No.033 - My hopes for the NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies

My hopes for the NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies


Japanese studies overseas, we sometimes hear, has gradually declined in response to the long-term stagnation of the Japanese economy, at least in comparison with previous times and with the research being generated by other countries about themselves. I think we would all agree that sustaining broad international interest in Japanese studies and Japanese culture and expanding and enlivening the activity of scholars is necessary for the healthy development of Japanese studies both in Japan and overseas. As part of such endeavors, awarding recognition to researchers overseas who are pursuing Japanese studies at a high level holds great meaning, both for the internationalization of Japanese studies and for the international promotion of understanding Japanese culture.

In January 2019, the NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies was newly established, with the support of the Kuraray Foundation, with the aim to promote the development of Japanese studies and deepen the understanding of Japanese culture internationally. The prize will be awarded to researchers based overseas who have shown outstanding achievement in Japan-related scholarship in literature, language, history, ethnology, folklore studies, the environment and other fields related to the human culture studies and have made great contributions to the international development of Japanese studies.

The recipients of the prize will be invited to the award ceremony in Tokyo and in addition receiving a certificate, commemorative gift, and a cash award of $20,000, will be requested to give a commemorative lecture to share the results of his or her research.

Recipients will be nominated by recommendation and selected by a screening committee composed of both NIHU personnel and outside experts. Recommendations will be received not only from universities, inter-university institutes, and scholarly associations related to humanities research within Japan but also from institutes and other entities overseas with which NIHU has collaborative ties.

By rewarding the achievements of outstanding Japanese studies scholars, the NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies will contribute to the enhancement of international appreciation of those achievements, heighten interest in Japanese studies, and by extension promote the accurate evaluation of Japanese culture. We also hope that it will provide encouragement to young scholars seeking to pursue Japanese studies.

In the fall of 2019, after rigorous screening, we will announce the first recipient of the NIHU International Prize in Japanese Studies. Through this prize, we look forward to broadening the international potential of Japanese studies and the deepening and further growth of research on Japan.

Text: Makoto Sato (Executive Director, NIHU)