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Japan Foundation / BAJS Postgraduate Workshop 2021

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2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the Postgraduate workshop jointly organised by The Japan Foundation, London and the British Association for Japanese Studies. Over the course of two mornings, the workshop saw 38 students and 12 academics come together virtually to reflect on how COVID-19 has changed the Japanese Studies landscape.

Day one saw the students broken up into smaller groups to present their research to their peers and academics from similar research backgrounds. The range of topics currently being research offered a great insight into the broad interest of the next generation of Japanese Studies researchers. From early-stage MA students, to 5th year PhD students, everyone had a chance to present their research and receive feedback and advice from others in the room. We are very grateful to all of the researchers, who gave such insightful advice.

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The second day we were joined by a variety of academics who took us through some of the key changes in the world of Japanese Studies. First, we were joined by Dr Victoria Young (University of Cambridge), who explained how life and the work environment has changed for teaching academics. She also gave invaluable advice on mental wellbeing and staying motivated in a virtual environment. She was followed by Dr Christopher Hood (Cardiff University), the President of BAJS, who talked students through the creation and functions of a blog about their research. He led a detailed discussion on how to build an online presence that will affect research profiles in a positive way.

The third session was led by Dr Hannah Osborne (University of East Anglia), the incoming editor of Japan Forum. Dr Osborne explained the process for journal submission and answered some important questions about getting research published. Thanks to this event taking place online we were able to hear directly from a Japan-based academic. We were joined by Prof KAWAMURA Kohei (Waseda University) who spoke positively about the academic situation in Japan, both in terms of international collaboration and career opportunities. 

The final third of the programme started with Dr Christopher Hayes (SISJAC), who took us through his progress as an early career academic. Dr Hayes’ frank and upbeat talk was a fabulous end to the academic programme and provided many of the attendees with hope and a bright outlook for their own careers.

Finally, we were joined by the Embassy of Japan in the UK, The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Daiwa Foundation, and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation. Each of these UK-based funding organisations took the attendees through the programmes they offer which could be of help.  

The Japan Foundation, London would like to thank the British Association for Japanese Studies for all their efforts in organising this event as well as all of the academics for giving up their valuable time. We would also like to thank the funding organisations that spoke in the final session.

Next year, we hope to be able to return with a face-to-face event. Please keep an eye on our website for future details.