulations but Ph.D. is supposed to be education to become a researcher. Starting point, not the ending point.

Where exactly is that defined? I've never seen this definition/requirement. Who decided it, and what gives them the right to make that determination over someone like Ozeki?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Where exactly is that defined? I've never seen this definition/requirement. Who decided it, and what gives them the right to make that determination....

It is common sense.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

It is common sense.

No it's not.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It sounds like she has written the thesis (which she could have done quite recently) based on her 30 years of research, and submitted it to the University which has conferred the PhD based on its usual methods of examination.

Thus it is not an "honorary" degree, which are conferred in recognition of an individual's expertise in and/or influence on a particular area of study and/or practice, rather than completion of an actual thesis.

A PhD can be the starting point of a career in research, but it can also result from a long period of working as a researcher, as it seems to have been in this case. One of the works in cited in my own PhD was completed by someone who had many years of research experience in his chosen field (teacher education), but had never actually written the research up as a thesis.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We've had people from companies earn Ph.Ds based mostly on the research they did during their careers, along with some small project they did at the university for one or two years. It's quite common; the research doesn't have to be done whilst you were enrolled at the university.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@gogogo - "...has been researching for more than 30 years the cultural aspects of cloth during ancient Japan's Jomon Period"... I guess we can deduce anthropology / cultural history as her field of study :P

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

On TV news saw Ozeki interviewed after the ceremony. She said she plans to continue her research.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

We don't know if she received a medical doctorate, a PhD, or a doctorate in another subject.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The article says she did not enrole in the university's graduate program. In Japan, you can get a PhD without ever having stepped into a university. It is called a "thesis doctorate" (論文博士), which you get by submitting a thesis to a graduate school department. These can be obtained from the University of Tokyo, for example. It is a real doctorate, not an honorary degree, and you can teach at a university.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NHK reported she earned a PhD

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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