Studying the Shakespeare First Folio at Meisei University in Tokyo

Ref: 10003244


Second-year and final-year students enrolled on BA English programmes are eligible to participate in this opportunity, especially those enrolled studying the module ENGL2035. The maximum number of places on this opportunity is 30 and the minimum the trip will go ahead with is 10. DMU staff will be accompanying the group.

DMU students are only eligible to receive one academic-led trip bursary per year. Please check our eligibility criteria for further details.


Meisei University in Tokyo houses 12 copies of the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, the so called First Folio printed in 1623. This is one of the most valuable rare books in the world and Meisei University has made all 12 copies available to visiting DMU students. The trip is concerned with how books were made in the 14th – 19th centuries and being able to study the First Folio is a unique opportunity.

Because of how the books were made, the 12 copies of this first edition are not identical and we will undertake close examination to see just how the words of Shakespeare’s plays were altered while the press was running, making each copy itself a unique item within an unique rare edition. While at Meisei University we will also take the opportunity to look at other rare books in their collection, including the first edition of Ben Jonson’s plays, and to look at Meisei’s replica of the Globe theatre of Shakespeare’s time.

Other module-related activities will give students an opportunity to conduct the comparative case studies of text technologies in England and Japan and re-consider the text technologies in Europe from a global perspective. This will include a visit to the Tokyo Printing Museum  to examine the historical documents and printing technologies used in Japan since the sixth century. Students will also participate in a Japanese calligraphy and book binding class to learn about Japanese book making.

Students who take this field trip will improve their skills and expertise in relation to these three learning outcomes of the module:

  • Having a working knowledge of the history of text technologies and the key changes that have occurred in the past 600 years
  • Know how to write scholarly descriptions of manuscripts, printed books and digital texts
  • Have practical experience of the mechanical and technological processes involved in handprinting using movable type

Cultural activities

Meisei will put on for us a range of cultural activities, including classes on Japanese language and culture. They will also treat us to an authentic Japanese tea ceremony. The trip will include plenty of time for students to explore Tokyo and the surrounding area, from the city’s own Disneyland to the majesty of Mount Fuji and, by Japan’s famous 200 MPH ‘bullet trains’, to nearby preserved ancient Japanese cities.

Travel and accommodation

  • Travel – Students are required to independently book their travel.
  • Accommodation – The faculty will book accommodation for this opportunity, and students will be expected to pay the full amount following confirmation of their place.

Contact details

Visa information

If you have a British Citizen or British National (Overseas) or EU passport, you can enter Japan as a visitor for up to 90 days without a visa. You may need to provide evidence of a return or onward ticket. Students of other nationalities should check the entry requirements on the Japanese Embassy website.

Further information will be provided to all accepted students who require a visa, regarding the type of visa required and how to apply for it, at the pre-departure session. If you have any specific questions about this please email for advice. If a visa is required, you are responsible for applying for one and ensuring that you do so with sufficient time to receive the visa prior to departure. Please be aware that immigration decisions are made by individual embassies.

Key Information

  • Departure date: Saturday 4 January 2020
  • Return date: Saturday 11 January 2020
  • Estimated cost of travel, accommodation: £1090
  • Students will also be required to pay for: UK and in-country transfers (£40), cultural activities, food & drink, and visa (if applicable)
  • #DMUglobal bursary: £400
  • Deadline for application: Monday 4 November 2019 9am