Activity Report (1997) Part 2 - I. Increasing Mutual Understanding and Tolerance for Diversity


Asia Pacific Sociological Association Organizing Committee (Australia)
2nd Asia Pacific Regional Conference of Sociology

¥ 1,061,466
This grant supported the preparations for and the holding of the 2nd Asia Pacific Regional Conference of Sociology at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. About 120 people, the majority from outside Malaysia, discussed various themes ranging from family diversity, economic liberalization, to theory formation in Asian sociology. In addition to strengthening professional exchange, the conference also resulted in the founding of the Asia Pacific Sociological Association, which hopes to integrate issues of Asian sociology into the international professional discourse.


International Institute of Hospice Studies, Flinders University of South Australia (Australia)
Teaching Palliative Care in Asia

¥ 1,175,070
This is a follow-up to a project supported by the Asia Center in 1995. In this second phase, emphasis was placed on training teachers and preparing teaching materials. More than 70 health professionals were involved in workshops, one held in Hatyai, Thailand, and another in Penang, Malaysia. To promote the teaching of palliative care in China, a professor from Beijing Hospital was invited to Australia to collaborate on the production of an instructional video for Chinese health professionals and to supervise the translation into Chinese of a book, entitled Palliative Care: A Study Text, for future publication.


Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific (RIAP), University of Sydney (Australia)
Trends in Asian Studies in Australia's Higher Education Sector

¥ 627,361
With funds from an Asia Center grant in 1995, the RIAP published a book entitled Trends in Asian Studies in Australia's Higher Education Sector, by R. Kersten, et al. (Sydney: RIAP, 1996) that was the outcome of a survey of the teaching and research capacity in Asian studies among specialist centers and social departments in Australia's higher education sector. This supplemental grant enabled the RIAP to distribute copies of the book to various government agencies, NGOs and educational institutions within Australia and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.


Central University of Nationalities (China)
Peaceful Development, Race, and Religion in the 21st Century

¥ 1,100,470
This international conference brought together around 30 scholars from China, Japan and South Korea to discuss racial and religious conflict and to make recommendations towards peaceful development in the 21st century. Participants reviewed the historical, religious, and racial dimensions of these specific sub-themes: "Status and Role Played by Religion in Racial Disputes," "Buddhism and Ethnic Minorities in China," "Racial and Religious Policies and National Unification," and "Ethnic Relations and Development in the 21st Century."


Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (China)
Conference of Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils (AASSREC)

¥ 2,524,986
AASSREC is an organization of national councils in 16 countries in the Asia region. AASSREC's 12th biennial conference, held in Beijing this year, was organized to review achievements over the last two years, to plan future programs, and to determine the trends in Asian social science research and theory. Among issues tackled in the conference were globalization and local culture; Asian perspectives on social harmony, stability, and diversity; and the environment and poverty.


Center for East Asian Cultural Studies for UNESCO, Toyo Bunko (Japan)
Creating a Computer-based Asian Studies Information Network for Internet Users

¥ 2,183,000
This was the concluding phase of a project to build an information-sharing network among Asian studies research institutions via the Internet that began in 1995. This year the Toyo Bunko expanded its internal computer network; updated the multilingual database of books on Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Islamic studies it has been compiling and published it on a CD-ROM; and made a survey of scholars of Chinese philosophy, thought and religion, and their use of the Internet. They also published a Directory of Scholars of Asian Language and Literature in Japan 1997 including web addresses of universities and research institutes. The National Center for Science Information Systems has been a major collaborator of the Toyo Bunko's project over the last three years.


Committee for the Study of Gender in Southeast Asia (Japan)
Engendering Early Modern History in Southeast Asia

¥ 958,317
This conference in Honolulu on gender issues in historical perspective, organized by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawaii, with partial funding from the Social Science Research Council, was one of the first concerted efforts to fill a noticeable gap in research on the historical roles played by women in Southeast Asia and to see the region's history in gender perspective. Historians from Asia, Australia, Europe and U.S.A. discussed such issues as the methodology of using disparate materials like manuscripts, oral tradition, folklore, pictorial representations, and architecture in reconstructing women's history in the region. The meeting was divided into four sessions, titled "Man and Woman in Religion," "Man and Woman in Literature," "Gender Relations and Commercial Shifts," and "Gender Relations and the State." The organizers plan to publish the proceedings of the conference as a book. The Asia Center grants to the Japanese committee enabled the attendance at the conference of participants from Japan and Southeast Asia.


