Greetings from the Director

The Center for International Japanese Studies was established in 2002 upon the occasion of Hosei University’s “Declaration of International Japanese Studies” program being selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s 21st Century Centers of Excellence (COE) Program. The Center works cooperatively with the four research and educational institutions that are the nucleus of this project (the Research Center for International Japanese Studies, the Nogami Memorial Institute of Nohgaku Studies, the Institute of Okinawan Studies, and the International Japan-Studies Institute) to bring overall unity to the 21st Century COE Program.

Participation in the 21st Century COE Program ended in 2006. However, in the Program Assessment carried out in November 2007, great hopes were expressed for efforts towards creating the new discipline of “International Japanese Studies” based on a clear methodology. Praise was also given for research related to worldwide Noh studies, international Okinawan studies, and changing views of Japan and China. And because the Nogami Memorial Institute of Nohgaku Studies and the Institute of Okinawan Studies also operate within the framework of “International Japanese Studies,” they were able to proceed in new directions based on the fruits of their research activities.

Collaborative research about Japanese culture carried out with Europe and China can be held up as a model for international, interdisciplinary research. Through this research, effective networks are established with overseas researchers, universities, research facilities, and staff doing culture-related work at foreign embassies. In contrast to the image of the non-Western country of Japan that quickly modernized and experienced astounding economic success, many people in foreign countries have turned interested gazes on Japan and greater numbers of overseas university students are studying the Japanese language.

Because we are living in an era of globalization, we must first possess deep knowledge of our own Japanese culture to be able to participate and act on an international scale. We must also cultivate talented people who are able to accurately share this knowledge with people from other countries. We believe that the concept of “International Japanese Studies” shows the direction and needs of such an era.

As we continue to work towards constructing the discipline of “International Japanese Studies,” it will be important to cultivate next-generation researchers both within and without Japan who will engage in open studies of Japanese culture. And the Center for International Japanese Studies will play an even greater role than before, as a center carrying out cooperative projects towards creating an academic discipline, as a center for international research and education, and as the center that is part of international networks.

FUKUDA Yoshiro, Director, Center for International Japanese Studies