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Report: Japan Foundation/BAJS Japanese Studies Postgraduate Workshop 2017 – Make an Impact

February 24 2017 saw the return of the annual Japanese Studies postgraduate workshop, the sixth the Japan Foundation has held in co-operation with the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS), and the second to be held outside London. This year’s workshop held at the University of Sheffield, was attended by 36 postgraduate students from 18 different universities in the UK and Europe working on Japan related research in diverse disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.

The theme of this year’s workshop focused on how emerging academics can expand the impact of their research on wider academia and society outside the Japanese Studies community.

The workshop opened with a series of inspiring case studies from senior academics at the University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies.  Prof Hugo Dobson, Dr Mark Pendleton and Dr Peter Matanle discussed their own experiences of conceiving, generating and recording the impact of their research covering diverse perspectives from international relations and ‘translating’ research for the media, working with policy-makers, to creative collaboration with visual artists.

The presentations were followed by a series of hands-on workshop sessions led by Dr Thomas McAuley, Lecturer in Japanese Studies at the University of Sheffield, during which students worked in small groups to define their research for an audience of non-specialists, and to put together a statement on the potential impact and audience for their research.

The workshop finished with a session on ‘Funding your Research’ with presentations from representatives of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, British Association for Japanese Studies and the Japan Foundation introducing the wide range of funding programmes available to emerging researchers in Japanese Studies.

Some comments from student participants include:

‘I have heard suggestions on how to expand my research and enhance its impact in ways that I hadn’t even considered before.’

‘The research impact workshop was brilliantly designed – extremely useful and practical. One of the best events I have attended during the three years of my PhD.’

Thank you very much to the British Association for Japanese Studies, the University of Sheffield and all participants and speakers for making the workshop such a great success. We hope to see you again next year! If you are a PhD student undertaking research on Japan and would like to attend a future workshop, please do get in touch!

Report: Japan Year Abroad Programme (J-YAP) Coordinator Conference

On Saturday 5th November the Japan Foundation London held the first Japan Year Abroad Programme (J-YAP) Coordinator Conference at the Royal Asiatic Society in London. As the inaugural meeting of the new J-YAP Coordinators Network, the conference was the first opportunity for staff members involved in the administration of Year Abroad Programmes within Japanese/Japanese Studies degree courses at universities across the UK to gather to share information on how to combat common administration challenges and help enable students make the most of their unique Year Abroad programme opportunities. Participating in the discussions were 14 Year Abroad Programme Coordinators and related staff members from 11 universities which offer Japanese/Japanese studies degree courses, and members of the British Association for Japanese Studies and other key Japanese Studies related organisations.

The conference was divided into three themed sections led mainly by current Year Abroad Programme Coordinators. 

The first session opened with a lively discussion on ways to utilise returning 4th year students as resources to deliver student guidance and support before and during the Year Abroad and therefore lighten the workload of J-YAP administrators, focusing on two case studies of innovative strategies put in place by UK universities. 

Session 2 addressed challenges experienced by universities when sending students with diverse needs to Japan, such as negotiation with Japanese partner universities and student placement. Current Year Abroad Programme coordinators introduced their own experiences and led a discussion during which participants shared and developed practical and collaborative strategies  to deal with these challenges. During this session, The Japan Foundation’s own  Chief Language Advisor Makoto Netsu also  introduced the JF Standard (Japanese site/English pamphlet) as an objective measure which can be used to standardise the evaluation of student’s Japanese language proficiency before and after the Year Abroad so that students can continue their language study in Japan building on their previous achievements at their home university.

The third and final session examined ways to help students make the most of the unique opportunities during the Year Abroad to help prepare for further studies on return to the UK and their future career beyond graduation.  Dr Chris Perkins (British Association for Japanese Studies) explored how to integrate preparations for the fourth year dissertation not only into the Year Abroad itself, but also into the full four year degree programme as a whole. Ms Kiko Hill (Disco International Ltd.) introduced ways that students can use their time during the Year Abroad to prepare themselves for careers in Japan or Japanese companies. 

