JCAS:image photo

About the Japan Consortium for Area Studies (JCAS)

Japan Consortium for Area Studies (JCAS) is a new type of linkage between research and educational organizations, academic associations, and various private organizations that are involved in area studies of world’s various regions. JCAS was inaugurated in April 2004 by linking numerous organizations and associations scattered through universities and research institutes across the country to promote information sharing and joint research activities. As of August 2018, it is an academic community with 102 affiliated organizations.

Over the past few years, we have been experiencing severe conditions surrounding research in humanities and social sciences. In addition to the financial crunch facing the academic world in general, there is an increasing social demand for a more persuasive explication and accountability of our research. In light of this, area studies may be able to lead humanities and social sciences in responding to this demand.

Area studies is interdisciplinary by nature, as it attempts to go beyond disciplinary boundaries in seeking ways to cope with various issues, such as environmental degradation, global warming, disaster, infectious diseases, increasing poverty, and class differentiation, drawing upon both the sciences as well as humanities. Furthermore, in thinking of any issue, understanding others must always accompany reflexive return to and questioning of the self. When we situate ourselves deeply in a specific area or region to try to understand it in detail, we cannot completely leave behind our own upbringing, history, and values. To know others leads us to know and reconsider oneself and one’s own society. This means that at the core of our endeavor as area studies scholars is a search for the path toward multiple coexistence. This is why in our age, where there coexists, on the one hand, a borderless world and, on the other, increasingly narrow exclusivism, area studies can deliver important messages to our society.

JCAS will continue to make use of the abundant knowledge and resources of the participating organizations. It will also give back knowledge and energy to these organizations so that we may work hard together, across organizations, disciplines, and occupations, for effectively promoting innovative research that is socially relevant and appealing and nurturing the next generation. We have thus far been supported by the efforts of the participating organizations. We hope to further develop area studies in a sustainable way with the continuing cooperation of these organizations and members with deep interest and involvement in the field.

August, 2018

President, Japan Consortium for Area Studies