Global Japan Initiative

The Global Japan Initiative aims to strengthen ties between the Terasaki Center and Japan by re-envisioning and revitalizing the field of Japanese studies in the 21st Century.

Today’s Japan is facing a multitude of issues including the diminishment of economic and political influence around the globe, the decline in population, as well as an increasing tendency to disengage from the world. Furthermore, Japanese soft power, which has been proclaimed since 2002 has, a decade later, lost much of its momentum. In the current environment of globalization the attempt to identify a “pure Japan” has only led towards increased isolation, while conversely, the key question has become how to permeate its distinctiveness throughout the rest of the world. There is a need to shift the model of understanding Japan from a static model based on authenticity to a dynamic model that grasps Japan through qualities of affinity and permeability. There is a pressing need to support research and training toward this end. The Global Japan Initiative is intended to act as a platform for establishing global research networks and supporting the essential research for thinking about a “Dynamic Japan”. Our Global Japan conferences has also highlighted the need to rethink conventional practices in the study of Japan, amidst changing geopolitical realities and the shifting academic environment. In particular, moving toward a transnational model, including focusing on the migration of Japanese people and culture throughout the world and forging connections with Japanese communities and Japanese studies scholars in different locations, offers a vital way forward.

Certificate Programs
The UCLA Terasaki Center has developed the Global Japan Program as a platform for training future leaders in Japan. This program is designed for people from all professional arenas, both private and public, and focuses on the ideas surrounding diversity.
  • Learning from Disability

    July 24, 2015 — July 31, 2015

    With the world rapidly globalizing and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics on the horizon, Japan is faced with the challenge of ushering in a new era of diversity and creating a more inclusive society.

A series of interdisciplinary conferences that examine the history and present state of Japan's engagement with the world.
  • 2019 Global Japan Forum - Aging Society: Economy and Policy

    Friday, May 10, 2019

    This year’s forum, the first in a series, is titled “Aging Japan: Economy and Policy” and aims to be an exploration into the interactions between policy, economics, and demographics in Japan. Experts will come together to discuss how Japan’s aging population is transforming the Japanese economic and political spheres, and how these changes in turn affect the Japanese population.

  • 2017 Global Japan Forum - Director's Talk

    Friday, May 19, 2017

    Representing Japanese Studies-related organizations and centers in California, North Carolina, Washington, Massachusetts, France, and Australia, the scholars discussed how best to meet the challenges currently facing the field. They touched on urgent questions of future funding, the need to improve students’ Japanese language skills, how to increase cooperation and communication between their respective organizations, the language barriers that keep scholarship in the field canonized, and the struggle to maintain funding for Japanese Studies while interest and support for other area studies are growing.

  • 2016 Global Japan Forum - Politics of Migration

    Friday, May 20, 2016

    The Japanese population is ageing and shrinking, and its workforce is shrinking even more quickly. The economic arguments for increased immigration are clear and compelling. But even more than in most advanced industrial countries, the politics of immigration are fraught. Myths of cultural homogeneity and skepticism about foreign influences are deep-rooted in Japan, and if anything, twenty-five years of economic stagnation have caused more Japanese to question the benefits of openness to foreign trade and investment, to say nothing of the movement of people across its borders.

  • 2015 Global Japan Forum - Cultures of Migration

    Friday, May 15, 2015

    Japan’s relative engagement with or withdrawal from the world has always played an important role in discourse on Japan. Contemporary Japan is seemingly poised at a crucial juncture between these two poles: on the one hand, unprecedented numbers of Japanese live abroad, and Japanese culture enjoys a global popularity. On the other hand, leaders decry the apparent inward turn among younger generations, while the nation’s immigration policy is often seen as overly restrictive.

  • 2014 Global Japan Forum - Communities of Migration

    Friday, May 9, 2014

    This year’s conference brought together seven scholars to discuss their latest research on various Japanese historical diaspora; including Japanese immigrants to the West and their connections with colonial settlers, as well as with contemporary Japanese immigrant communities from Brazil to New Orleans to China.

  • 2013 Global Japan Forum - Director's Talk

    Friday, May 17, 2013

    Representing centers in Korea, Brazil, Mexico, the U.K., France, Australia, Massachusetts and Hawaii, the scholars discussed how best to meet the challenges currently facing the field. They touched on urgent questions of future funding, the need to improve students’ Japanese language skills, the language barriers that keep scholarship in the field canonized, and the renaissance in area studies that favors Japanese language, literature, religion and art history within a greater transnational focus.

  • 2012 Global Japan Forum - New Visions of Japan

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    The New Visions of Japan Annual Forum opened with a private discussion among numerous directors from Japanese Centers from multiple universities across the United States, our distinguished faculty, as well as leaders in the local Japanese/Japanese American Community.