The Global Japan Initiative aims to strengthen ties between the Terasaki Center and Japan by re-envisioning and revitalizing the field of Japanese studies in the 21st Century.
Today’s Japan is facing a multitude of issues including the diminishment of economic and political influence around the globe, the decline in population, as well as an increasing tendency to disengage from the world. Furthermore, Japanese soft power, which has been proclaimed since 2002 has, a decade later, lost much of its momentum. In the current environment of globalization the attempt to identify a “pure Japan” has only led towards increased isolation, while conversely, the key question has become how to permeate its distinctiveness throughout the rest of the world. There is a need to shift the model of understanding Japan from a static model based on authenticity to a dynamic model that grasps Japan through qualities of affinity and permeability. There is a pressing need to support research and training toward this end. The Global Japan Initiative is intended to act as a platform for establishing global research networks and supporting the essential research for thinking about a “Dynamic Japan”. Our Global Japan conferences has also highlighted the need to rethink conventional practices in the study of Japan, amidst changing geopolitical realities and the shifting academic environment. In particular, moving toward a transnational model, including focusing on the migration of Japanese people and culture throughout the world and forging connections with Japanese communities and Japanese studies scholars in different locations, offers a vital way forward.