European Association for Japanese Studies

History of the EAJS: A story of growth

The European Association for Japanese Studies (EAJS) was established in 1973 by a group of European scholars in the field of Japanology/Japanese Studies in order to facilitate international academic exchange across national borders. Since 1976, the EAJS has organized a major international conference almost every three years at various locations in Europe, usually at universities with strong or emerging programs in Japanese Studies. The “EAJS International Conference” has since then developed into the largest conference worldwide dedicated exclusively to Japanese Studies.

More than 1100 scholars participated each in the 15th and 16th EAJS International Conferences, which were held in Lisbon in 2017, and in digital format in 2021. Since the 1990s, the EAJS has expanded its activities, e.g.:


In 2000, it launched a workshop for doctoral students, initially held about every 18 months. The aim of this workshop is to help doctoral candidates broaden their horizon by familiarizing them with research in all fields of Japanese Studies and to provide them with excellent networking opportunities. Since 2012, EAJS Ph.D. Workshops are held every year to respond to the increasing demand.


In 2013, the EAJS introduced with the “EAJS Japan Conference” a new conference format to deepen its cooperation with scholars in Japan and expand its network there. Due to the initial success of the first EAJS Japan Conference held in Kyoto, the EAJS Council decided to hold the conferences in Japan every three years as well.


In addition, in 2015 the EAJS introduced the EAJS Publication Workshop, which aims at acquainting younger scholars at the advanced doctoral and early postdoctoral stages with the practice and process of publishing in high-quality English language peer-reviewed journals. EAJS Publication Workshops are also held every three years.

The EAJS membership has steadily grown at times to over 1300 scholars and students from more than 50 nations. Over the years the elected presidents of the EAJS have come from many European countries and institutions, reflecting the diversity of its membership.