Introduction to and History of the Japan Association for Asian Studies

1. Research Fields of Members
The Japan Association for Asian Studies (JAAS) was established in 1953 for the purpose of conducting and publishing results of theoretical and empirical research centering on politics and economy in Asia. It was registered as an incorporated foundation (zaidan hojin) in 1957, and in 2013 became a general incorporated foundation (ippan zaidan hojin) in conjunction with the enforcement of new legislation pertaining to foundations. By now, the JAAS is the largest academic society specializing in Asian studies with having more than 1,300 members as of August 2012.

East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia are the three major regions that the JAAS academically covers. Currently 762 members focus on East Asia, 398 on Southeast Asia, and 117 on South Asia, with the rest focusing either on Asia in general, the Asia-Pacific region or other regions. As such, the JAAS can be said to more or less centers on studies on the East Asian region. However, there has been a rise in the number of members studying Southeast Asia and South Asia in recent years. The JAAS website has also been actively building links with counterparts in Southeast and South Asia along with those in East Asia.

Main activities of the JAAS include the 1) annual national convention, 2) annual regional conferences, 3) quarterly publication of the peer-reviewed journal Aziya Kenkyu (Asian Studies), 4) publication of newsletter (currently semiannual), and 5) holding occasional international symposia.

Having an annual national convention has been the major activity for the JAAS (semiannually until 1959). It has held occasional international symposia with inviting international guest speakers. Since 1988 the JAAS has added two annual regional conferences – the Eastern Japan Conference and the Western Japan Conference. Our national conventions and regional conferences have dealt with contemporary and historical issues in social scientific ways. This academic orientation has become the tradition and culture of the JAAS.

Publishing academic journals and books have composed the main activity of the JAAS. Its journal, Azia Kenkyu, is known as an established peer-reviewed journal in the field of Asian studies in Japan.

The JAAS published two edited series of Asian studies. The first series was published when it marked its 40th anniversary in 1993. It has four volumes entitled Koza Gendai Ajiya (Lectures on Contemporary Asia) . It consists of Vol. 1 Nashonarizumu to kokumin kokka (Nationalism and Nation State, edited by Kenji Tsuchiya), Vol. 2 Kindaika to kozo henka (Modernization and Structural Transformation, edited by Katsuji Nakagane), Vol. 3 Minshuka to keizai hatten (Democratization and Economic Development, edited by Yoshiyuki Hagiwara), and Vol. 4 Chiiki shisutemu to kokusai kankei (Regional Systems and International Relations, edited by Kenichiro Hirano). The second series was published in 2008 when the JAAS reached its 55th anniversary. It has the three-volume Gendai Ajiya kenkyu (Contemporary Asian Studies), consisting of Vol. 1 Ekkyo (Transborder, edited by Akio Takahara, Keiko T. Tamura and Yukihito Sato), Vol. 2 Shimin shakai (Civil Society, edited by Chiharu Takenaka, Nobuo Takahashi and Nobuto Yamamoto), and Vol. 3 Seisaku (Policy, edited by Yasuhiro Takeda, Tomoo Marukawa and Yan Shanping). As the choice of the topics explicitly shows, the JAAS has paid close attentions to both contemporary and historical issues and changing academic fashions.

Trustees (18 persons)
Directors (24 persons)
Auditors (2 persons)
Vice President (1 person)