Message from the faculty (Course of International Tourism Management Prof. Shigeru Sasaki)

A place of contemplation that allows me to take a scientific interest in the everyday and express myself to the world in my own words


(Updated in December 2018)

Q. What has made you choose an academic career path and become a faculty member?

After finishing up my undergraduate studies and being employed by a trading company with a customer base of major manufacturers to contract the production of machinery products, I came to take an interest in conflict between companies, and this is what prompted me to want to become a researcher and study this issue. Marketing channels have been my area of specialty since then, and my doctoral thesis on distribution systems theory involved research on constructing total distribution systems.

Q. What are your specialized fields of research? Please describe major topics you have ever pursued.

The topics I have addressed heretofore in my research are marketing channel conflict, distribution systems, social entrepreneurs, community marketing and community-based international strategies.

Q. Tell us about any hardships and delights you have had as a researcher. 

The bitterest time for me as a researcher was the job hunt. Having no future prospects whatsoever, it was difficult to work up my motivation, but I was fortunate that my academic supervisor arranged a ton of joint research assignments with companies for me, and five years flew by in a flash as I carried out these assignments in parallel with my own research.

My happiest moments had to do with my doctoral thesis, when my dissertation passed. After becoming an instructor and being given the opportunity to make a presentation at an international academic conference, I had my lack of academic credentials pointed out every time I exchanged business cards, so I gave myself a pep talk to push myself to work harder. On returning to Japan where at the time it was not presumed, as it is now, that people in the social sciences would acquire advanced degrees, I found there was almost no one with a course PhD. With no junior or senior counterparts around me working on their own doctoral theses, I moved up to the PhD program and finally got my degree in my tenth year. It was my first experience ever at having spent such a long time on the same task.

Q. What do you think are the key benefits of studying at a graduate school?

The most appealing thing about studying at a graduate school is becoming able to approach things logically and view them from multifaceted perspectives. Graduate school provided an inimitable environment where, over an invaluable free five years, I became able to think things through until I myself felt satisfied.

Q. Would you give some messages to potential applicants for graduate courses?

“Question everything around you, train to think for itself, and refine your ability to think logically so you can open up new markets through either research or business.”


Name:     SASAKI Shigeru

Education and employment background:

Currently Professor, Course of International Tourism Management, Graduate School of International Tourism Management, Toyo University Graduate School

Joined the Faculty of Economics, Takasaki City University of Economics, in 1991; subsequently served as full-time lecturer, assistant professor and then professor (from 2001) until 2017

Served in the Graduate School of Regional Policy and the Graduate School of Economics and Business Administration at the Takasaki City University of Economics (2001-2016)

Taught as part-time instructor at the Graduate School of Accountancy, Waseda University (2005-2013)

Taught as part-time instructor for the Executive Training Program (ETP) at the Graduate School of Commerce, Waseda University (2007-2013)

Transferred in 2017 to the Faculty of International Tourism Management, Toyo University; teaches tourism/exchange theory, local marketing and other subjects

Government committee memberships

Chair, Panel on Shikoku City Center Vitalization, Shikoku Regional Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (2004-2006)

Chair, Kita-kanto Koshin Mountainscape Community Development Cooperation Council, Kanto Regional Development Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (2006)

Member, Tourism Industry Innovation Project Review Council, Japan Tourism Agency (2010)

Member, Next-Generation Tourism Promotion Strategy Committee, and Chair, Tourism Sub-committee, Department of Industrial Economic Affairs, Gunma Prefecture (2011-2016)

Chair, Expert Advisory Panel on International Strategy Promotion, International Strategy Division, Department of Planning, Gunma Prefecture (since 2011)

Chair, Agricultural Policy Council, Gunma Prefecture (since 2014)

Chair, Tomioka Silk Mill Improvement/Utilization Sub-committee, Comprehensive Strategy Committee, Tomioka City (2015 – 2016)

Research field:

Marketing, distribution systems, urban development, community-based international strategies


“Comprehensive Regional Development Strategies – Site Development as the Basis for Community Development”, Office of the Prime Minister website, Saisei News No. 14, February 2008

“Comprehensive International Strategies for Local Governments: Formulating Strategies to Promote Local Autonomy”, Forum on the Internationalization of Local Governments, No. 270 (April 2012)

“International Strategies for Local Governments in an Age of Global Competition: Helping to Improve the Added Value of Communities”, Think-ing (Sai no Kuni Saitama Extended Association for Human Development Policy Information Magazine), 14 (2013)

“Regional Brands and Regional Marketing” published in Resolving Issues of Regional Administration, Doyukan, 2013

“The Perspective of Regional Innovation”, Takasaki City University of Economics Regional Policy Research Center (eds.), published in Regional Revitalization via Innovation, Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha, 2013

“The Role of International Promotion by Local Governments”, Municipal Administration, Vol. 62 (May 2013)

“Chapter 7: Environmental Issues from a Marketing Standpoint” in New Developments in Environmental Policy, Keiso Shobo, 2015

“Chapter 11: Region-based International Strategies” in The Economics and History of Deflation, Nihon Keizai Hyoronsha, 2015

“The Nucleus of Regional Marketing: Constructing Regional Brands and Pursuing Supported Regional Development”, new edition, Doyukan, 2016

“Chapter 5: The Canterbury Earthquake”, “Chapter 9: Tourism Efforts in Tohoku”, and “Chapter 18: Crisis Change Model: Convenience Stores, Industrial Goods, and the Tourism Industry” in Business Administration for Industrial Recovery, Doyukan, 2017