On June 9th, 2018, the third Kashiyama Seminar took place at Gakushuin University, as part of the annual meeting of JAAS. This report discusses the speech given there by Ms. Eriko Kameoka, the president of the Kashiyama Scholarship Foundation, describes the primary aims of the symposium, and recounts the discussions that took place between the panelists and JAAS members.
Looking back on how Asian studies has progressed, much research was originally done from the perspective of the “empires” or industrial powers of Western Europe, the United States, and Japan. After World War II, the rise of newly independent nations across Asia led to a subsequent wave of scholarship from within these countries, largely focusing on each country’s developments from a “nationalist” perspective. And with the rise of globalization in the 1990s, as Asia took a leading role in propelling global economic growth, countries across the region were host to a move toward scholarship that sought to examine each polity’s immediate neighbors.
However, up until the present, researchers in Asian studies across Asia have continued to primarily tailor their work towards an English-language audience, as Western academic institutions and professional associations such as the Association for Asian Studies and European Association for Japanese (Chinese) Studies have served as the main outlets for their research. Such organizations in the United States and Europe will continue to be important. Nevertheless, more work must be done to encourage the construction of networks of Asian studies scholars across Asia and to ensure that research on Asian studies continues to develop from within Asia itself.
This symposium took these issues as its primary starting point. While JAAS has paid attention to them, it had not yet held a symposium specifically focused on them. As a result, the 2018 Kashiyama Seminar, entitled “Chinese Studies in Asia: Asian perspective,” set its sights on research about China. China has long been a subject of interest to those from neighboring countries, and JAAS invited outstanding scholars from places like India, Singapore, Taiwan, and South Korea to participate. Panelists first discussed the main areas of research in sinology as conducted in their home countries and regions. They then went on to talk about how they might analyze the Xi Jinping regime and the One Belt One Road Initiative. Finally, the discussion was opened beyond the panel, with a lively debate ensuing after comments from the discussant and from JAAS members on the floor.