International Research Center for Japanese Studies Charter

8 June 2023


The International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Nichibunken) was founded in 1987 as the first research center in Japan to style itself an international center for research on Japan. Ever since its foundation, it has aspired to promote the internationalization and integration of research on Japan, and so push back the frontiers of Japan-related research. In order to maintain this tradition, and to seek out new approaches to research on Japan, we hereby set forth the International Research Center for Japanese Studies Charter, and reconfirm the ideals that inspire our endeavor.

1. The Pursuit of International Research on Japan

The international research on Japan to which Nichibunken aspires does not take for granted the uniformity and homogeneity of Japanese society. Rather, it places value on the exploration by scholars domestic and foreign of the fact that within the time-space of Japan diverse cultures were constructed and have interacted in a multi-layered, multi-dimensional fashion. This endeavor is an emergent project intended to liberate research on Japan from its unilateral frame, the better to reinterpret the multi-cultural and multi-dimensional qualities of Japan's history, society and culture. In order to develop such international research on Japan, Nichibunken pursues critical issues in Japan's past and present not only from a domestic, micro perspective but also from a macro, global perspective. In this way, we hope to generate new knowledge that will contribute to the greater goal of value creation in human society.

2. Valuing Internationalization

Diverse cultures have been constructed and have interacted in a multi-layered, multi-dimensional fashion within the time-space of Japan. In order to grasp this fact, Nichibunken aspires to multi-disciplinary, integrated research on Japan, and the deployment of knowledge from multiple fields. That is, it transcends Japan research in a narrow sense, and places within its purview research on Japan as a link in the chain of Asian research, which is developing now throughout the world, as well as research on global history and global literature, and even research on the natural sciences. In this way, Nichibunken will set the standard for an interdisciplinary-fusion approach to learning, which it will offer to the academic community.

3. Cooperation with Universities and Research Institutes

Ever since its foundation, Nichibunken has nurtured a wide range of collaborative research projects driven by scholars' free thinking and initiative. Henceforth, Nichibunken shall continue to play its part as an Inter-University Research Institute, a core research hub at which scholars from Japan and overseas may gather. To this end, we shall spare no efforts in our promotion of cutting-edge research on Japan, interlocking Nichibunken's international academic network with its collaborative research program. Nichibunken strives unremittingly to ensure it remains an open place of international research where academic freedom is a fundamental principle, and where diverse scholars can generate their own autonomous research.

4. Cooperating with Society and Local Communities

Nichibunken actively transmits and returns to society the outcomes of its international and interdisciplinary academic endeavors. In this way, it contributes to the building of academic cultural foundations in the local community. At the same time, Nichibunken searches constantly for research activities that respond to society's demands, and promotes an interactive approach that can serve as a bridge with society at large. To this end, it prioritizes a long-term perspective for the preserving and sharing of valuable research materials. Through these different endeavors, Nichibunken is determined to take younger scholars with an interest in Japanese culture, and nurture them into the next generation of specialist scholars who will play a leading role in research on Japan.

5. Respect for Human Rights

Nichibunken aspires to a trans-border approach to Japanese studies that engages scholars of diverse nationalities from diverse regions. The Nichibunken approach permits scholars to pool their wisdom, and is rooted in diverse academic environments. To this end, an understanding of those who have different values and backgrounds is essential. Members of Nichibunken are devoted to listening to diverse opinions through open discussion, and to creating an environment of free intellectual exploration in which all show respect for the character, individuality, and ideas of the other. Nichibunken conducts research, education and administration on the basis of the "International Research Center for Japanese Studies Human Rights Declaration." It is thus proactively engaged in sustaining an environment where no actions that infringe on the human rights of another are permitted, and where all can work in an atmosphere of trust.

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