Graduate students from a number of foreign Asian countries gathered at Waseda Hoshien’s Scott Gallery to network with Waseda University students and faculty in an international exchange on Friday, February 15th. The event was part of a program known as the Japan Foundation Collaborative Research Workshop for Aspiring Scholars in Japanese Studies (国際交流基金 次世代日本研究者 協働研究ワークショップ), sponsored by the Japan Foundation. The aim of the workshop was to allow upcoming researchers with Japan-oriented studies to network unfettered by the boundaries of a nation or academic field, as well as to offer these researchers the chance to cultivate the ability to research cooperatively. In this side visit to Waseda University, participants were presented with the opportunity to interact with students, teaching assistants, and faculty from both Waseda’s Global Studies in Japanese Cultures B.A. Program (JCulP) and Global Japanese Literary and Cultural Studies (Global-J) Ph.D. Program of the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences. This workshop was comprised of visiting participants from China, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The event opened with a welcome addressed to the foreign participants and progressed to a joint presentation outlining the nature and research of JCulP and Global-J by Professors Hitomi Yoshio, Pau Pitarch, and Shiho Takai. Yoshio and Pitarch began by introducing the Global Japanese Studies programs’ initiative as a part of the Top Global University project in which Waseda University is involved. This section of the presentation detailed the interdisciplinary environment of JCulP and Global-J in addition to presenting an overview of some of the courses and events provided or backed by the programs. Takai introduced how such an interdisciplinary approach can open opportunities for various collaborative research opportunities in and out of Japan. The presentation provided information concerning various international conferences on Japan, with examples of relevant panel presentations, and familiarized participants with some collaborative research projects.
After a short break, the workshop continued with short presentations from two Teaching Assistants, Ph.D. student Matias Chiappe and M.A. student Marissa Galiley, both of Waseda’s Graduate School of International Culture and Communication Studies (GSICCS). Chiappe and Galiley offered an overview of their individual research projects relating to Japanese literature and linguistics and answered questions from the participants. Following these presentations, Waseda students and foreign workshop participants were divided into mixed groups for a 30-minute guided discussion session. Finally, groups were asked to share the content of their discussions as a bridge into the workshop’s closing remarks.
Following the event, participants and faculty attended a lunch reception at the Good Morning Café, followed by a short tour of the Waseda Central Library.
The Japan Foundation workshop concluded the following Monday with a series of panel presentations conducted by workshop participants in the setting of a mock international academic conference. Participants presented on their own research and received feedback and advice from lecturers and peers before one last reception as a capstone to the week-long seminar.