Some of the feedback from participants included:

“A wonderful initiative that has the potential to have a big impact on Year Abroad coordination”


(“Thank you for this valuable opportunity. If this conference existed 15 years ago my life would have been a lot easier...”)

Following the conference the Japan Foundation has set up the Japan Year Abroad Programme (J-YAP) Network JiscMail Mailing List as a platform for university staff members to continue to share information and ideas relating to Japan Year Abroad Programmes to help each other combat common challenges and strengthen and promote Year Abroad programmes. If you are involved in administrating a Year Abroad Programme within a Japanese/Japanese Studies degree course and would be interested in joining this network please do get in touch with the Japan Foundation by emailing:

Thank you to all participants and speakers for making the J-YAP Coordinator Conference such a great success and we look forward to future J-YAP network activities!

The 12th Hakuho Foundation Japanese Research Fellowship

The Hakuho Foundation is now accepting applications for the 12th Hakuho Foundation Japanese Research Fellowship.

With the goals of further strengthening the fundamentals of international research into Japan and deepening international understanding of Japan, the Hakuho Foundation Japanese Research Fellowship invites leading international researchers of the Japanese language, Japanese language education, Japanese literature and Japanese culture to Japan to conduct residential research.

Application period: June 10-October 31, 2016

Research period: September 1, 2017-August 31, 2018 (6 months or 12 months)

For further details, please visit the Hakuho Foundation’s website:

Natsume Soseki Japanese Essay Competition: Call for entries!

To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Natsume Soseki (1867-1916), the Asahi Shimbun Co., in co-operation with the Japan Foundation, Iwanami Shoten Publishers and Ferris University, is inviting entries for an international essay contest on the continuing appeal of the influential Japanese author’s works among foreigners.

Soseki, one of Japan's most famed and popular authors, lived in Japan’s period of transition to a modern society. His works have been extensively translated overseas and his representative work, “Kokoro” (Heart), has been translated into more than 20 languages.

Content of Essay:  Participants are required to write essays in Japanese about Soseki’s appeal, which remains strong even today. The theme of the competition is “Soseki and I”, and essays submitted should include the circumstances about when the participant read Soseki’s work for the first time (title of the work, when, where, in what language and why). Essays must be 2,000 Japanese characters or less.

Eligibility: Entries for the essay competition will be accepted from those living overseas or in Japan whose native language is not Japanese. For those residing in Japan, their stay in the country must be less than two years. International students studying in Japan are also eligible to participate.

Prizes: Three winners (including one first prize winner, and two runners up) will be invited to attend a symposium on Natsume Soseki which will be held at the Yurakucho Asahi Hall in Tokyo on 10th December 2016.

Deadline for entries : Applications are now open and will close on 10 August 2016.

For further information including details on how to apply, please visit:

Good luck to everyone taking part!

Note: The Japan Foundation is not responsible for receiving applications

Report: 5th Japan Foundation / BAJS Post-graduate Workshop

February 4th 2016 saw the return of our annual Post-Graduate Workshop, the fifth organised by the Japan Foundation in collaboration with the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS). This year’s workshop, hosted at the Holiday Inn Bloomsbury in London, was attended by a full house of 40 postgraduate students in Japan related fields representing a record number of 22 universities across the UK. The workshop was a great opportunity for these emerging researchers to receive practical advice on their research from senior academics, and to network with fellow postgraduate students.

During the day four PhD students presented their research and received constructive comments and questions from fellow-postgraduate students and senior academics in discussion sessions chaired by BAJS President Professor Caroline Rose.  The four presentations were chosen from a number of excellent and diverse proposals, and covered topics ranging from disaster mental health in Japan (Ben Epstein, UCL), technology and Japan in the British press (Christopher Hayes, Cardiff University),  ‘Expressive’ women and Western attire in Japanese cinema (Lois Barnett, SOAS, University of London), and child guidance centres in Japan (Michael King, University of Oxford).

