Kyoto, Japan

The International Research Center for Japanese Studies

As the nations of the world have come to be ever more closely dependent upon one another, the importance of mutual international understanding has increased. The particularly rapid growth in Japan's interdependence with other nations in recent years has greatly heightened the level of interest in Japan throughout the world and, as a result, the field of Japanese Studies is confronted with a new set of challenges.
The International Research Center for Japanese Studies was established in Kyoto in May 1987 in response to these challenges. It takes the form of an Inter-University Research Institute which was established as an extra-mural organization for team research and co- operative use by researchers in universities and colleges.

The aim of the Center is, first, to carry out interdisciplinary and comprehensive research on Japanese Culture from an international perspective, and, second, to cooperate with researchers throughout the world by providing research-related information.

Main Features
1. The research themes of the Center have been established from an international perspective, enlisting the participation of numerous scholars from Japan and abroad, in order to conduct joint interdisciplinary and comprehensive research.

2. The organization of the research activities is flexible, without recourse to a system of specialized research units.

3. The Center performs the role of a resource centre by providing information and bibliographical assistance to scholars and research institutions both in Japan and overseas.

4. Research cooperation is available for scholars in various regions of the world, in response to the particular requirements of Japanese Studies in each region

5. The Center provides orientation and guidance on Japanese Studies for Japanese and foreign graduate students and researchers.

Research activities
The following five research spheres provide a comprehensive framework for conceptualizing Japanese Studies.

1. Cultural Dynamics:
Japanese culture is treated within a chronological framework with three research focuses, 'contemporary', 'traditional' and 'prehistoric'.

2. Structures of Culture:
deals with structural elements relatively independent of change throughout time. The three research focuses are 'Man', 'Society', and 'Nature'.

3. Comparison of Culture:
focuses on comparing Japan with other countries with the three research focuses, 'Daily Life', 'Institutions', and 'Thought'.

4. Cultural Relations:
deals with Japan's actual interactions with other cultures, both historical and contemporary. The research focuses are 'Ancient sphere of contacts', 'Early-modern sphere of contact', and 'Modern sphere of contact'.

5. Cultural Information:
deals with the state of the field of Japanese Studies itself. This research sphere serves as a channel of communication between research activities and research cooperation.

Besides individual research, the Center also conducts team research which can be divided into four categories: basic research; short-term projects; long-term special projects; and international symposia. The Center is also currently involved in a grant-founded research project entitled Japanese Art Abroad, which will run until March 1996.

Research cooperation
The Center offers two types of research cooperation: the provision of library facilities (approx. 50,000 volumes) for all qualifies researchers, and the support of individual research activities at the Center.
Research-related assistance can be provided, first, through access to the Center's library facilities and, second, by way of a large-scale computerized database which the Center will compile on its own mainframe computer. Through a multi-retrieval system, researchers will have access to audio-visual and bibliographical materials and chronologies relating to Japanese Studies. The Center also anticipates linkage with the National Center for Science Information System, the nucleus of a nationwide database system, through which access to other research institutes will be possible.
The Center also organizes international research forums, seminars, workshops and other programmes to assist research planning and survey activities, in addition to orientation, consultation and information services on Japanese Studies.

Publications and public services programmes
The Center publishes Nihon Kenkyu, vols 1-9 (1989-1993); Nichibunken; reports on annual symposia; Nichibunken Forum and occasional public lectures (in Japanese); Japan Review and Nichibunken Newsletter (in English).
Among the public services programmes are annual public lecture programmes, the Nichibunken Forum (a monthly lecture series), and other educational activities.

For more information:
International Research Center for Japanese Studies
3-2 , Oeyama-cho
Goryo, Nishikyo-ku
Kyoto 610-11
Japan
Tel: +81-75-335 2222
Fax: +81-75-335 2092



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