Cultural Conference on East Asian Thought (Japan)
International Cultural Forum '97: East Asian Thought

¥ 2,560,000
Recognizing a lack of common understanding on philosophical issues among Asian countries, 35 scholars and intellectuals from Korea, Japan, and China gathered in Beijing to attempt to bridge the gap of understanding regarding East Asian culture particularly on religion, social structure, political systems, social ethics and customs. The forum dealt with these issues under two broad headings: "History and Future of East Asian Thought" and "East Asia as an Intellectual Community".


East Asian Association of Bioethics (Japan)
UNESCO Asian Bioethics Conference

¥ 1,942,000
This conference was held in Kobe and Fukui with the support of UNESCO, which has launched an international campaign on bioethics, to encourage cross-cultural discussion of bioethics and to strengthen a network among bioethicists, philosophers, educators, physicians, scientists, lawyers, administrators, and the general public in the Asia-Pacific region. Participants exchanged views on the field of genetics in each country, social awareness to new biotechnologies, and medical and patent rights. Specific panel themes included "Law and Ethics in the World," "Foundations of Asian Bioethics," "Health and Bioethics," "Ethical Issues of the Human Genome Project," and "Ethics and Medical Genetics." The proceedings of the conference were published as Bioethics in Asia in May 1998.


International Association for Mongolian Studies (Japan)
7th International Congress of Mongolists

¥ 1,988,000
This international congress, held over five days in Ulaanbaatar, attempted to expand and develop Mongolian studies beyond the country's borders by promoting interactions among researchers and by fostering the international public's enhanced understanding of Mongolia. About 200 scholars from 27 countries in Asia and Europe-including Russian, Chinese, and Mongolian scholars who for the first time were able to sit together after the end of the Cold War-participated in the congress to discuss four key themes: "History, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Ethnology," "Language and Letters," "Literature, Culture and Arts" and "Economy, Philosophy, Law and Politics."


International House, Osaka (Japan)
Asia : Looking to the Future

¥ 3,010,000
More than 500 participants-opinion leaders and leading intellectuals from the Asia Pacific region-gathered in Osaka to share their views, to discuss regional issues, and to envision the future of the region in the coming century. After keynote lectures by such scholars as Anthony Reid of Australian National University and Goenawan Mohamad, the journalist and poet from Indonesia, the symposium participants considered the phenomena of globalization and Asian culture, the present and future of Asian economies, and a new international order in Asia.


Korean Network Research Group (Japan)
Kimchi Culture in East and Central Asia and Siberia

¥ 2,026,000
This project studied the transformations of traditional culture and the structure of antagonism and competition among Korean-speaking peoples in East Asia-including China, and Russia (Siberia and Sakhalin)-and Central Asia, taking as their starting point an analysis of the kimchi (Korean pickled vegetable) industry. In the first phase of the project, a research team carried out a pilot study of the Korean community in Beijing and Yanji, conducting interviews and collecting information on local kimchi production. The ultimate goal of the project is to advocate more tolerance and understanding towards Korean communities living outside Korea.


National Center for Science Information Systems (NCSIS) (Japan)
Exchange of Information on the "Information Super Highway" in Asia

¥ 2,469,000
This was the last phase of a project to survey and analyze the distribution of scientific and technical information between Japan and other Asian countries through interconnected computer networks. In this phase, NCSIS surveyed the supply and demand of information for scholars of Japanese studies in Thailand; trained Thai scholars and librarians to utilize NCSIS's online services; and surveyed the frequency of information utilization. It also determined the level of utilization of Japanese-language materials held in Thailand and conducted an inventory of information on Thai language available on the NCSIS network and others.


Organizing Committee of the Asian Association of Social Psychology (Japan)
2nd Conference of the Asian Association of Social Psychology

¥ 1,957,000
Adopting as its main theme "Similarities and Differences in Asian Cultures: New Directions in the Study of Social Identity in Asia," this conference brought to Kyoto some 300 participants from 18 Asian countries. They discussed measures to develop the study of social psychology from Asian perspectives, to establish effective networks among its members, and to contribute practical solutions to real problems facing Asian countries. Outcomes of the conference appeared in the first issue of Asian Journal of Social Psychology.


