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Report: BAJS/Japan Foundation Postgraduate Workshop 2023

The Japan Foundation/British Association for Japanese Studies Postgraduate Workshop 2023

On Saturday 18th March, we held our annual PhD Workshop, which is joint organised with the British Association for Japanese Studies (BAJS)!

Despite plans to hold the event in person, industrial action affecting transport meant that the event was reorganised last minute to take place online, to give all registrants equal opportunity to attend. 34 students and 6 academics across a variety of disciplines joined the event for a full day of intellectual exchange around the theme of Fieldwork in Japan.

Our day started off with welcome speeches from Mr TANAKA Shin-ichi, Director of the Japan Foundation, and Prof. Peter Kornicki, President of BAJS. Both impressed upon the attendees the importance of events such as this one in bringing together students from across the country and the desire to continue to support Japanese Studies in the future.

The day was split into two parts. During the morning session, students were split into groups based on their areas of study. They presented their research to one another, this year with focus placed on issues they were having with their fieldwork or research.

After each presentation, the students received individual questions and feedback from the academics in their group and their peers. The morning session was lively, despite the online format! Both the academics and the other attendees challenged the presenting students by asking them pertinent questions about their work. Although the morning session was almost three hours long, enthusiasm did not wane and each student received some helpful feedback that should aid them in their study or fieldwork.

The afternoon session was split into two presentations and a Q&A session. We were lucky to hear two detailed presentations from academics who had been through the experiences that our PhD students had faced.

Dr Christopher Hayes, Lecturer in Tourism and Events at Teesside University, gave an insightful talk on Information on Japanese Resources at UK Universities.

Dr Hayes outlined possible difficulties researchers could face in travelling to Japan for fieldwork, and instead gave plenty of alternatives for fieldwork within the UK, at universities and other institutions.

Prof. Peter Kornicki, Emeritus Professor at the University of Cambridge and President of BAJS followed Dr Hayes with his talk: Institutes, archives and resources in Japan: how to find them and how to overcome the ‘gaijin valve’.

Prof. Kornicki painted a detailed picture of his years of conducting fieldwork within Japan and how to make the most out of your time in archives. He told funny stories of his own valuable experiences visiting institutions in Japan.

Following both talks, the six academics in attendance (Prof. Peter Kornicki, Dr Chris Hayes, Prof. Jennifer Coates, Dr Marcos Centeno, Dr Ruselle Meade and Dr Fabio Gygi) assembled for a Q&A session which took up the rest of the afternoon. During this Q&A session, the attendees were invited to ask anything they wanted to know about fieldwork and research in the field of Japanese Studies.

The Japan Foundation, London would like to thank the British Association for Japanese Studies for all their efforts in organising this event. A special thanks as well to the academics who joined us, for giving up their valuable time.

We would also like to thank the funding organisations that sent materials and prepared video presentations for us to send to the attendees.

Next year, we hope that the event will be back to being face-to-face! Please keep an eye on our website for further details in the future.