from the JSAC President, David W. Edgington
(University of British Columbia)
Greetings JSAC members and friends!
It is with great pleasure that I take up the Presidency of our Association, following the fine leadership of our outgoing President, Ken Coates over the past six years. These are indeed exciting times to be studying Japan. Japan is back!
Over the past year the media has been abuzz with new stories on Japan. After more than two decades of economic stagnation there is a sense that `Abenomics’ has thrust Japan back into the limelight. Political scientists and economists are debating whether or not Prime Minister Abe will be successful in his aim to expand the economy of Japan, still facing challenges related to the global economic recession. Other social scientists are more concerned over the socio-economic implications of the aging population and dwindling workforce. Geographers are examining the forthcoming Tokyo summer Olympics in 2020 that will put the nation’s capital into the spotlight. In the northeast of Japan, communities are struggling on the road to recovery after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster of 2011. The continuing popularity of Japanese `pop culture’ provides fertile ground for leading scholars in the fields of Japanese language, literature, history, and visual culture. Food studies experts are intrigued that UNESCO has added Japanese cuisine and food culture to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Here in Canada, there are many reasons to study Japan. Japan is our number three trading partner, and 2014 represents the 85th year of diplomatic relations with Canada. Canadian scholars are at the forefront in understanding contemporary trends in Japan, together with important historical and cultural topics.
Many of the above themes were discussed at the recent JSAC 2013 Conference held at the University of Saskatchewan. Our colleague Dr. Carin Holroyd arranged and hosted a 3-day event entitled `Japan on the Edge’. There were special sessions on Japanese international relations, Japanese journalism, and Japan’s science and technology programs.
We look forward to the 2014 JSAC conference now being planned at Ryerson University (Rai-dai!) in Ontario by Dr. Jim Tiessen on the theme of `Designing Japan: Innovation in a post-growth society’.
During the rest of this academic year watch out for a number of JSAC initiatives on our web site, including publications from previous JSAC conferences, a list of recent books written by JSAC members, and news on JSAC-Japan Foundation special visiting scholars from Japan.
As always, JSAC acknowledges the generous support given by the Japan Foundation, both at its Tokyo headquarters as well as the Director and staff at the Japan Foundation Toronto Office.
JSACThe purpose of the Japan Studies Association of Canada (JSAC) is to promote Japan Studies in Canada and to contribute towards increase in knowledge about Japan and Canada-Japan relations by:
- Encouraging Canadian scholars and other interested persons to conduct research on Japan in all academic fields;
- Sponsoring conferences and publishing proceedings of the conferences and other papers;
- Encouraging Japanese scholars and any person interested in Japan studies to share their knowledge with the members of the Association.