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Joining a University club as non-student 2021/8/2 07:29
Hi and sorry if its a stupid question but i haven't found any answer to this.
In Japan the culture of university clubs is very strong and I would like to know if it is possible to join them if you are not from the university in question; either because you are in another nearby or in a language school and you have mutual friends in that club or you are interested in what they do.
Thanks a lot for your help
by RaulS (guest)  

Re: Joining a University club as non-student 2021/8/2 14:49
of course, no, you can't be a formal member.
student clubs are authorized by the university and it is one of welfare for their students. the university supplies some money for clubs, and the head of the club is one of university professors. if you go in secretly, the club will have serious problems when the university authority find it.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Joining a University club as non-student 2021/8/2 15:31
If it's a semi-unofficial club called サークル or 同好会, it wouldn't be a problem.
When it's an official club, you can't.
by Tai (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Joining a University club as non-student 2021/8/3 11:48
「of course, no, you can't be a formal member.」 - This isn't always the case.

The rules depend on the individual club. Some clubs only accept members from the school where the club is based, and others accept students from other clubs as well. When I was studying at a university in Tokyo, some of the clubs even had policies where only men from the school could join, but women from any school could join. I was personally part of a club that had members from four or five different schools which all had campuses fairly close to each other.

Some of the previous posters have mentioned the terms "circle" (サークル) and "dokokai" (同好会, literally "group that likes the same thing"), which, along with "club" (クラブ) and "bu" (部) are all words that can be used to mean "school club" or "school team" in Japan. In many Japanese universities, there will be multiple clubs for the same activity, often with different levels of how seriously they take the activity and how often they meet/practice.

For sports, generally the "bu" is what's considered the formal "team," and so those are almost always open only to students attending that university. For example, the Waseda University baseball-bu only accepts players who are attending Waseda University, trains intensely, and represents the school in official competitions/tournaments against other schools.

However, there are a lot of students who like playing baseball, but either can't or don't want to spend the amount of time practicing that the baseball-bu requires, or maybe simply aren't talented enough to make the team. But since they still want to play baseball, they might form a more relaxed baseball club. Maybe they don't practice every week. Maybe they don't have uniforms. But they're a group that gets together and play baseball from time to time, and forming a club is easier than just randomly trying to call up 17 other people you happen to know and see if they want to play a game. It's generally these lower-tier clubs (i.e. not the -bu) that sometimes accept members from outside the school.

At the school I went to, for example, there were around 20 different tennis clubs, with the tennis-bu at the top with people who had a shot at going pro (and the practice schedules to match), all the way down to a group that got together for an hour a month to hit balls on a court with no referees and then went out to eat and drink afterwards.

Some universities have directories that list all their clubs, and these will likely the membership eligibility for each club, but if you can't find such information, there's no harm in simply asking the club directly if they accept outside members. Bear in mind, though, that most university clubs do at least require members to be students. So, for example, if you're working, not studying, in Japan, odds are you won't be able to join.
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