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Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange

Promoting Japanese Studies Overseas

Supporting Japanese Studies Institutions

We support key Japanese studies institutions overseas such as universities and research centers. It is to reinforce their base and to develop specialists in Japanese Studies. The support can come in diverse forms suiting the institution's requests. It can be subsidized for research and international conferences, staff expansion, library materials, training in Japan, and publications. We also send visiting professors. Such comprehensive and continuing support is helping to develop and expand Japanese studies overseas over a long period of time.

Grants for Intensive Research in Japan (Russia)

Thanks to the donation given by Japan Tabacco Inc., we have initiated a three-year program to financially support the students of Japanese Studies at Saint Petersburg State University and Far Eastern Federal University in Russia.These two universities are Russia's leading educational research institutions for Japanese-language education and Japanese studies.

To deepen understanding of Japan among the younger generation, this intensive support program will enable undergraduate and graduate students to study at a Japanese university for one semester or one year. In fiscal 2014, support was provided to three graduate students from Saint Petersburg State University to study in Japan. From fiscal 2015, the support program will be expanded to enable a total of about 20 students from both universities to study in Japan.

Photo of Orientation of Russian graduate students invited to Japan
Orientation of Russian graduate students invited to Japan

Institutional support of the infrastructure for the future (U.S.)

After the severe budget crisis in the state of California and multiple turnover of leading faculty members, the Japan Foundation has been providing the University of California, Los Angeles with financial support for four years since fiscal 2012.

In fiscal 2014, financial assistance was given to hold research conferences with nearby research institutions and to hold public symposiums. Global Japan Forum: Diasporas That challenge A Uniform National Identity: Japanese in Modern Times was a meaningful one where scholars presented their latest findings about Japan for the American public.

Through a grant from the Japan Foundation, the university hired Associate Professor Michael Emmerich in fiscal 2013 as a faculty member. He was the key to establishing the Tadashi Yanai Initiative to partner UCLA and Waseda University through the private donation of entrepreneur Tadashi Yanai. This initiative aims to train people and promote exchanges in the humanities field in Japan and in the United States. By leading the initiative's steering committee to implement diverse programs, we can expect Professor Emmerich to help expand Japanese studies in Japan and in the United States.

Photo of Public symposium at UCLA 1

Photo of Public symposium at UCLA 2
Public symposium at UCLA

Beijing Center for Japanese Studies and Peking University Research Center for Contemporary Japan (China)

The Beijing Center for Japanese Studies was established in 1985 upon an agreement by the Japan Foundation and the Ministry of Education of the Government of the People's Republic of China to train people in Japanese-language, Japanese studies and China-Japan exchange activities. Currently, the center is jointly operated by the Beijing Foreign Studies University and the Japan Foundation. Seven Japanese scholars were sent to the center for a short term to lecture and give guidance to Japanese studies graduate students at the center. Also, 16 graduate students in the master's degree program were invited to spend about four months in Japan for research. Four Ph.D candidates were also invited to spend one year in Japan. In fiscal 2014, the center produced 37 students graduating with master's degrees and ten doctorates.

The Peking University Research Center for Contemporary Japan is jointly operated by Peking University and the Japan Foundation. It aims to produce Chinese specialists having a good knowledge of modern Japan and specialized knowledge. In fiscal 2014, lectures of Japanese studies were given to 20 Peking University doctoral candidates in the social sciences. Eleven scholars from Japan were sent to the center to lecture for a short term. In June, 20 students from the center were invited to a 15-day study program in Japan.

Photo of Reception for master's degree and Ph.D candidates from the Beijing Center for Japanese Studies
Reception for master's degree and Ph.D candidates from the Beijing Center for Japanese Studies

Supporting Japanese-Studies Scholars

The Japan Foundation offers research fellowships to the Japanese studies scholars abroad to conduct research in Japan. In the fields of humanities and social sciences, we have short-term and long-term fellowships, as well as one for doctoral candidates to complete their dissertations. Many Japanese studies scholars from around the world are doing research in Japan on a Japan Foundation fellowship.

Back in Japan as Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia

In November 2014, Andrijana Cvetkovik became the Republic of Macedonia Ambassador to Japan. She previously came to Japan in fiscal 2011 on a Japan Foundation Fellowship to study cinematic expression. She remarked, "My experience in Japan as a research fellow had a major influence on my studies and career." We can now expect her to apply her deep insights into Japan to her diplomacy.

Photo of Andrijana Cvetkovik, Republic of Macedonia Ambassador to Japan
Andrijana Cvetkovik, Republic of Macedonia Ambassador to Japan

Man Booker International Prize Awarded

In May 2015, renown Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai won the Man Booker International Prize, an international literary award in the United Kingdom. He had previously come to Japan twice under the Japan Foundation Fellowship Program. His studies in Japan culminated in the 2006 publication of a book about Japanese temples and gardens titled, Északról hegy, Délről tó, Nyugatról utak, Keletről folyó (translated into a Japanese book titled, Kita wa Yama, Minami wa Mizuumi, Nishi wa Michi, Higashi wa Kawa). By winning this prize, his works have received renewed international interest. In turn, it may help people around the world understand Japanese culture.

Lessons learned from natural disasters in Japan and Indonesia

At the International Conference on the Text of Natural Disaster: Cultural Perspective in Jakarta in 2014, disaster journalist Ahmad Arif offered advice to the symposium organizer using Japan as an example. The symposium discussed the cultural and religious factors at play in times of natural disasters. Attended by 400 people, the symposium was co-organized by The Japan Foundation, Jakarta, and Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta. Arif put his experience in Japan as a fiscal 2013 Japan Foundation research fellow to very good use, especially his knowledge of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Former fellows appointed as university heads

Dr. Jasur Salikhov, former Japan Foundation research fellow in 2011 from Uzbekistan, has been appointed as Rector of the Management Development Institute of Singapore in Tashkent. Also, Jae-ho Yeom, former 1986 Japan Foundation research fellow, was appointed as President of Korea University in March 2015.

We can hope that these former research fellows in such important university positions will further deepen mutual understanding between their native countries and Japan.

Facilitating Japanese Studies Networking

We support international networking among Japanese studies scholars across institutional and cultural boundaries. We also support domestic and regional associations and meetings around the world. By strengthening networks among Japanese studies scholars, we aim to advance scholarship of Japanese studies abroad.

Japanese Studies Seminar in West Africa

In March 2015, ten government ministers and researchers from seven West African countries gathered in Côte d’Ivoire for the Japan Seminar in West Africa. Attending from Japan were Hosei University Professor Shin Abiko and Meijo University Associate Professor Shozo Kamo. Other attendees came from Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Togo, Senegal, and Mauritania.

With Japanese studies taking root in African countries, the theme of Emergence attracted the most interest in the seminar along with how it related to Japan's modernization. A network of major universities pursuing Japanese studies was established in French-speaking West African countries.

Photo of Japanese studies seminar in West Africa
Japanese studies seminar in West Africa