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Research Center for Japan Studies

About the Center for Japan Studies


The Center for Japan Studies was established in April 2000 within the context of the festivities celebrating the historic ties that have existed for 400 years between Japan and the Netherlands. The Center is involved in teaching, research and consulting activities concerning 21st century Japan and its Asian context. Specific attention is given to the relations between Japan and the European Union.

In October 2005 the Center celebrated its 5th anniversary with an international symposium: “The Energy Impact of Japan and China: Threat or Chance?”.  Gasunie  hosted the symposium in its headquarters in Groningen. On February 9, 2009 a new symposium was held, focusing on whether the 21st century will become "The Asian Era?". On 23 and 24 June 2015 an international symposium took place on "Racism and intolerance in Europe and Asia – Challenges and Policies", it was co-organised by staff of the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) and Osaka University (Japan) under the cooperation agreement between the NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) and JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science). (See menu left hand side for more information and the programme).

Goals and purposes of the Center for Japan Studies

The Center's primary mission is to advance the acquisition and transfer of knowledge about contemporary Japan and its position in the regional (East Asia) and the global context. Furthermore  the various ties and connections between Japan and the Netherlands and the European Union are of special importance. These ties will  expand  after the recent signing of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, July 2018.

Research and Education

The Center for Japan Studies is involved in teaching the international master International Relations-East Asian Studies , Faculty of Arts University of Groningen, that started in September 2014. It is a one-year programme ( 60 ECTS), that focuses on contemporary developments in East Asia, in particular Japan, China and Korea. The curriculum offers the opportunity give special attention to one of these three countries, in elective courses or a work placement, and in the thesis.

The Graduate School of Letters, Osaka University, is a full partner in the Erasmus Mundus Master of Excellence Euroculture: Society, Politics and Culture in a Global Context . Each year  5-6 (European) Euroculture students  go to  Osaka   in their third semester, for their 'research track'. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of  "Euroculture" in Osaka, a  research symposium will take place on 9 November 2018.

In 2013 a double degree programme started: the EU-JAPAN Multidisciplinary Master (EU-JAMM) project. 43 Exchange students ( 23 Japanese, 20 European) had  the opportunity to study at a partner institution and obtain a Master degree from both Universities.  The Research Master History and International Relations (Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen) participated in this project with its partner the Osaka School for International Public Policy, ( OSIPP),Osaka University. After the pilot programme, the Research Master and  OSIPP decided to continue with this double degree programme.

The Center for Japan Studies offers its facilities not only to students of the University of Groningen, but also to the public and business community in the city and province. It regularly is involved in courses in the HOVO (Higher Education for Senior People)

Since 2009 a Japan-Netherlands student conference (JNSC) is organized by students of both universities, with assistance of the Center for Japan studies. It  takes place alternately in Osaka or Groningen. In 2017 the venue of the 8th JNSC was Groningen, this year  the conference will take place  in Osaka ( 15-26 August 2018).  

The center is also involved in the 'appetizer course'  for Osaka students In Groningen. It is an Intensive short-study programme that combines  English language training with workshops and lectures  about the environment, water management and Dutch culture and society. It is coordinated in Groningen by James Doherty. (Language Centre).

Japan and the EU

The Center for Japan Studies gives special attention to the relation between Japan and the EU. Within this context a strong link exists with the Erasmus Mundus Master of Excellence Euroculture: Society, Politics and Culture in a Global context, which is coordinated by Groningen  (See above). Osaka University is one of the 4 non-European consortium partner universities.

On 15 October 2014 the Director of the Center for Japan Studies, Dr Janny de Jong, became Professor by special appointment of Europe-East Asia Relations with a focus on Japan via the Groningen University Fund. The chair aims to contribute to teaching and research in the field of the relationships between Europe and East Asia, with a particular focus on Japan.

Since 2012  an intensive  course module called 'Gateway to Europe: Contemporary Dutch Studies' is offered at Osaka University. This course module  was launched in the Fall term of  academic year 2012 by  the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), Osaka University, and the Faculty of Arts, University of Groningen, with support of the Tekijuku Commemoration Center.  The course is taught by Groningen staff. The topic of the course  differs each year: for instance  in 2018 Dr Marek Neuman (IRIO) discussed  'Challenges to Contemporary Europe, a (not only) Dutch perspective'; in 2022 prof Janny de Jong will take a closer look at current political and social isses within  Europe. and in particular in the Netherlands.

Relation between the University of Groningen and Japanese Higher Education Institutes

The University of Groningen has international partner agreements with a number of Japanese Higher Education Institutes: Chukyo University, Osaka University, Tohoku University and University of Tokyo.

Since 2002 Osaka University is a Strategic Partner of the University of Groningen. The collaboration was recently ( October 2017) renewed  when Rector prof. Elmer Sterken and  president prof. Shojiro Nishio signed the renewed collaboraton agreement in Osaka.

The Osaka Overseas Office that Osaka University has established in Groningen (2005) merits special mention. It is a liaison office from which Osaka maintains contacts with other European  partners,  but  this office assists for instance with establishing contacts between staff and (exchange) students in Osaka and vice versa.

In 2011 a Dutch Studies center was established in Osaka, hosted by Tekijuku Commemoration Center.  The office is used for visiting scholars and lecturers from the Netherlands. Tekijuku was the name of  a learning center, or school,   founded by OGATA Koan ( 1810-1863) . Koan was a rangakusha, who by learning  Dutch had gained access to Western medical knowledge.  The school can be seen as a predecessor of Osaka University.

Last modified:05 December 2023 4.25 p.m.
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