Korean Comparative Literature Association (Korea)
Comparative Literature in East Asia

¥ 1,890,673
This conference sought to reassert elements of unity and shared features in the history of East Asian literature. Scholars from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan were invited to Seoul to consider several critical issues: how countries with Chinese writing systems pass on their traditional literature to the next generation; how they have historically accepted and dealt with the impact of Western literature; and how literature in one country relates to that of its neighbors. The results of this conference were reported at the 15th Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association.


Institute of Islamic Understanding (IIU) (Malaysia)
2nd Symposium on Asia and Islam

¥ 488,533
This symposium followed up an inaugural conference in Tokyo on the same theme organized by the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) in 1995 with support from the Asia Center. The second symposium was held in Kuala Lumpur, jointly organized by the JIIA and IIU, and was participated in by representatives from Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Syria and Thailand. Aiming to enhance understanding of both Asia and Islam, discussion focused on three critical topics: "Economics: Islam and Economic Development," "Culture: Islam and the Information Society," and "Security: The Role of Islam." The proceedings and recommendations of the symposium were disseminated to various national governments, research institutions, and the business sector, in the hope of influencing public policy and understanding about Islam in Asia.


Malaysian Social Science Association (MSSA) (Malaysia)
1st International Malaysian Studies Conference

¥ 2,329,782
Responding to the challenge of Malaysia's "Vision 2020" to promote and consolidate Malaysian studies internationally, the MSSA convened this inaugural Malaysian studies conference at the University of Malaya. Over 150 participants from around the world discussed the following topics in Malaysian studies in two parallel sessions: national identity; technology; language, literature and art; social development; and gender in literature. Two roundtable discussions on "The Future of Malaysian Studies" and "Youth and Politics" were also included. The conference also put forward policy recommendations to the Malaysian government education authorities; and determined to make the meeting a biennial event at which the state of Malaysian studies is regularly reassessed. Conference papers are available on a CD-ROM publication, and the edited proceedings will be published as a book that is hoped to be the first in a series.


Social Sciences and Philosophy Research Foundation, University of the Philippines (Philippines)
Southeast Asia in the 20th Century

¥ 3,576,500
The SEASREP Council (Southeast Asian Studies Regional Exchange Program, which is jointly supported by the Toyota Foundation and Japan Foundation Asia Center; see page 18) conceived a plan in late 1995 to convene a region-wide conference on "What the 20th Century Has Meant to Southeast Asia." Last year the Asia Center gave a grant to the University of the Philippines, a member of the consortium of Southeast Asian universities that is carrying forward the SEASREP agenda, for a series of preparatory activities in advance of the conference. In 1997, the Asia Center supported the conference itself, which was held in Manila in January 1998, and attended by 100 young scholars from Asia/Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, who presented and discussed more than 70 original papers. These encompassed a broad range of issues regarding the region's development in the 20th century from the perspectives of culture and societal transformation; economic development; politics; the state and civil society; gender; environment, science and technology; and the development of Southeast Asian studies itself. The proceedings will be published as a separate book.


Institute of Asian Studies (IAS), Chulalongkorn University (Thailand)
Economy and Polity: Historical and Contemporary Studies of Some Southeast Asian States

¥ 1,153,824
Last year, with Asia Center support, the IAS, in cooperation with the Universities' Historical Research Centre in Yangon (Rangoon), initiated a program of academic exchange between Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) that would focus objectively on the history, literature and culture of the two countries. In fiscal year 1997, a conference was held in Yangon that was collaboratively organized by IAS, the University of Malaya, and the Universities' Historical Research Center, and attended by 50 scholars from East and Southeast Asia, America, and Europe. They examined the historical significance of land and sea trade activities in Southeast Asia, the understudied relationships between ancient polities in the region, and the effects of the rise and fall of port cities corresponding to larger economic and political changes. The conference provided unprecedented opportunities, particularly for Burmese scholars, to interact freely with their international counterparts.

Page Top