The workshop also featured several practical sessions by BAJS committee members and senior academics who provided practical advice on real problems affecting emerging Japanese studies researchers. Dr Susan Townsend (University of Nottingham) gave some excellent advice on carving academic and career opportunities outside ‘East Asian studies’ departments, drawing from her own experience as a Japan specialist working in the Department of History at the University of Nottingham. Later in the afternoon, to tackle some of the challenges faced by students using Japanese language in their research careers, Dr Thomas McAuley (University of Sheffield) and Dr Luli van der Does-Ishikawa teamed up to lead a very enjoyable and practical session which explored how to use social media to promote your research and raise your profile in Japanese academia using Japanese language.

Responding to feedback received during last year’s event which identified securing postdoctoral positions as a key challenge for emerging researchers, this year’s workshop introduced a panel session featuring three early career researchers and lecturers in Japanese studies who were able to offer career advice from recent experience. Dr Jonathan Service (University of Oxford), Dr Gitte Marianne Hansen (Newcastle University) and Dr Ruselle Meade (Cardiff University) each introduced their individual career paths, and then took questions from the audience in an interactive panel discussion. Dr Hansen and Dr Meade had participated in our very first post-graduate workshop as PhD students in 2012, and it was inspiring to have them participate four years later as established lecturers!

Early Career Development Panel Discussion:


The workshop finished with a session on ‘Funding your Research’ with presentations from Susan Meehan (Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation), Chigusa Ogaya (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science),  Rory Steele (Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation),  and Julie Anne Robb (Japan Foundation) introducing the wide range of funding programmes available to researchers in Japanese Studies.

All sections received great feedback with one participant commenting that they ‘really enjoyed the positive, constructive and non-combative atmosphere’, and another noting that ‘all aspects of the event offered valuable insights from the PhD presentations, through to the funding options to career considerations’. Another participant commented that ‘I have just started my PhD, and I thought this workshop would help me to familiarise myself with the opportunities of funding open to PhD candidates in Japanese Studies in the UK. Moreover, I wanted to attend the workshop to listen to the presentations, which I found deeply inspiring!

The event was followed by a networking dinner reception, generously funded by BAJS.

Thank you to all participants and speakers for making the workshop such a great success.  We hope to see you again next year! 

Grant Programme for Intellectual Exchange Conferences 2016-2017

The Japan Foundation is now accepting proposals for projects to receive Grants for Intellectual Exchange Conferences for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

This grant provides support to non-profit making organisations (eg. institutions of higher education, research centres, think tanks, NGOs, cultural organisations etc.) wishing to carry out collaborative intellectual projects, such as international conferences, seminars and workshops, that address common challenges faced by Japan and other nations, or contribute to facilitating a greater understanding of Japan overseas.

To apply for the programme, please read the information on the Japanese Studies page carefully and contact Julie Anne Robb at the Japan Foundation to discuss eligibility. Projects should be implemented and completed between April 1st 2016 and March 31st 2017. The deadline for applications is Friday, 1 December 2015.

Fellowship Programme FY 2016

The application forms for the Japanese Studies Fellowship Programme 2016 have now been released on our Tokyo website here.

This programme provides opportunities to outstanding scholars in Japanese Studies who wish to conduct research in Japan. It is split into three categories: Long-Term Scholars and Researchers, Short-Term Scholars and Researchers, and Doctoral Candidates.

To  learn more about the programme contact Julie Anne Robb or visit the programme list on our Tokyo site.

Application deadline:  1st December, 2015

Please discuss your eligibility with the Japan Foundation before applying.  

Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Student Survey 2015

The Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Student Survey is part of the Japan Foundation’s periodic assessment of the state of Japanese Studies in the UK which has been conducted once every 3-4 years since 1996.

The Japan Foundation is Japan’s principal organisation for promoting international cultural exchange worldwide and through our funding programmes we offer support to organisations and individuals working in the field of Japanese Studies throughout the UK.

In order for us to consider future plans for the enhancement of Japanese studies, we are eager to learn the views of Japanese Studies students in the UK, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, so that we can continue to support you and the field of Japanese Studies as effectively as possible.

Please note that the deadline for completing the survey has been extended to 30th September 2015.

