A city of tiered, 16th-century castles and flowing mountain springs, Ogaki, Japan, offers beauty and history.
This summer College of the Mainland is launching a new study abroad program open to students and community members. Participants will explore the city’s wonders firsthand and study art at Ogaki Women’s College.
“Just having the experience attending a Japanese college with Japanese students is amazing,” said Mayuko Gray, director of the COM Art Gallery and trip coordinator. A native of Japan, she will accompany travelers as a guide and translator.

“Students have several courses they can do. The school is willing to get our requests and put students in classes they prefer,” said Gray.

Participants can try out classes in traditional studio drawing, caricature, animation, story boarding, computer graphics and design, comic and children’s book illustration and painting. Students will also participate in Japanese customs such as a traditional tea ceremony at the school.

Ogaki Women’s College is open to both male and female foreign exchange students. It is one of the first schools in Japan to have an accredited program in manga, the art of Japanese-style comic book drawing, and anime, cartoon animation. The most respected college for the program in Japan, it has produced more than 20 famous working manga artists.

The college presents a unique opportunity for those who love the distinctive look of anime and manga, popularized by Pokémon and Sailor Moon.

“I teach a drawing class and many younger students love drawing manga in their sketchbooks,” said Gray.

A total of 17 days, the trip includes seven days studying at the college and time sightseeing. Besides staying in Ogaki, participants will tour Tokyo and Kyoto and ride the Japanese “bullet train,” nicknamed for its speed. Attractions include the Ghibli Museum, dedicated to the work of Hayao Miyazaki, a renowned animator and film director.

Participants may choose to stay in an apartment or in a homestay with a Japanese family.
“It is such a rare opportunity to live with a Japanese family and experience everyday life in Japan,” said Gray.

The deadline to apply for this opportunity is April 5.

For more information, contact Gray at mgray@com.edu or 409-933-8354 or visit www.com.edu/sbs-clubs/japanese-culture-club