Who can take part in the survey:

Any students undertaking Japan-related study at a higher education institution in the UK. Whether you are at undergraduate level or postgraduate, undertaking a single or joint honours Japanese Studies degree, or simply taking a module in a Japan related subject, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Taking the survey:

The survey can be accessed through the following link:   

We estimate that the entire survey can be completed in around 15 minutes. 

Deadline and Publication: 

Please fill out the survey before 30th September 2015.

The results of the survey will be published in late 2015, and individual answers will remain anonymous.

You can find the results of the Japanese Studies Students Survey 2010 on the Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Survey website here

Prize draw:

If you choose to provide us with your name and e-mail address, you will be entered into a prize draw, for a chance to win one of up to 10 Japan-related book tokens worth £20 each. 

If you have any questions about the survey, please email Julie Anne Robb, Programme Officer for Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange, Japan Foundation London:  

Japanese Studies Institutions Survey

As part of our overall assessment of the state of Japanese Studies in the UK, the Japan Foundation is also conducting a survey of higher education institutions in the UK which provide opportunities for Japan related study. If you are a member of staff at a higher education institution which offers Japan related study please get in touch with Julie Anne Robb to take the survey:

Japanese Studies Local Grant Programmes 2015-16

As a new financial year begins, funding (up to £1,500) is once again available in the area of Japanese Studies/Intellectual Exchange for projects that help to promote a greater awareness of Japan, as well as travel grants (up to £600) for applicants who are planning to visit Japan for research. 

:: Click here for more information about the Local Project Support Programme and Study Support Programme.

News Archive

Fellowship Programme FY 2015
Japanese Studies Local Grant Programmes Renewed
3rd Japan Foundation / BAJS Post-graduate Workshop
Lecture Series with Hiroshi Kainuma 20-23 January, 2014
Fellowship Programme FY 2014
Book Launch & Talk - Aesthetic Strategies of the Floating World, by Alfred Haft
Public Seminar - The Japan Mint & the Royal Mint: A History of Exchange
2nd Japan Foundation / BAJS Post-Graduate Workshop
Article publication: Videogames--A Shared Culture Thriving in Japan and the United Kingdom, Prof Akira Baba, The University of Tokyo
Report from Creative Industries in East and Southeast Asia Conference & Symposium
Publication of Climate Change Mitigation, edited by Professor Mitsutsune Yamaguchi
Literature and Disaster in Japan: Reflections from History and the Present Day
Japan Foundation / Links Japan Corporate Social Responsibility Seminar Series V <br> What is the difference between social enterprise, social impact business and socially responsibly business?
Japan Foundation / BAJS Post-Graduate Workshop
Japan Foundation / Links Japan Corporate Social Responsibility Seminar Series II: Shining the Light on Corporate Behaviour - codifying and measuring Business Ethics
Launch of Japan Foundation / Links Japan Corporate Social Responsibility Seminar Series
'At home in Japan - beyond the minimal house' exhibition by Dr Inge Daniels at the Geffrye Museum
Report from Wilton Park Conference 'Japan: increasing its global role?'
Call for Proposals for Intellectual Exchange Conferences
Japanese Studies Student Survey Preliminary Report
Report from Japan Foundation Cultural Invitation Programme by Prof John Holden
Japanese Study Seminar - Meiji II: Call for participation
Japan Foundation Cultural Individual Invitation Programme: Lecture by London Office invitee John Holden in Tokyo
Japan Foundation Prize to fund new Stockwin Scholarship in Modern Japanese Studies
Professor Arthur Stockwin to receive Japan Foundation Award for Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange
2009/10 Annual Grant Programme Results announced
Hosei University Foreign Scholars Fellowship
2007 Japan Foundation Japanese Studies Survey website now live
Movers and Shapers: Japan - UK Relations Seminar Series Starts
Changes to Local Project Support Programme for 2008-9 for Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange
Japan Foundation Group Study Tour to Japan for Secondary School Teachers and Administrators Inviting Applications
2007 Japan Foundation Group Study Tour to Japan for Secondary School Teachers (STST)
Japan Foundation World Heritage Picture Panels On Offer!!

Perspectives Newsletters Archive

Click here for old issues of the Japan Foundation London newsletter, Perspectives.